Thursday Doors – Connecticut Capitol

Public Entrance
The Peoples’ Door

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.

Upjohn Doors
The CT State Library has this drawing of the doors, as originally drawn by Richard Upjohn. (From CT Lib Website).

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.

74 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Connecticut Capitol

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  1. I expect to see sometimes drawings here, Dan but really enjoyed Richard Upton’s door drafts! :) The corner of wooden carved doors near the end were marvelous. The “piece de resistance” was the gold dome of the Connecticut Capitol. It tops the doors today, in both ways meant. Have a great Thursday, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Robin. When I saw the image of the drawings of the doors a the CT State Library,I felt I had to include it here today. It’s funny that you mention the dome. The dome was not part of Upjohn’s plan. Batterson added that. I think, given the way the building turned out, this is an example of a project where collaboration and compromise was a good thing…except for the budget.


  2. Thanks for adding that Sharukh, and for the comment. There are a large number of similarities between those two buildings. It’s interesting, because they were built at about the same time. I just looked up the history of your building and there were two competing designs for that building as well !
    I love digging through the history of old buildings and cities. Thanks for extending this journey a bit. Now, get some pictures of the doors of that building and join us :)


      1. I love Thursday door posts!
        And side note – I should have linked my three doors for today – but I am trying not to overdo the layers of links – want less right now! But maybe this weekend I can link a door – we saw some old buildings in Fredericksburg VA and some that looked like churches were a courthouse and a Vets hall! And so your Capitol building reminded me our trip!


    1. Thanks, Judy. They did do a nice job on the building. They spent more than twice the budget, but that seems par for the course down here. I just wish the current crew in that building could figure the budget out better than they seem to be able to.

      I’ve seen the “standard” doors many times. I’ve always wondered about getting good pictures, with so much glass in them (I struggle with that). I had never seen the public entrance before. I’m glad you like it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an impressive building, Dan. Isn’t it amazing if all the lights are green and all goes well, how much faster you get to your destination? But the opposite is also true, unfortunately, so you have to plan to the slower possibility and then have something to to if you arrive early.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet. That’s exactly what happened. I got the lights and the highway was nearly empty. I was lucky my barber was even in the shop. I told him that I leave early, so that even if I hit traffic, I won’t be late, but I was 30 minutes early!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is one cool and ornate capitol building. When I looked at the one photo of the entire structure, it reminded me of Downton Abby, that there could be a very rich British family and their wait staff living inside. That might be a little more civilized than politicians haggling over bills and laws.

    You are lucky to live in an area with such history and beautiful buildings. I was thinking about Thursday doors this morning while passing nothing but newer construction with glass and steel doors. Boring!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. We might actually be the Cardassians at this point. We occupy the place, but we don’t make repairs and we don’t get much work done, and our neighbors are stealing our businesses because of the way we treat them.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. My comment will be even less interesting than usual, Dan, because all I can think of to say is that I really like these doors. Heck, the whole building is one impressive structure. Very cool looking.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The People’s Doors are magnificent. Wow. The public entrance is also wow worthy. Please recall these doors when I one day photograph the repertory theatre, as I believe they’re similar. And those basement windows? Niiiice. Very churchy. Lovely arches abound. Connecticut’s statehouse is only about a decade older than ours, but its Gothic style makes it look older by far! (In terms of American architecture, she stresses.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joey, I’ll try to remember when you write that post. I’m sure that when they built this place, “people” were allowed in the front door just like all those important folk who work here. That was before events that require metal detectors and pat downs, etc. Still, it could be worse, we could be entering through that basement door. The building has so many interesting features. I got scared when I started to write this because I had taken over 40 photos and I liked something in all of them. I kept forcing myself to skip over some because I figured you guys would freak and never come back if the gallery were five screens deep :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think you should edit the photos down so much! I would totally look through them, and I’m certain many other people would as well! I think it’s likely a 40-shot worthy building.


    1. Thanks Joanne. I wondered the same thing but I wasn’t able to find out. Maybe the combo things like Force/War would have been split out. Still, I think that only gets us to 9. I also thought Music was an odd one, in that we’re not very famous (that I know of) for music. We had some great authors, but not in 1878.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I do like the early morning light. I guess that means that after I retire, I’ll still be dragging my butt out of bed early :)

      Since I’ve been in CT, they have replaced the gold leaf on the dome, once. It was quite a serious project and quite an art form.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. HAHA! Well if it helps you’ll be in good company. Somewhere there’ll another crazy photographer or fisherman/woman up at O’Dark Thirty to get the image or catch breakfast. :) Oh and the paperboy/delivery guys. They’re usually up toss the paper from their car windows when I’m out and about or making my way out of the neighborhood that early.
        I do miss seeing a kid on a bike tossing the paper to the porch though. Heck they don’t even make it to the porch these days. Just toss it on the driveway. :(

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Our paper guy has a wicked-good arm. On Sunday, we get the local paper and the NY Times. They’re both in one, fairly heavy bag. He hit our railing with it last week and shattered one of the post caps. He felt really bad. I knew that I had an extra one, so I told hi not to worry. He had thrown the paper from about 30′ away.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It is a beautiful building. I guess we’re lucky that Hartford beat out New Haven. Of course, that means we get all the politicians too…maybe not so lucky after all :)


  7. Nice to have taken this quick tour via your images, Dan. That bottom left one, with the foot pathway … there is just something inspiring there. Thanks for the historical information. Awesome building.
    Yes, I can see doors can be addictive. Metaphorically, they intrigue as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. To be fair, I make this harder than it has to be. You can just post a photo of a door. I just really like learning the history. The hard part is figuring out what to share.


  8. Weird that the front doors aren’t for the public. Seeing that it’s a government building, and therefore owned by “The People”, I would think the only doors to consider off limits would have to do with maintenance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would agree Glynis. I am guessing that it’s all part of the security process required to get the folks in and out safely and to keep them safe during the day. I’m not sure where you enter if you have business, or want to listen to a hearing , or speak at a meeting where public comment is allowed. Either way, I’m betting that you’re going through a metal detector and a screening and probably having your purse emptied.


      1. I don’t mind the metal detector and a screening. After all, it keeps me safe too. However, I do think they’ve gone overboard with fear. Next, the only person allowed in the White House will be the president. Everyone else will have to do their work by and Skype.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Am too enchanted with these views, to read your text right now (I’ll try another time!) Love this – how do you call it:triple arched ? door – beautiful! And the star-like mosaic windows – excellent! All the details on these buildings are a delight:)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, it’s my own fault, Dan. I usually read most of them as they come in, but if I don’t have enough time to write my comment on the spot, then I want to hold off on the like and do them together. And while I’m not a procrastinator by any stretch, my brain seems to process blogs differently than everything else. Once I’m two posts behind? I seem to lose all track of what the heck is going on! :P

        Liked by 1 person

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