November 17, 2014 by Rob Hurlbut
Colorado State Capitol Building Model
For the first time in about 15 years, I went inside the Colorado Capitol building. The gold dome has gleamed over Denver for a hundred and ten years and it was just refurbished so it looks great. While I did walk all over the place I had one actual thing on my agenda; to get to the top of the dome.
Ground Floor – Colorado State Capitol Building
If you don’t work in the capitol, there are two options for visitors to enter; the north or the south side of the building. There are very polite security guards that will have you walk through a metal detector and place your bag in an x-ray machine. It’s similar to going through security at an airport but you can keep your shoes on and you only need to take metal objects out of your pockets. After that, you can walk all around the building.
The Grand Staircase
The place if filled with vintage art and stained glass windows that are worth spending time admiring and photographing. That being said, I didn’t admire a whole lot because, as I said before, I wanted to go to the top of the dome.
Emily Griffith Stained Glass Window
Normally, a stained glass window is an actual window. What I mean is that they are on the outer wall of a building in order to let light in and showcase the colors. There are a few of them in the capitol building that are on interior wall and lit from behind with electric lights. This likeness of Emily Griffith is one of them.
Colorado State Legislature Chambers
While the restoration of the dome is complete, there are still interior chambers getting a facelift. This is the part where I have to tell you that I don’t remember exactly what this room is but I think it is the state legislature chambers. I do remember that it was on the west side of the building and that it has some great stained glass windows. I also remember the information poster outside this room said that in the 1950s acoustic tiles were placed on the walls, covering the original gilded walls. Those tiles are now being removed and the original walls are being restored, which I think is awesome.
Looking Down From The Hall Of Presidents
Up and up I went, looking at the architecture whilst resisting the urge to open random doors. While the actual footprint of the building is rectangular, each floor under the dome is round; I think that would make these areas, if not the entire building itself a rotunda. This is perfect for a wide angle lens since it distorts straight lines into a curve.
Looking Up From The Hall Of Presidents
One of my last stops before finding the stairs that lead up to the gold dome is this room filled with portraits of every American president. Some of the portraits are missing because they are being cleaned off site but it was still a very easy way to put faces to names that haven’t made it on to our currency. I am a modest student of early American history so at this point I have to say that Benjamin Franklin should have his portrait up here because I think he should have been president.
After a hike up a final set of narrow stairs, I was right underneath the gold dome. The spiral staircase you see in the photo above is off limits to the public so where I was standing is the highest point a regular dude like me can go; the same place I stood 15 years earlier.
Civic Center Park
Once out on the veranda of the rotunda I set to work taking photos of my glorious Denver skyline. All these photos were taken on November 5th so the fall colors of Civic Center Park were on full display and there were just enough clouds to give some depth to the sky without blocking out the warmth of the sun.
The Skyline Of Denver
It was about four in the afternoon when I was up there; access to the dome is only granted during daylight so you will really have to get the timing right if you want some sunset shots. This is one of those instances where having a high placed friend would come in really handy. If there was a photographer with a friend that could grant him access to the top of this building after hours that would be awesome. Maybe there is someone that doesn’t personally know a photographer but after reading a post like this could arrange for a photographer to get some night shots from The Colorado Capitol. I’m just saying.
The Skyline Of Denver
For those of you that have been reading my blog over the last half decade, you know that I try to write the way that I talk. It’s not easy because I have no regard for punctuation or AP Style when I speak. I think, I speak, I type and then I read what I’ve typed aloud to myself. That’s how I do up a post, that’s my process. I love Denver and I love Colorado. Any sort of anything that has made me the man I am today has its roots in the centennial state. I was in this landlocked state when I enlisted in the Navy and it was Denver that I returned to after sailing around the world. Cheers!