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State capitol buildings -- a two-thirds through ranking

State capitol buildings -- a two-thirds through ranking

Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 03:36 AM
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State capitol buildings -- a two-thirds through ranking

At this point, I have seen 35 state capitol buildings, which is about two-thirds of the way through. Thought it was about time to present a ranking for the ones I've been to so far. With any luck, I hope to see all 50, but we shall see what transpires. Anyway:

The best

Pennsylvania

Excellent

New York
Iowa
Missouri
Kansas
Louisiana

Very good

Maryland
Illinois
Nebraska
Mississippi
Arkansas
Minnesota
Vermont
New Jersey
Connecticut
Oklahoma

Good

Rhode Island
South Carolina
Ohio
Indiana
Wisconsin
Georgia
Kentucky
Tennessee
Utah
California

Fair

Delaware
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Michigan
West Virginia
Maine
Alabama
Nevada

Poor

Florida

These are essentially ranked in order from top to bottom, though some could shift as much as a couple places here or there. Obviously, the top two categories are as close to must-visits as it gets, with Pennsylvania pretty clearly the best. Ones listed as Very Good strike me as the next level down to varying degrees, but are still very much worth going out of your way to see. Those in the Good category are all well worth visiting, if maybe not quite to the level of those above them. Capitols listed as Fair range from okay at best to barely worthwhile at worst, but if you happen to be in the city and have the time, you might as well stop in. Florida is easily the worst of the bunch, frankly not worth more than a quick pop-in if you happen to be in Tallahassee.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 04:24 AM
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with Pennsylvania pretty clearly the best

IMO you'd help your case a great deal if you were willing to tell people what you think makes something the best or worst.

The size of the rest rooms? The interior decoration? The exterior architecture? Otherwise this is simply one person's list and it is not in any way compelling or persuasive. Or to use your term: "barely worthwhile."
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 04:25 AM
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This is of little value without knowing your criteria. Your best might be my fair.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 05:14 AM
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Unfortunately, I don't have the physical capacity at present to prepare an extended description of each one, and if I did, I'd just write a book and not post here. Will see if I can get this removed by the moderators given its apparent uselessness.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 05:21 AM
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I am not asking for descriptions. I am asking on what basis you prefer one building to another.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 06:02 AM
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Pennsylvania is my native state and I agree.
I believe that California should be moved up to the very good category (better than South Carolina) IMO.
Please come to see Salem Oregon. Our little golden man on the top of the dome is impressive. I was not allowed into the rotunda because of fears about earthquake damage.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 06:04 AM
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For starters, Louisiana has traces of the bullet damage from the assassination of Huey Long. Pretty impressive building overall.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:04 AM
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Hi,

I've toured 5 US state capitol buildings, 3 Canadian provincial legislatures and 1 Mexican state palacio de gobierno; there are others I've seen but not entered. Each building I saw had things to appreciate. My general thought is that all the state capitol tours were a pretty terrific way of spending an afternoon for one who enjoys history and government especially considering the price tag of free, with guides who seemed to truly care about the quality of the tour as well as their state/province in general. I don't know if it's a goal of mine especially to tour large numbers of legislative buildings, but I've always been pleased when I have.

So far the ones I've toured are: New York, Texas, Illinois, Virginia and New Jersey; Quebec, PEI and Manitoba; Nuevo Leon. The ones I've seen from the outside (sometimes at a distance): Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, Arkansas, California, Ontario, BC.

Tough to pick favourites from the state Capitols. Maybe Richmond, Virginia (which I've noticed is not on the list) as I loved Thomas Jefferson's Greek classical style, being spellbound when seeing where early American history unfolded in some beautifully preserved rooms, the stunning paintings, busts and life-sized sculpture of George Washington? I might be forgetting Albany NY's a bit though, as it's been a number of years and I remember being in awe of the "Million Dollar Staircase" and the intricate detail of the moldings.

This said, Illinois had a beautiful rotunda with dome, handsome sculptures and bronze friezes (not sure this is the right word?), New Jersey had the beautifully-painted dark red rotunda with paintings of the governors and Texas also had a lovely rotunda with paintings of governors and statues of the handsome Stephen Austin and Sam Houston; all I felt were a great way to spend an hour or so in Springfield, Trenton and Austin respectively.

