The second floor of the Capitol is described as the "grand floor" by the Historical Society. This is the level that houses the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers. All of these areas are richly appointed with dark woods, golden embellishments, detailed murals and solid hardwares of yesteryear.
I decided to explore the West Corridor first leading me to the Senate room.
This area is gated and locked. Fortunately the bars are wide enough that I can get my camera lens through them enabling some images to be captured but only one view of the room can be made, for the most part.
Turning directly around from this gate provides a spectacular view.
If we were on the first floor, the corridors would be adorned with Governors' portraits. On the second floor, the hallways feature quotes about proper governing principles leaving me wondering where those missing paintings are located. These are very thought-provoking if one takes time to stop and consider them. If you are in a rush, then photographing them is a great idea so you can read and consider them later when you return home. I often do that when I am visiting somewhere and don't want to take the time to read something at that moment but I am interested in what it says. Let's look at some of them now.
But what about those missing portraits? A quick stop by the information desk answered my question and provided me with a single sheet of paper listing every portrait (wish I would have asked earlier), the year each governor held office, who painted it, and the year it was painted. Information people are always amazing! They told me that there should not be any gaps in the portraits so let's see. Well, after comparing their list to mine, I find that I am missing portraits of Winfield S. Hammond who only held office for one year in 1915 and Theodore Christianson who was in office from 1925-1931. It is possible I have unearthed a mystery but it is more likely that I missed them somehow so will have to look on a return trip.
They also said that it is standard procedure to have a governor's portrait commissioned after the term is over. So our current governor, Mark Dayton, will have his portrait done when he is out of office. That explains why I couldn't find it.
Continuing on then through the building brings one to the Minnesota Supreme Court. This room is opened for tours and otherwise the greeting is another locked gate.
The area immediately outside the entrance prominently displays the bust of an important Minnesota native in U.S. judicial history: Warren Burger.
Turning around provides another breath-taking view of this level.
And another corridor filled with quotes on jurisprudence for contemplation.
If you happened to notice that there is one more plaque in this hallway than the previous hallway, you are right. It is because there is a quote directly outside the MN Supreme Court on the wall opposite where Warren Burger's statue is located.
The last area to explore on this floor is the House of Representatives. For anyone from the public, the best way to view this room is from the gallery on the 3rd floor, as the 2nd floor perspective is through another locked gate.
Now that all the corridors have been visited, there are only 2 areas left to mention. The first is what would be the South Corridor if there was one. Instead on this floor it is a balcony which I imagine could host some wonderful events except that it is in need of repair.
And last but not least is the 2nd floor view into the Rotunda. This space provides a different experience on each level of the Capitol and they are all fabulous!
Thank you for viewing this blog and for those of you who have been waiting, next week it is time to talk about the animals at the Minnesota State Fair. I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer and first crisp days of fall.
My plans to return to the capitol have been put on hold now that the legislature is back in session. I can visit during the week but it means a lot of people in the photos and no photography in the house or senate chambers, so it is easier to go on the weekends. Right now, they are filled with fall sports and other trips, so I am hoping I can get in there next Saturday.
In the meantime, check out this car that I saw driving down the road. It appears to be solar powered. It was traveling a little slower than gas-powered vehicles, but that might be a good thing if traffic slowed down in general anyway. I love the idea of running cars on sunergy. I'm putting my money on a new car paint that contains solar chips.
If a person had to choose one thing to do at the fair, eating food or people watching, I'm not sure which I would pick. Every year the fair gets about 50 new kinds of food. Many of them are on a stick. This year the one new food I really wanted to try was something called Comet Corn. It was described as a futuristic caramel corn flash frozen with nitrogen. Since this sounds like something that you can't get at any other time of the year, I was willing to drop the money and calorie allotment on a serving of it. I forgot to photograph it because it's hard to operate my camera while I am holding and eating food. And when I am at the fair I do not sit down, at least rarely. There is too much to do and see for any breaks. I am always moving. But I did photograph the nitrogen tank that freezes it while I was waiting for them to freeze mine because they do it one batch at a time.
The next food I had to try was a couple things I had read about from a place called Mancini's. I had the same problem though. I ate it before I photographed it. It was becoming evident that I needed a new strategy.
Here is some food I did not eat but I did photograph.
Does beer count as food? I think in Minnesota it does. Barley, hops, barley malt, malted barley...
