Travel Photo Thursday: Denver’s “Capitol Idea”

October 31, 2013

in Destination Updates, Travel Photo Thursday

  • SumoMe

Henry Cordes Brown might have been one of early Denver’s most civic-minded residents.

In 1867 he donated ten acres of land on a hill rising gently above “downtown” Denver as the site on which a state capitol building would be constructed.

But he was no fool.

He rightly figured that the city “swells” would want to build their mansions up on Brown’s Bluff, too.

However, it would take twenty-five years before the Colorado State Capitol Building would be completed, a year after Brown lost his fortune in the Panic of 1893.

Today, if you climb up into “Mr. Brown’s Attic” in the capitol building, you’ll find a scale-model of the place, along with a number of historic photos, including one of Governor Clarence J. Morley, a Republican brought to power in the mid-1920’s by the Ku Klux Klan.

But Morley’s tenure didn’t leave a lasting stain on the state capitol’s beauty.

Murals adorn the lower floor of the building’s rotunda where a golden bannister along the staircase leads you up to the legislative chambers capped by the capitol’s gold-plated dome.

The state’s elected representatives begin meeting in chandeliered splendor in January, but by May call it quits and leave for the summer.

Back in the days when many members were farmers and ranchers, the early adjournment was based on the need to tend to one’s animals and crops.

Today, it means not having to sweat at close quarters, literally and figuratively, in heated debate over bills in a building that lacks air conditioning.

The Colorado State Capitol Building is constructed of stone, warm-toned woods, and a lot of gilt trim.

In addition to the ground-floor murals, stain glass windows adorn the building, and every two years, a display of quilts hangs from interior balconies.

Denver is known as “The Mile-High City.” That moniker is recalled by a marker on steps leading up to he western entrance to the State Capitol Building.

While you can wander rather freely through the building from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (it’s closed on most legal holidays and weekends), the best way to see it is by taking a free docent guided tour.

Other nearby attractions worth a visit include the U.S. Mint, the Denver Art Museum, and the Molly Brown House Museum.

(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

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