May 14, 2009

Westward, Ho! Nebraska State Capitol Building

Posted in Look tagged , , at 10:17 am by onetinyacorn

Lincoln, Nebraska holds some hidden gems: it boasts museums for both roller skating and quilts, public gardens, and the nation’s first vernacular state capitol building. It was filled rich mosaics, symbols, and intricate details.

There are stories behind every mosaic, of course. The most compelling one accompanies “The Blizzard of 1888” (middle photo): a huge blizzard suddenly engulfed the plains; schoolchildren had gone to school one relatively warm day, but by 3 p.m., the temperature had dropped drastically. Their teacher, Minnie Freeman, decided it was safest to keep them at the school–until the roof caved in. She tied a rope around each of the 13 children’s waists, and walked them all to safety. On a day when 235 people died, all of the children in her care lived. The golden line in the mosaic represents the rope.

Other Things I Learned:

* Nebraska has the only unicameral legislature

* Before they can vote on a bill, it must be read in full. The result is a rapid, indiscernible mumbling the likes of which I haven’t witnessed since high school teachers forced the most incorrigible students in our class to read aloud from textbooks.

May 12, 2009

Westward, Ho! Iowa State Capitol Building

Posted in Look tagged , , at 10:33 pm by onetinyacorn

My husband and I, as political science and art/architecture junkies (respectively), have decided to tour every state capitol building. Our first of this trip was in Des Moines, Iowa, where a 23-karat gold dome awaited us.

It was regal and ornate. To further augment Iowa’s newfound image in the U.S. as a progressive state, I learned that it banned segregation in schools a full 85 years before Brown v. Board of Education. They also ruled against racial discrimination in public accomodations 91 years before the Supreme Court, and in 1847, the University of Iowa was the first public university to admit men and women on an equal basis. Iowa: who knew?

The state continued to beckon to us with other roadside delights, but we determined to press on, into Nebraska.

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