Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hide in Plain Sight... One Mile High!

It is possible to see something so often that after awhile you no longer see it, or at the very lest take it for granted. I say that because for thirty years I walked, drove, and sometimes wandered past the State Capital Building in the heart of downtown Denver and never took the time to go inside and look around.

This thought came to me after visiting the State Capital of Louisiana ( will feature that in a later gallery). I marveled at some of the features I saw there and then it hit me that I was more than willing to drive hundreds of miles to see it and yet when such a building was right before me in Denver I never stopped.

So on a recent return to Denver I made a point of visiting the State Capital Building and it was more than worth it. As always, click each photo for a better view.

The Capital Building in all its glory. To enter downtown you almost have to pass it no matter the direction. It is a prominent fixture of the downtown area and sits between a historic area known as Capital Hill and the eastern entrance to downtown. This view faces Capital Hill.

In keeping with the "hide in plain sight" theme this sculpture has been at the foot of the Capital for ages and yet I never remember seeing it. It was a part of Colorado's exhibit at the 1893 World's Fair Exposition at Chicago and then placed on the Capitol's Lawn

It is titled "The Close of an Era" and speaks to the Native American influence in the State, a theme that seems to run throughout the building.

From the moment you actually enter the Capital Building there is a blend of the ornate and old west. Everyone remembers the gold rush to California but there was a similar event in Colorado and is reflected in several murals that line the first floor stair case. I stitched together two photos to include the staircase and part of the murals.

The golden past is reflected on various levels to the point I almost felt the State was showing off a little in terms of it's history. But showing off in a good way.

There is an exhibit highlighting the difficult task of gilding the dome. And every workman involved now has a place in history.

Areas like this allow light in through stain glass pictures of State heroes. It is this subtle use of light that moves your eye around the place from gold to stain glass.

You get the full sense of the play of light off the gold color near the entrance to the State Senate Chambers.

The Senate Chamber was shuttered on my visit but that turned out to be a good thing in that it showcased the play of light against stain glass in that area.

The same was true for the State Representative Chamber which in comparison seems a lot more serene.

A guide told us that the Supreme Court chambers to the right are no longer used by the State Judges who have moved to more updated digs. Their chamber is now used for committee meeting.

The stain glass here as well celebrates Native American influence in the area even if the law did not work in their favor at that time.

And now, on to the dome of the Capital. What I found ironic is that the scenic view from the capital of Louisiana was higher than in Colorado and allowed much more access to the observation walk around the dome. Evidently there have been some structural problems and access to the walk on the Colorado dome has now been restricted, but the view still takes your breath away!

This is the Northwestern view from the capital, and there is the City and County Building on a brilliant Denver day.

Walk around to the Southeastern portion and you have a clear view of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which has a big presence in Capital Hill.

I once went to mass there with a friend and it has an almost European feel to the layout inside.

To the west is a closer view of the construction on the Art Museum extension. A zoom shot gives a closer look where you can clearly see the workman.

From a different angle later on the ground it almost looks like the "thing" that consumed downtown Denver.

The inside of the doom is a gallery of people famous for their connection to the state. They include people such as second territorial Governor John Evans who was instrumental in developing congressional quarantine laws to prevent the spread of cholera; and Frances Jacobs who created the community Chest which later became United Way.

What really seems amazing is that for all it's beauty on the front, the back view reveals the pictures are held together with what looks like no more than wire.

The top of the dome is a sight to behold as light steams in from every direction to make it seem brilliant.

And no visit to Denver would be complete without going to the front step marker that indicates that the capital sits a mile above sea level.

The marker has been stolen and moved a number of times, which prompted simply chiseling in the words "One mile above sea level." But a recalculation of the height in 2003 caused the marker to be moved to its current location.

To end my journey into appreciating things you tend to take for granted, I wanted to feature two wonderful friends I call "Ma" and "Pa". We have been friends for as long as I can remember and they have been supportive like only parents can be. I say that because they endured me dragging them all through the Capital and did not grumble. And later when I missed my flight they were the ones who called around to all the airlines to check fares and made arrangements. "Pa" even made me a special handle for the box I needed to carry all the stuff "Ma" and I bought during our various shopping trips. He even had me practice carrying it so I would know what to do when I got back home and would have to wrestle with it and my bags alone. I call that good friends indeed!

And so I close with an expression I heard once that now seems so true:

Friends are the people God gives you to make up for the people he gave you as family!


  1. Great pics! and nice comments about your friends as well.

  2. Foarte interesat subiectul postat de tine, m-am uitat pe blogul tau si imi place ce am vazu am sa mai revin cu siguranta.
    O zi buna!

  3. Vă mulţumesc pentru cuvintele dumneavoastră frumoase despre blog-ul meu. Vă rugăm să vină de către din nou.