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Face to face with (the first) George W.

March 26th, 2005 · 1 Comment


On Monday, the girls and I toured Washington state’s Capitol in Olympia. The girls had been asking to go and the capitol recently re-opened after completing renovations from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. Tours are offered on the hour throughout the day.


I gasped when I first glimpsed the building from the freeway. It loomed in white, as a deity demanding obeisance. The inside is majestic and impressive, with walls of century-old black and white marble taken from Europe and Alaska.

George Washington, our state’s namesake, appeared even on bathroom doorknobs.


The carpet in the House of Representatives featured the trillium. The Senate carpet was decorated with dogwood.


At 287 feet from grade to top of lantern, the dome was the fourth highest masonry dome (a dome without metal support structures) in the world, surpassed only by St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The U.S. Capitol is slightly taller than the one in Olympia (302 feet) and has support structures.


George’s nose was rubbed for good luck, explaining his uneven complexion.


Another highlight from our trip was our visit with our representative who welcomed the kids with chocolate coins and showed them pictures of her cat and the Capitol. We also saw our state Senator.

Since we’ve returned, the girls have been playing Senator and Representative, writing bills and voting on them. Even Elisabeth remembers our trip. Yesterday she told a neighbor, “Capitol! Big Capitol!” gesturing with her hands after I mentioned our visit.

I felt ashamed when I realized that I have been to the national Capitol in Washington D.C. a few times but never to the one in Washington state where I’ve spent most of my life. I’d recommend taking a trip to see the state capital and visiting representatives too. The drive to Olympia took four hours of the day but it was worth the time to give my daughters a glimpse of democracy in its glory.

Apologies for the tone of the pictures. My camera is broken and I have tried to remedy the colors of the photos in this post with some Photoshop editing.

Tags: travels

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