Thanks for taking the time to offer your rankings and opinions; please do not have the moderators remove this post, bachslunch! If you like this sort of thing and are running low on US State Capitols, I'd recommend checking out some legislative buildings I'd mentioned and others in the Canadian provinces and Mexican states; buildings beautiful, tours well-done and brought me into contact with other names, events & figures of North American history that I'd not learned about in my history classes.

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:10 AM
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Virginia and Colorado should be at the top of the list. Beware of altitude sickness if climbing to the top of Colorado's Dome.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 02:21 PM
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FYI - The State Legislature and the Supreme Court of Alaska have buildings in Anchorage and not in Juneau.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 02:44 PM
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Some people here need to visit the Capitol of Lighten Up.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2017, 08:39 PM
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This post has certainly made me want to start noticing capitol buildings!!
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 04:36 AM
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When somebody posts that building A is "The best" and building B is "Poor", it seems eminently reasonable to ask why the person has reached that conclusion. Otherwise the information is meaningless.
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 11:03 AM
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When I read this, I imagined bachslunch's rankings had to do with architecture/aesthetics (which would include paintings/sculptures/friezes/grounds and upkeep) and quality of tour (which would include mention of historic details) offered. These seem to me the main basis of comparison one might have to judge the overall quality of a Capitol building, no?

Bachslunch-- I might have to swing by Harrisburg one of these years to check out the Pennsylvania State House, to see what makes it so great! I'd definitely recommend and would be curious how you'd rank Virginia and Texas when you do visit; I'm excited that you've got two great ones to go in your missing 15.

tomfuller-- I was curious as to the history behind the State Legislature & Supreme Court meeting in Anchorage, so looked it up. Wikipedia states that the Alaska State Capitol actually is in Juneau; you're right though that the Supreme Court meets more frequently in Anchorage, but apparently also quarterly in Juneau or Fairbanks. Thanks for sharing the Anchorage Supreme Court bit...makes sense to serve the population on the mainland better.

Thanks for the great post again, bachslunch!
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 11:56 AM
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Bachslunch, please don't have this thread removed.

I opened this because I was curious if Missouri would make the top of your list. I've visited this capitol building several times and the museum is wonderful as well as the setting overlooking the Missouri River.

I've driven thru Topeka many, many times. My parents would always point out the capitol with its green copper dome, but we never stopped. I'll put it on my list.

Happytrvlr, I haven't been to the Colorado capitol building since I was a kid on a field trip. I don't remember being overly impressed (except for the gold dome), so I'm going to have to give it another try.

Thanks for the post!
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 12:57 PM
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Thanks bachslunch. And I also agree with Vincenzo's comment! Each capitol is different, so you can't just compare apples to apples. It may be a combination of things.

I think I would agree with your rankings on the ones I visited. I may have liked Nebraska's a little more. I enjoyed New Mexico's. Not sure it was excellent, but it was a nice visit with some interesting art on a trip to Santa Fe.

Wtm003: Kansas spent a fortune in the recent past on its capitol bldg. The dome is no longer green. I had the opportunity to tour it after the renovation and really enjoyed it. The murals alone (John Brown etc.) are worth it, but there are so many neat details, metal work etc. I went up to the top of the dome which is accessed by some crazy stairway!
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Old Jan 24th, 2017, 01:39 PM
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Thanks all for the kind words. Looks like the moderators left the post up despite my request, so I won't press the issue. Daniel's most recent post comes about as close to what I value in a capitol building as it gets. But as Bitter rightly says, it's pretty complicated and not an apples-to-apples straight line issue. There's a lot of stuff to take into account.

Someday would love to see those in Virginia, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, and New Mexico (as well as the rest). Hopefully it'll happen.
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Old Mar 31st, 2019, 04:20 AM
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Bumping to keep on site.
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Old Sep 12th, 2019, 07:58 PM
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Texas, Colorado, and Michigan were all designed by the same architect and all have a fatal design flaw: a skinny dome so ruinous aesthetics.

Wisconsin should be much higher. Iowa, MN and WI are among the best. Haven’t seen MO.

New York’s office bldg design doesn’t work for me.
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Old Sep 13th, 2019, 02:12 AM
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Well, at least SOMEBODY is willing to give out some criteria (skinny -whatever that means-dome) and another one (looks just like an "office building") other than among the best
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