A Capitol Idea!

(A detour to Lincoln, Nebraska yields many surprises)

As we headed east, we traveled through the state of Nebraska passing mile upon mile of cornfields—I have never seen so many in my life! No wonder they call Nebraska “The Cornhusker State”’.  After several days camping in state campgrounds in the middle of nowhere, we decided we needed to experience civilization. To solve that problem we booked a site at a family RV resort called Camp a Way, just north of downtown Lincoln, the state capital.
 
Upon arrival in Lincoln, we found a Malaysian restaurant about a mile from the Capitol building called Rendang. The food was wonderful and a pleasant change from the land of hamburgers, french fries, pizza, and chicken wings. My husband had a dry beef curry and I had an everyday staple: Coconut rice with Ayam (chicken). The chicken was very flavorful and I ate the whole thing!
After settling in to our new campground we relaxed until the next morning.  I had read about the beautiful Nebraska State Capitol Building and the artwork inside and wanted to see it for myself.  Tours are held daily on the hour except for noon for free. We packed up the Roge and drove the RV 4 miles south to the downtown area and reached our destination about a half hour early. We knew we wanted a latte and found a coffee shop called Cultiva Coffee nearby. The place was bustling on a Saturday morning, We sipped our drink briefly and returned to our shady parking spot.
 
At 11:00 we met our guide inside the great foyer on the second floor of the Capitol building. She explained to us about how the two previous capitol buildings had been built on the site and  their Nebraska limestone exteriors could not withstand the long term effects of wind,rain, and snow. When the decision was made to build a bigger, better, and stronger building, architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was selected in a national search. He selected thematic consultant Hartley Burr Alexander, sculptor Lee Lawrie, and mosaicist Hildreth Meiere, a newly graduated architecture student to tell the history of Nebraska throughout the building.  The building was constructed over a ten year period and completely self funded-they even built the new building around the old building so nothing would be disrupted!
 
The building stands 14 stories tall and was constructed in Art Deco style. It’s nickname is “The Tower on the Plains”

(A set of bison at the front entrance steps representing the ten Plains Indian tribes of Nebraska are a combination of Art Deco and ancient Persian styles by Lee Lawrie)

I especially loved the carved Honduran mahogany doors by Lee Lawrie and executed by Keats Lorenz at the entrance to the Warner Legislative Chambers.

(I said Nebraskans really live up to being “The Cornhusker State”–check out the details on these door handles!)
 
The main gallery supports beautiful large scale murals showcasing Nebraska history

Ceiling murals by Hildreth Meiere in the Great Hall

Mosaic glass murals designed by Reinhold Marxhausen from 1966
 
I was especially impressed when I was told about Nebraska’s unicameral legislature–non-partisan elected members are elected from each county and totals only 49 members.It was promoted by Senator George Norris and in 1937 and adopted by a statewide referendum. They feel that with no dominant party in the legislature work gets done a whole lot faster— We could all learn from them!

While Hildreth Meiere’s black and white mosaic floors primarily featured scenes from Greek mythology.

The 14 floor features a memorial to WW I veterans and murals painted in 1996 by artist Stephen Roberts celebrates various working trades and historical events.

There is a set of outdoor balconies that allows you to see views of the city for miles.

I had to laugh as even the restrooms are throwbacks to another era

Leaving the Capitol building it was time for lunch. We discovered a wonderful French restaurant called The Green Gateau and enjoyed their Saturday brunch. We even had a slice of their famous green cake for dessert before returning to our campsite at Camp a Way.

The next morning we left  Lincoln and headed southeast to Indian Cave State Park to continue our Safari.

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