Wyoming State Capitol - Description

Description

The capitol is located north of downtown Cheyenne. The exterior approach to the front steps of the capitol features the State Seal in granite as well as two statues. Esther Hobart Morris, who had a significant role in gaining women's suffrage in the Wyoming Territory. The statue was sculpted by Avard Fairbanks. The Act to grant women the right to vote was passed by the First Territorial Assembly and signed by Governor John Allen Campbell on December 10, 1869. Wyoming was thus first government in the world to grant women the right to vote. Morris was also appointed as the first female Justice of the Peace in the territory during 1870. Chief Washakie of the Shoshone tribe. The statue was sculpted by Dave McGary. Chief Washakie earned a reputation that lives on to this day-fierce warrior, skilled politician and diplomat, great leader of the Shoshone people, friend to white men. Washakie granted right-of-way through Shoshone land in western Wyoming to the Union Pacific Railroad, aiding the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The famed leader and warrior died at the age of 102 in 1900. He was buried with full military honors at Fort Washakie. A replica of Esther Hobart Morris and Chief Washakie are in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

The architecture of the building is renaissance revival, reminiscent of the National Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The sandstone for the building came from a quarry in Rawlins, Wyoming and Fort Collins, Colorado. The building's cornerstone was laid on May 18, 1887, with maps, a roster of territorial officers and other papers inside. During the Centennial of the Capitol in 1987; the cornerstone was removed, these documents were replaced and the cornerstone reset.

While standing in the center of the rotunda, looking up at the base of the dome directly overhead you see the stained glass, imported from England. From underneath it sparkles with blue, purple, and green hues, but the upper side glistens with red, yellow, and orange. The Dome of the capitol is cooper and it tarnishes so badly in 1900 they began using gold leaf on the exterior of the dome. The 24-carat gold leaf dome is visible from all roads entering the city. It has been gilded five times, the first in 1900 and the last in 2010. A highly skilled person is needed because, if the gold leaf is touched by fingers in handling, it will disintegrate. The peak of the dome is 146 feet high, and the base is 50 feet in diameter.

The first floor rotunda is striking, with the checkerboard Italian marble floors, columns, and impressive staircase made of cherry wood brought out from Ohio.

Four of Wyoming's five elected officials including the Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor and Treasure have their offices in the Capitol on the first floor. The Superintendent of Public Instruction is located a block south in the Hathaway Building.

The west wing of the first floor contain several large taxidermy specimens, including two mounted Golden Eagles and a mounted Bison which was raised with the state herd at Hot Springs State Park near Thermopolis. The bison weighed approximately 3,000 lb (1350 kg) while living, and is the third largest bison recorded.

The Senate chamber is the west wing of the second floor building; the House chamber is in the east wing of the second floor. Each chamber contains four large murals by Allen Tupper True, who painted them during August 1917 for a cost of $500 each. The murals depicting various aspects of the culture, history, and industry of Wyoming. The murals in the Senate chamber are entitled "Indian Chief Cheyenne", "Frontier Cavalry Officer", "Pony Express Rider", and "Railroad Builders/Surveyors". The House murals are entitled "Cattlemen", "Trappers", "Homesteaders", and "Stagecoach". The ceilings of both chambers are inlaid with Tiffany-style stained glass, with the Wyoming State Seal displayed in the center. Both chambers are accessible to visitors by balconies on the third floor. The House and Senate chambers also include four oil paintings by William Gollings. Two in each chamber. The wood in both chambers is oak.

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