That's right: I'm proud of my midwest, corn-husking roots. To most, Nebraska is one of those boring fly-over states on the way to somewhere more exciting. But for me and the 3 million people who live there, it's a hidden gem, a treasure trove of amazing people and incredible places.
One of those places is our beloved State Capitol Building--the first state capitol building purposely designed to be drastically different from the greco-roman style of the U.S. Capitol Building.
It isn't just the exterior that captures one's imagination. Inside, the building offers an array of art and artifacts found nowhere else on earth. That's because the imbedded wall paintings and mosaic tiling depict our state's history--all of it. We're talking tens of millions of years worth of history.
(Don't stop reading now--this stuff is fascinating!)
During the late Cretaceous period, the majority of the state was covered by water. Eventually that prehistoric ocean receded, leaving behind its sandy bottom. Overtime, the Sandhills--made famous by our state authors Willa Cather and Mari Sandoz--were born.
To show off this marvelous feat of time and evolution, the creators of the Capitol commissioned artists to include Nebraska's prehistoric creatures into the makeup of the building--literally. Not only do the mosaic tile floors have pictures of Plesiosauria, but the marble used to create the floors contain the fossils of mollusks, ammonites and plankton.
Other artwork within the building depicts the life of Native Americans who once lived and hunted on the plains, as well as the American pioneers who migrated west searching for a better life. With so much history and so much art, it's no wonder I love this place.
Read more tantalizing facts about Nebraska and our State Capitol below:
- Although Nebraska's Capitol Building is a statehouse, Nebraskans don't refer to it as such. In fact, it wasn't until I moved to Washington, D.C. that I learned other states do not refer to their state houses as capitols.
- Nebraska is the only state in the union with a unicameral--that is, a single body of government.
- Construction of the Capitol Building started in 1922 and took 10 years to complete. The cost: nearly $10 million.
- The statue on top of the Capitol is called The Sewer. He stands 19 feet tall and faces Northwest, sewing his seeds over the rest of the state.
- The Capitol is 400 feet tall and boasts 4 outdoor courtyards that are only accessible from inside of the building.
- Today, the building is extremely secure--so secure that one can get locked inside while taking photographs. (um, yeah, that was me. If the good Samaratin who let me out is reading this, thank you! As much as I adore this building, I really didn't want to spend the night there).
Want to see the building for yourself? You can book a tour and learn even more here.