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PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA'S STATE CAPITOL & MORE

A very quaint city on the banks of the Missouri River

sunny 82 °F

(Thursday) Last night I settled into bed at my usual 9:00 pm, just after the sun was setting. Not realizing when I 'set-up camp' that about 100' beyond the brush behind the MH are the railroad tracks. Well, at midnight, 3:00 am, and again at 5:00 am the trains were leaving for who-knows-where with their whistle blasting, and the subsequent rumble of probably 100 grain-filled hopper cars just beyond the brush. Needless-to-say, I didn't get up well-rested. I guess I should brace myself for another repeat tonight, for the rail yards are just down the road where the huge grain elevators are located.

The South Dakota Capitol building is domed like many others. Reservations are required for docent-led tours. Apparently, they do not have enough tourists to warrant full-time guides. I took the self-guided tour booklet and set out to explore every 'nook & cranny. A couple of kind ladies explained some things along the way. Constructed between 1905 & 1910 and completely restored to its original grandeur for the State's Centennial Celebration in 1989, it is beautiful. Not as grand as some, but beautiful none-the-less. Built of Indiana limestone, native field stone, Vermont & Italian marble its copper-covered dome stands 161 ft. tall. Interestingly, the architects who designed the building sold the plans to Montana for $10.00 and their's is a near duplicate with different colored marble on the interior. Those Montanans know how to strike a deal! The interior of South Dakota's building features carved woodwork, special cast brass chandeliers and interesting symbolism in its rotunda. Greek, Roman, and Celtic architecture are the primary design features. Victorian leaded stained glass windows, 12 in number allow natural light in the dome. In 1910 murals were painted to represent major interests in SD; Love of Family, Love of State; Agriculture; Wisdom, Industry, Mining, and Livestock. Below each mural are the Seals of Soverignty or seals of the four white governments which have claimed ownership of what is now South Dakota. The Seals of France, Spain, South Dakota, and the United States of America are displayed, also colored flags representing Native American colors: white for North or 'the direction from which the snow comes", red for East, or "the direction of the rising sun", yellow for South or "the direction from which the Sun shines", and black for West, "or the direction from which thunder comes". The blue stained glass represents the sky, and the green terrazo floor tiles represent green grass, and the brass triangle in the center of the Rotunda floor is "where you are". All very interesting.
The Grand Staircase is one of the central focal points of the Capitol Building. It is constructed of Vermont "Whitecloud" Marble and has been used as the processional staircase since 1910. Very beautiful. Much more so suggest you go on-line to get the details.
There are 27 State Senators, and 70 Legislators, each paid; Senator-$10,000+/session; each Legislator-$6,000+/session and each body works 40 days/yr. with 2 yr. term limits. How's that for Common Sense!
The Capitol Complex sits on beautiful grounds which features the Capitol Lake, a 5 acre thermal lake which never freezes in the winter, along with walking trails & monuments throughout the park.
I am running out of space but will tell about my visit to the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center tomorrow.

Posted by dixter 14:13 Archived in USA Tagged a to trip state capitol sd's

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