July 6th, 2012 – Harrisburg, PA

Our visit to Harrisburg did not go quite as planned for several reasons.  First, the heat index was 105 or more for the three days we were here.  Second, Leslie was not feeling well.  Third, we had planned on visiting our niece, but she is taking a well deserved vacation in Florida.

We did, however, get to go to the Pennsylvania State Capitol, which is absolutely beautiful. It was designed in 1902 and is often referred to as a “palace of art” because of its many sculptures, murals, and stained-glass windows.  The capitol houses the chambers for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and  Senate, and the Harrisburg chambers for the Supreme and Superior Courts of Pennsylvania, as well as the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.   Joseph Miller Huston designed the current capital which was dedicated in 1906. After its completion, the capitol project was the subject of a graft scandal.  The construction and subsequent furnishing cost three times more than the General Assembly had appropriated for the project (which is not hard to believe if you look at the pictures).  Huston and four others were convicted of bribery in relation to costs of the total project.  The result is outstanding though and if you ever get a chance to go you should.

We got to see the tail end of the Senate session.  They signed a couple of bills and then officially recessed until September 24th (nice vacation).  After we went there, we ate lunch around the corner at Home 231.  The food was very good.  The exciting part is we were seated next to a power lunch.  Some members of the PA Senate (which we had seen on the floor) were meeting with the Peruvian Ambassador to the US and corporate executives.  They discussed all kinds of things about the virtues of Pennsylvania, but we are not sure exactly what they were trying to negotiate.

Here are some pictures of the capital.

 

The dome is modeled after the dome in St. Peter’s Basilica (first picture is looking straight up into the 272 foot dome) and the marble staircase was inspired by the Paris Opera.

 

This is where the House of Representatives meets (the chambers were dark because they were not is session).

 

This is where the Senate meets.  How would you like to work in a place like this?

 

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