I hate politics. I really abhor them. I don’t have much faith in our politicians or government to make a lot of positive differences in the world (regardless of the political party). I believe that travel can change world. However, I love state capitol buildings.
I am not sure what sparked my interest in State Capitol buildings. I guess it has something to do with being around them for much of my life.
Living in the state capital
For the last 20 years, I have lived in two capital cities – Columbia, South Carolina and Sacramento, California.
In college, I lived a few blocks from the SC State Capitol. Unfortunately, the South Carolina State Capitol building has been the center of controversy. For years, the Confederate Flag hung from the top of the State Capitol building.
The state has seen boycotts from the NAACP and the NCAA due to the flag controversy. The flag was removed and became part of a Confederate soldiers monument. Despite the move, the controversy remains.
Since 2001, I have lived in the Sacramento area. For the last few years, I’ve stood on the steps of the California State Capitol to help raise money for babies in the Sacramento March for Babies.
I love walking the grounds of state capitol buildings. There is so much history and beauty that makes the grounds a fun place to explore. Last year, I enjoyed the parks and monuments on the grounds of the California State Capitol as I learned more about the state’s history.
Maybe that is the reason I love these buildings. If real estate is all about “location, location, location” these capitol buildings have the best the pieces of land in the city.
While I don’t care for the history being made in the legislature, I enjoy the history, the architecture, and the beauty of the state capitol buildings.
Inevitably, you can’t avoid some of the politics. And while I respect our government and our democratic process, the history and beauty of these buildings and the world of politics collide.
The Colorado State Capitol Building
When I arrived in Denver, I checked into my hotel and immediately walked to the Colorado State Capitol building (The second thing I did was take a tour of Coors Field – home of the Colorado Rockies).
Downtown Denver made a pretty good first impression. The streets were easy to navigate and everything was within walking distance.
From the Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast on Tremont Place, the Colorado State Capitol building was located a little more than a half mile on walk on E Colfax. It’s location in the heart of Denver offers some great views of the city.
Wandering around the building, the capitol looks similar to other state capitol buildings I’ve visited. While the dome is a popular feature atop many state capitol buildings, the gold dome on the Colorado State Capitol building symbolizes its gold rush days.
Located in the Capital Hill District of Denver, the state capitol sits above the rest of the city giving you a panoramic view of downtown. The building was designed by Elijah Myers and built in the early 1890s. On the steps, there is a marker indicating 5,280 feet above sea level – exactly one mile.
In front of the Capitol building, a Union soldier honors the efforts of Colorado’s Civil War heroes. Across the street from the state capitol building is Civic Center Park with views of the Denver city and county building.
Walking across the street, you enter Civic Center Park and are greeted by the Colorado Veterans Monument. This memorial pays tribute to those who have served in the Armed Forces. The green space, monuments, capitol on a hill, and the city and county building provide a peaceful from a place that is the center of controversy.
While the state capitol building is a symbol of Colorado’s government, what is happening outside the building says a lot about the state of our country.
While the park, monuments, and the gold dome of the Colorado State Capitol building were a nice welcome to Denver, what was happening around me was a sad reminder of the issues our country faces today.
Occupy Colorado is the movement protesting the abuse of economic power by corporations and government on the citizens of Colorado. The protests of the people are were born out of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
However, it seems so much bigger than that now.
A number of Occupy movements have started all over Colorado – Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Greeley, Aspen, and more. The initial protests were small with just a few people. In October, the numbers grew as 5,000 people were part of the first Occupy Denver march through the streets of Denver.
While the march was supposed to be peaceful, it featured riot police, pepper spray, and arrests.
Occupy Denver organizes these marches using their general assembly. Recent marches include protests over Quebec tuition, Iran, and neo-feudalism.
Such a broad range of topics has brought a lot of attention to this movement. However, I am not even sure how many people understand or know what is really the focus of these Occupy movements. While the numbers aren’t as big as they were in the beginning, there are a number of people still faithful to the Occupy efforts.
On this mid-June evening at Colorado’s State Capitol, there seems to be some tension. Police are on patrol in Civic Center Park. However, the Occupy Denver movement seems to be more of a homeless movement right now as many are hanging out in the park.
In May, the Denver City Council passed an urban camping ban to prevent homeless people from camping out on the streets and in parks. The reaction has been strong on both sides.
As an outsider, I don’t understand the homeless issues or pretend to be an expert on the Occupy Denver movement. However, I was surprised by the large number of young people and homeless hanging out at the capitol and Civic Center Park.
The police presence and the people didn’t scare me but it seems that the homeless problem in Denver is a big issue. Out of respect for the people and the situation, I didn’t want to take many photos. However, I was surprised at the number of people that weren’t there to see the capitol.
The number of people congregating in the park and at the state capitol building while the police watched made me realize there are still a lot of issues facing our governments today.
Where the past meets the present
Visiting a state capitol building will give you a glimpse of the history and architecture of these buildings. They are the work place for our elected officials and state governments.
Even though I love these state capitol buildings, the are a reminder that what is going on outside these buildings may be just as important as what goes on inside.
From the monuments to the protests, take a walk through history or be a part of it as it is being made. From Occupy Wall Street movements to Confederate flag controversies, a visit to a State Capitol building brings past and present issues together.