The Capitol recently underwent a 14-year renovation and restoration project. The project was undertaken wing by wing just as the original construction of the Capitol was. The renovation started in 1988 and was finished in 2002 at a total cost of $158.8 million. The purpose of the project was to convert the Capitol into a modern working building while restoring and preserving its original 1917 appearance. One of the rooms that had been affected by previous "remodeling" that needed attention was the Governor's Conference Room. A previous first lady had painted over a lot of this room's gorgeous cherry wood with off white paint. I can't even imagine it. I'm still shuddering whenever I think of it. Thank goodness they fixed it.
The Governor uses this room for press conferences, bill signings, cabinet meetings, and receptions. It is modeled after the small council chamber in the Doge's palace in Italy. The chairs and furniture are the originals, with the state seal carved into the chairbacks. But my favorite part of the room was this little corner with the bust of Wisconsin's first territorial governor, Henry Dodge. It made me smile and remember the time we took the Girl Scouts to Governor Dodge State Park not far from Mineral Point. The bust was made by Elisha Knowles and survived the fire in the previous Capitol.
The pretty parquet floor is made of teak, dark mahogany, white oak and white mahogany.
The Capitol is very accessible to the public; the guide invited us to sit in the chairs in every room we visited. I don't know about you, but I've never had that happen on a tour of a historic building! The fireplace below is made from hand-carved Italian Botticino marble. I hope no one plans on lighting a fire until they remove that dry tree on the left! But I'm guessing by the size and condition of the logs in there that it's just for looks.
|Jeanna and Dave listening to the tour guide|
Jeanna and I both noticed the ceiling lights made from French lead crystal. I tried but it didn't photograph very well.
In the entryway into the room was this great fountain. There were quite a few fountains throughout the Capitol which is interesting considering the water originally came from the lake and wasn't drinkable until the plumbing was remodeled in 1968!
That's our tour for today. We had snow coming down all day yesterday for New Year's Day so I stayed inside prepping the rest of my Capitol posts (seven more of them to come!) and watching reruns of "Shameless" on Showtime (new season starts January 12th) while Wayne went ice fishing again. What did you do on New Year's Day?