Those are all some kind of food product that originate out of the ground and if you stopped by the Ag-Hort Building (that's what we say up here in farm country, it is short for Agriculture-Horticulture also known as another food and beer building or get a beer and walk around and look at the giant pumpkin building)
or Adrian Peterson's Christmas tree
you could have had a sampling, literally, of four different types of locally brewed Minnesota beer. There were 4 or 5 of those stations, each unique, so if you tried them all, then 4x5 = I hope the swinging hammer ride wasn't your next stop.
When it's all said and done though, I think most people would agree that the hands down #1 mandatory food stop is Sweet Martha's Cookies. I don't get it and I used to be offended when my kids insisted we drop $15 on a bucket of chocolate chip cookies. What about MY chocolate chip cookies? I don't care that they are hot and gooey, that they just came out of the oven. Mine are like that too when they are hot off the press. Maybe it's a quantity thing. They say you get 3-4 dozen in a bucket. When I make cookies, I put half of the dough in the fridge for another day. So I suppose if I made all the cookies and put them on the table in a bucket and imposed no limitations, then maybe, just maybe, they might like mine as much as her's.
I finally caved in though and had one. Then I had another. Then I had another. And then it happened. As they say...if you give a mouse a cookie. 3 cookies was my personal limit before needing a drink of some sort. Some people are really smart and they get a bucket and head straight to the all-you-can-drink milk stand. Note: the fair did not put the cookie stand anywhere near the milk stand. It is several fair blocks away. But the wise get their bucket and bee-line it to the milk stand.
Now that it's a couple of weeks after the fair, I imagine that Sweet Martha has boarded her multi-million dollar yacht funded with cookie money and is sailing off in the sunset to her own private island or vineyard. She is one smart lady. Who would've thought a simple chocolate chip cookie could build an empire? I bet the deep-fried pickle people are thinking the same thing right now. Or maybe the fried alligator people. Which raises an interesting question. Why do the alligator people always run out of gator? They are giant animals. I'm just glad they sell frozen grapes there so I can look like I'm getting some gator. It's one of the healthiest treats a person can get at the fair and look cool doing it.
That is a wrap for my food report from the fair. I hope you will come back for the animal report and next week to see what the second floor of the State Capitol looks like! Thanks for stopping by!
I have a lot more images to show from the State Fair. It was so fun and I was sad to see it go. But to keep things interesting I'm going to switch back to my report from the State Capitol and as promised, we are back to the main or first floor.
When arriving at the Capitol for a visit, people climb up a series of steps and then enter through the main doors. Upon entering they will usually take several steps forward and enter the rotunda. It is an open space that shows the interior circle of that floor as well as the second and third floors above it. It also includes the fabulous chandelier which I wrote about several years ago. The rotunda features many arched openings and to best capture it in its entirety, I traveled around the room photographing at each arch. Here are a couple:
With the rotunda being the center of the building, the Capitol floor plan consists of 3 wings which are referred to as the West, East, and North Corridors. Each floor houses different offices and the first floor's main public attraction aside from the rotunda is the Governor's Reception Room located in the West Corridor. During the weekend, it is closed to the public except for a 5 or 10 minute stop on the organized tour led by the Minnesota Historical Society. If a person wants to spend any extended time in there, they have to go during the week. Even then it is subject to the Governor's schedule and press conferences and whatnot. So the day I was there, it appears there had just been some sort of speaking engagement as the remnants of wiring and sound equipment were still running about the room. In order to get a really good shot in here, some work would have to be done, furniture needs to be rearranged, cords removed, burned out light bulbs replaced, etc. So I was only able to work with things as they presented themselves that day.
It is a fabulously ornate space and who wouldn't love to call this their own reception room. It's enough to make a person want to run for Governor. The rest of the West corridor as well as the North and East Corridors are mainly used for offices and those doors were all closed. So I focused on the hallways and, guess what, more portraits of governors. I still have not found Mark Dayton's portrait. I wonder if I'll ever find it.
As you may have noticed, there are some gaps in the Governors' portraits. Maybe they will appear on the 2nd floor. The other question would be why are they on the 2nd floor, out of order? I might ask around and see if I can find an answer. Here are a few of the breathtaking hallways, arches, and stairways beckoning visitors up to the next floor.
Then when I was about to leave, I saw what turned out to be one of my favorite shots.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you can come back next week for some more images of the fair, either food or animals this time.
Minnesota is in the thick of its biggest party of the year, the Minnesota State Fair. It is one of the best places besides the Mall of America to do some serious people-watching. Imagine all the people, usually over 100K and sometimes 200,000 a day. Now imagine all the places they are and the things they are doing and all the picture potential. The possibilities are immeasurable. Here is an infinitesimal percentage of them.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.