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Destination: Des Moines

sunny 78 °F

(Wednesday) The 190 mile trip from Lincoln, NE to Des Moines, IA was pleasant for there were no crosswinds to fight along the way. Landscapes changed from flat Nebraska to more rolling prairie lands In Iowa. Many fields are terraced by farmers to minimize erosion of their cropland. Iowa ranks #1 in corn production, along with hogs, egg production, soybeans, and farm machinery.

The "Hawkeye State" was once part of French owned-territory before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Hence, the names Des Moines, Dubuque, etc. Bordered by the Mississippi River on the East and by the Missouri & Big Sioux Rivers on the West, the state sits in a rich soil region created millenia ago. Farming of this fertile land makes it the #1 industry in the state. In addition, other natural resources benefit Iowa. Limestone is quarried, as are Gypsum (sheetrock), St. Peter sandstone for glass-making, Calcium Silicates for cement & Clay for brick-making, Lead and Coal are mined, also. There are 375 manufacturing companies in the state, too.

(Thursday) Iowa became a State in 1846, the 29th. Believe it or not, the Iowa State Fair has roots back to 1854. Following the Civil War, in 1871, the Capitol construction was started. When completed in 1886 it was the pride of all Iowans. Standing 275' tall the gold-leaf covered dome is accompanied by 4 other complementing domes of lesser height. It is the only Capitol building with 5 domes and one of 10 state capitol buildings with gold domes. Truly spectacular to see.
Within the building are 29 different types of marbles used, many in the 24 fireplaces throughout. There are 12 types of wood, nearly all native to Iowa adorn the doors & window frames, law library, and wall panels in the legislative chambers. One exception is in the Supreme Court. The bench front where the judges sit is crafted from elaborately hand-carved mahogany. It was created by a German immigrant artisan from a single 30' mahogany log. It is absolutely gorgeous. Paintings and mosaics are used on the walls, depicting the rural life in Iowa.
A model of the battleship U.S.S Iowa is on display near the rotunda. It is over 18' long and weighs 1,350#'s. One of the ship's 2 bells, weighing 1,000#'s is on display near the model.
The legislative chambers are beautiful with elaborate stenciling on the ceilings and walls and brass chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. Marble is used in accenting the decorum of the chambers. Iowa has 50 Senators and 100 Representatives who meet for 100 days each year.
A Grand Stairway of marble & granite, used for ceremonial purposes connects the First & Second floors. The State Law Library is on the Second Floor and occupies the entire west wing of the floor and contains over 100,000 volumes. A circular staircase of elaborate iron grillwork at each end leads to 4 tiers of law books and court decision papers in the collection. Another beautiful room.
The Governor's 4 room suite, offices of the Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Auditor, and Secretary of State all have offices on the First Floor.
Iowa was settled by Germanic and Scandanavian people of Czech, Moravian, Slovak, German origin, and immigrants from Norway, Denmark, & Holland. It was all part of the westward expansion spurred by the Homestead Act of 1863. With them were brought trade skills learned in their home countries-all to great benefit to Iowa and the US.
Prominent citizens were: Former President Herbert Hoover, John Wayne, Andy Williams, Astronaut Peggy Whitson who holds the world's record for Woman's Longest Time in Outer Space at 377 days aboard the International Space Station.
Famous Hollywood films about life in Iowa include: 'STATE FAIR',' WIZARD OF OZ', 'BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY', and 'FIELDS OF DREAMS'.

Of course, the State of Iowa holds the first causus of each Presidential election.

More tomorrow about my visit to the State Museum........

Posted by dixter 16:27 Archived in USA Tagged tour des state capitol moines

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