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Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Capitol's Hearing Room and The Year Ahead

This was the room I was looking forward into getting into!  Behind locked gates, guarded by a badger, "W"s hidden in the scrollwork of the iron and the painted decorations, you would think that would make it enticing enough, right?

In addition to the stairs and railings throughout the Capitol. this room had a high concentration of fossils, specifically ammonoids which is an extinct cephalopod.

But it ain't all about the fossils, baby, I mean, check out that leaded glass skylight! Above the skylight on the fourth floor there is a viewing area where you can look down on the skylight and up at the Capitol dome.  This is the only place that the “Wisconsin” statue can be viewed from inside the Capitol, something I did not get to do on this visit but that I would definitely like to do when I return.

Maybe your eyes were drawn to something other than the ceiling, maybe you noticed the Yellow Verona marble or the Monte Rente Sienna symmetrical panels.

Looks kind of like a badger, doesn't it?

The North Hearing Room is used for public hearings and the walls are all Italian marble.  The black and gold marble at the base of the wall is Port d'Or. That is one happy girl getting out from behind the camera for a change, isn't it?  Murals and fossils combined with all that buttery marble and great light, what more could a girl ask for?

There are also  four murals in the room that were painted in 1914-15 by Charles Yardley Turner of New York at a cost of $20,000.  Because the hearing room was originally used by the Railroad Commission, the murals reflect the history of transportation.  The mural at the front of the room shows Native Americans on horseback.  Moving clockwise, the next one shows a lake trading post with the canoe as the method of transportation.  Early French settlers are shown bargaining for furs with Native Americans.  The mural above the door shows colonial period transportation by stagecoach.  The last mural shows modern transportation by steamboat, railroad, automobile, and airplane.  Can you believe that besides the accidental shot above of the Native Americans I didn't take pictures?  I was so excited by those fossils it was like I temporarily lost my mind, so I guess you'll have to watch the video that I shot instead.  Forgive the shakiness, I was only planning on using it for the information she was giving us.  Turns out I found a great link to the script the use for the tour so I didn't have to worry about forgetting details!  Click on the little square to the right of the YouTube symbol at the bottom to see it in full screen.

Keep coming back over the next few days for more on the Capitol, including some more murals tomorrow for Monday Mural.

I'm noticing on the blogs I follow that most folks are doing a year in review kind of thing now that 2013 is over.  I'll mix it up a little for you and give you a peek at my plans for 2014!

January - taking a short trip to Reno with my son Cory to check out that Frida Kahlo exhibit!  Too excited for words!  Arriving on January 21st and staying for 5 nights if anyone wants to meet us there.

February and March....ready to take short road trips on the fly if weather looks good anywhere nearby.  Got a few places in Illinois that look interesting.  Also want to get in to Milwaukee and maybe Chicago for some architecture shooting.

April - Planning to try and return to Cumberland Falls State Park in Corbin, Kentucky by myself to do some tent camping and hiking.  Getting a new tent and everything!  I am hoping some other blogger offers to meet me there so I have a hiking buddy or two or three... (hint, hint!)

May - Maybe a long weekend together in Hudson, Wisconsin?  The second Friday of every month from May to October they host a classic car show and we've never gone to the Willow River State Park.

June - Wayne and I are heading to Door County, maybe even to Washington Island with the fifth wheel.  Lady slipper blooming time!  My friend Jeanna has already indicated she wants to get up to the U.P. for some exploring with me which is why I'm investing in a decent sized tent.  She said she worries about me when I'm out there alone so I guess I'll have to show her what it's all about so she doesn't worry anymore, right?

July - Taking Wayne to Point Beach State Park in Manitowoc so he can enjoy those bike trails and we can finally visit the Maritime Museum.

August - Third year in a row that we're going to attempt to get back to Bayfield and do some sea kayaking to explore Lake Superior's sea caves.  Hopefully no injuries will interfere this year.

September - Plan to tent alone near the Glacial Drumlin State Trail and take in the annual Sheep Show at Jefferson County Fairgrounds.  Variety is the spice of life!

October & November - Wayne and I are planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary with a 3 week trip that will wind from Mesa Verde to Blanding Utah to Albuquerque to Palo Duro Canyon!  This big trip with lots of miles is why our other plans will be closer to home throughout the year.

I know some of you are shaking your head at all the detailed plans I already have, but I'm pretty fluid too, and most of my adventures last year were spontaneous because my shoulder injury and Wayne's back problems shook everything up.  Believe it or not I already have two plans to choose from for a month long trip in 2015!  What have you got planned to get accomplished this year?


  1. Brilliant series of photos and the fossils are superb. You really have sorted out an itinerary for 2014 and as much as I would love to come over and accompany you in April I don't have a passport.

  2. Lucky you - a Frida Kahlo exhibit. Definitely wish I could be there for that. But clearly I'm too far away. Being a flat water kayaker myself, I am in awe of anyone who would go out on ocean or Great Lakes waves. Can't wait to hear about it. Your 3 week trip to Mesa Verde - Palo Duro sounds wonderful. You'll just love that area. Albuquerque has a fantastic Native American museum. I'm surprised the Wisconsin Capitol building hasn't hired you to head their PR with these great posts.
    I think making the plans is almost as much fun as executing them. I'm always making plans way in advance so I have all those great things to look forward to.