Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Wisconsin Capitol

John Steele Gordon at Commentary's Contentions blog notes that the venue for the current disputes in Madison is an extraordinarily beautiful building. I walk through it several times a week and confess that I have become so used to it that often I do not see. Gordon:
The State Capitol of Wisconsin is one of the greatest examples of Beaux Arts style architecture in the United States. It was built between 1906 and 1917, the third capitol building on the site. (The second building burned in 1904. In one of the more ill-timed cost-cutting measures in American political history, the legislature had voted to cancel the fire insurance on the building five weeks earlier.)

The architect was George B. Post (1837-1913), a student of Richard Morris Hunt. He also designed many early New York City skyscrapers, some the tallest in the world at the time, and the New York Stock Exchange Building on Broad Street.

Cruciform in shape, with four equal wings, the Wisconsin State Capitol has one of the highest domes in the country (only a few feet shorter than the U.S. Capitol) and the only one made of granite (the dome of the Capitol in Washington is cast iron). While grand on the outside, the inside is magnificent, abounding with Beaux Arts exuberance and luxury that never crosses the line into vulgarity.
Another Reason to Visit Madison, Wisconsin « Commentary Magazine, flickr