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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Arkansas State Capitol

We have a beautiful State Capitol. It was built to resemble the Nation's Capitol. in fact, it has been used as the US Capitol's "body double" in a few films, including "under Siege" (1986)


A little trivia about the Capitol
The grounds the Capitol sits on used to be the site of a prison. The whole thing was walled in. The plan was to build the Capitol within the prison walls using convict labor and then tear down the walls and demolish the prison.

The Capitol construction site was aligned incorrectly by the builder, future Governor George Donaghey, due to his failure to use surveying instruments. Instead, he aligned the plot visually using Fifth Street as a guide without recognizing that the street was not aligned east–west; Fifth Street was parallel to the Arkansas River. Therefore, the structure is situated in a north–south manner from end-to-end which does not fit the grid street pattern of Little Rock's downtown.
The exterior of the Capitol is made of limestone which was quarried in Batesville, Arkansas. Arkansas materials were used whenever possible. Total construction cost was $2.2 million with today's value of the building being $320 million.

The next few shots show some of the beautiful detail work on the outside of the building.





A softer Indiana limestone was used for the dome. The dome is topped with a lantern-style cupola and capped with a ball finial, which is a hollow copper sphere. It and the supporting rooftop are gilded in 23-karat gold leaf, an extremely thin gold foil, which was applied by hand.


The six front entrance doors are made of bronze, which are 10 feet tall, four inches (10 cm) thick and were purchased from Tiffany's in New York for $10,000.  
Notice in the right door, a reflection of the Arkansas State Flag. I had to wait awhile to get this shot. I wanted the flag as unfurled as possible.
There are several memorials and monuments around the Capitol. I'll show you a few.

This is  American Revolution Bicentennial Monument. It is a replica of the Liberty Bell. The bell is one of 50 distributed to the states in 1950. The bell pays tribute to the "spirit of  '76" America's bicentennial.

 The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
With a central figure of a soldier the granite monument bears the names of over 400 Arkansans killed or mortally wounded during the conflict in Vietnam

 Medal of Honor Memorial
 Its central figure is a bronze eagle surrounded by a memorial of Congressional Medal recipients who served in conflicts ranging from the Civil War to Vietnam.
The Eternal Flame
This simple structure symbolizes the "Spirit of Freedom"  The flame memorializes the founders of the American Legion and that organization's 50th anniversary. The flame was lit on July 11, 1969.

War of 1812 Memorial Fountain
Many veterans of the War of 1812 received land grants in Arkansas Territory for their service. This stone structure memorializes 56 veterans who are buried in Arkansas.

This is not a memorial, but I forgot to add it to yesterday's post. This sundial is in the Iris Garden. I've always been fascinated by sun dials. You can see what time I was there, about 11:00 a.m.
I didn't take any pictures inside the Capitol, both houses were in session and it was very busy. I'd like to go back sometime on the weekend to get some people-free pictures.

Hope you enjoyed the small tour the Arkansas State Capitol.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the tour. It was great. I love sun dials also. I hope one of these days I have one. I thought it was neat about the service men from the war of 1812 getting property in Arkansas. Also the cost of the doors.

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