Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The "new" Mississippi Capitol building was built in 1903 using back taxes paid by the Illinois Central Railroad, on the site of the old state penitentiary. Originally built for $1.9 million, the building was renovated from 1979 to 1982 for $19 million. There was a stable under the front steps when the building was first built. That area is now the snack bar.
There are 48 outside steps on the front, south entrance, symbolizing the 48 contiguous states (even though three of them were not admitted to the union in 1903: Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona) On the first flight of steps from the first to the second floor, the 20 steps symbolize Mississippi being the 20th state admitted to the Union; the second flight consists of 13 steps, symbolizing the original 13 colonies. The architect repeated the rotunda dome from our capitol when he designed the Arkansas capitol building. The stained glass windows in the stairwells are purported to be original Tiffany glass, although they are not signed.
You can tell when a house is in session from the outside, because a state flag will be flying over the appropriate dome; the Senate is on the east side, and the House on the west.
Open Monday through Friday, tours are scheduled for 9, 10 and 11 a.m., and 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Groups should call ahead, particularly when the Legislature is in session. Call 601-359-3114 to make arrangements. Visitors can observe legislators at work from the galleries, and they are also welcome to observe committee meetings. To view a list of committee meetings, to go http://www.ls.state.ms.us and click on either the House of Representatives or the state Senate links.
"This is the people's building," said House Public Information officer Mac Gordon. "It's owned by the people of Mississippi." All are welcome.
I've been in there during the off season. It's an impressive building.
as beautiful as the interior is.....it always had this strange cartoonish quality about it. I found it quite delightful. Almost like "Link" was playing a strange kind of parody on the nature of Politics and the "State". The whole Beauxs Arts movement was sort of that way.....