Everything traffic-related aligned last week, and I ended up with about 20 minutes in between the end of my haircut and my breakfast with my friend John. I decided to put that time to good use. Of course, that means getting some door pictures.
I have many pictures of the CT Capitol Building, but most of them are from the visitor’s parking lot, looking up at the dome. One of my favorites was taken on a stormy day, with dark, imposing skies. It’s in the gallery, along with the ones I took on my little walk around the building.
Three sides of the building feature a large entrance, with a series of identical handsome, yet unassuming tall wood and glass panel doors. The door I chose to feature today is on the fourth side and is the “public entrance” to the stately building. The People’s Door. OK, that’s my name for it. As far as I could tell, it’s the only door of this style on the building.
The Capitol sits atop a small hill, at the south end of Bushnell Park. The city of Hartford lies to the northeast, but the park provides a buffer from the city traffic and noise. Across from the front entrance of the Capitol is the State Library and Supreme Court Building. You can expect to see those doors here in the future.
The history of the building is interesting, in that it represents two battles. First, there was the battle between Hartford and New Haven to be the sole capital of the state. Prior to 1878, the sitting Capital of CT shifted between Hartford and New Haven. Second, two developers, James Batterson and Richard Upjohn, vied for the contract to build the million dollar project that had been authorized by the General Assemble. Upjohn won the project, but Batterson was chosen to actually build the building according to Upjohn’s design. Appropriately, for this post, the doors appear to have been made according to Upjohn’s original design.
In what may have been the start of a rather typical and repeating pattern, Batterson modified Upjohn’s plans as construction progressed. In the end, the building resembled Batterson’s idea and the cost had escalated to over $2.5 million. Sorry, CT is once again dealing with a monumental budget deficit and I might be just a little jaded.
The building is adorned with statues on the dome and over the entrances. Originally, there were to be 12 statues surrounding the dome. The state only had enough money for six, so they had duplicates made of those six. The statues represent: Agriculture, Commerce, Education/Law, Force/War, Science/Justice, and Music. It seems odd that the third smallest state in the country would dedicate a statue to “Force/War” but the Capitol was planned shortly after the end of the Civil War, so I guess the topic was still on everyone’s mind. There are many memorials throughout the state that were built after the Civil War.
In addition to the statues around the dome, there are also 26 gothic niches located above the Capitol entrances that contain statues of famous Connecticut citizens. One of these citizens is Ella Grasso, CT’s first woman governor, who just happens to hail from Windsor Locks, where I live. Her Wikipedia page mentions that:
“She was the first woman elected to this office and the first woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state without having been married to a former governor.”
She wasn’t governor when I moved to CT. Actually, I think she had already died from cancer. I moved here from Washington, which was another state with a woman governor, Dixie Lee Ray. Dixie and Ella both gained some notoriety by leading through a crisis. Dixie had to handle the eruption of Mt. St. Helens and Ella dealt with the Blizzard of 1978.
I’ve never been inside the Capitol. Maybe I’ll take one of the public tours, if they aren’t eliminated as they try to balance the budget. This post is part of Norm Frampton’s fun and interesting series – Thursday Doors. Head over to Norm’s page to see his doors, all the other doors and to add your own door. Be warned, doors are addictive.