Friday, June 06, 2008

A Tale of Two State Capitols

Last July, while vacationing in Wisconsin, I took a self-guided tour of the state capitol building in Madison with some friends. Thanks to state Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), we were able to climb to the top of the rotunda dome, and even into the lantern that caps the building.

Last weekend, while attending the Republican Party of Virginia's state convention, I was part of a group invited to tour the state capitol building in Richmond by Delegate Rob Bell. Delegate Bell -- who represents constituents in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, and Orange counties -- arranged for Bruce F. Jamerson, Clerk of the House of Delegates and Keeper of the Rolls of the Commonwealth, to guide the tour.

What follows is video of both tours.

First, the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, which is said to be the tallest of all the state capitol buildings. This video is primarily of the interior of the building.

This next video may be recognizable as part of the previously published "Getting High" series.

I have more material on the Virginia State Capitol, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson and is the second-oldest state capitol building in the country. (The Maryland State Capitol in Annapolis was built earlier than the one in Richmond.)

The tour was a real history lesson. Who knew, for instance, that Mr. Jefferson's capitol was almost torn down in the post-Civil War era, but that lack of funds prevented the demolition?

Mr. Jamerson's narration is well worth the time of watching this nine-part video series. (The whole thing lasts for about an hour.)

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Part V:

Part VI:

Part VII:

Part VIII:

Part IX:

Note, in Part VII, that Keith Drake tells about his experience as a Virginia Elector, casting his vote for George W. Bush in 2004 in a ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber. (The Virginia members of the Electoral College will meet in that same place on December 15 to cast their ballots.)

Delegate Bell also takes some time, in Parts VIII and IX, to give us some "inside baseball" about how the House of Delegates works -- where members sit, how they determine when to take a break in the lounge, when to stop eating because the cameras are aimed at them, and so forth.

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