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.
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.
This week I made it back to the State Capitol to begin my in-depth exploration of the building. My plan is to cover each floor one day at a time, starting at the bottom and working my way up.
The ground level is the fastest floor to work because it is the least ornate and is pretty much limited to hallways. This is the floor the Senate holds some meetings and most of those rooms are off limits to the general public. Let's take a look around:
The main attraction on this level has to be the portraits of Minnesota's governors. The first floor also features such portraits. It appears however that paintings of the state's most recent governors are on the ground level. More visibility is given to the state's oldest governors just by the fact that they are on the first floor and that is where people enter the building. I don't have any statistics to back this up, but my guess is that a small percentage of the public makes its way down to the ground level. Will the 20th and 21st century governors ever make it up to a higher floor? Maybe I can inquire next time I am there and find an answer. These particular portraits depict officials who were in office from 1951 through 2003.
In case you were reading the captions, our current Governor is Mark Dayton. I didn't see his portrait down there but it could be by his office. It may show up on my next trip which will include the Governor's Reception Room located on the first floor.
I hope you will come back as I continue to work my way up in this building. It is going to get much more fascinating, I promise.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.