Ottawa – July 2019 – Capital Views

As the Capital of Canada, Ottawa has a number of historic government buildings. With their longstanding connection to England, they tend to have a similar look to those in London.

The majority of the buildings are located on Parliament Hill.



The large Central Block (right with clock tower) has just started undergoing a 10 year restoration.




They offer tours of the House of Commons. With the Central Block under construction they enclosed this former courtyard to make it the new meeting chamber.

One interesting fact – the seats are green because the seats in London’s House of Commons is green. Why is England’s green – nobody knows.






A committee room.



Many other buildings in the city have the same look.



The Canadian Supreme Court.


Another government building on Parliament Hill.



The Canadian Mint.





The entrance to the Prime Minister’s Residence.



The Canadian History Museum across the river in Gatineau, Quebec.







The Alexandra Bridge.







The famed Rideau Canal.











The Rideau Falls.



Our day in Ottawa ended with an impressive light and sound show, detailing the patriotic history of Canada.





Buenos Aires – June 2019 – A Walk Down the Avenida de Mayo

Of all the important streets in Buenos Aires, none is above Avenida de Mayo, May Avenue. Named in honor of the May Revolution of 1810 that lead to the Argentine independence, the street takes you from the Plaza of Congress to the Presidential Palace.

The Congressional Building graces the far end of the plaza.





The plaza has a massive fountain and a collection of statues.



The view from the plaza looking down Avenida de Mayo.



The Confiteria El Molino, an Art Noveau coffee house was completed in 1917. All of the marble, ceramics an glass was imported from Italy.

The windmill was in honor of the Molino Lorea, the first flour mill in Buenos Aires.



Across the plaza is the Senate Building.



Most of the buildings along the street have character.






None have more character than the Palacio Barolo. Once South America’s tallest building, the entire structure is an ode to Dante’s Divine Comedy.

The height of one hundred meters corresponds to the one hundred cantos of the story. There are nine access points within the building, representing nine circles and nine hierarchies of Hell.

The 22 floors of the building reflect the number of stanzas in the poem. Even moving up the building takes one through hell, purgatory and paradise.

The building is a beautiful masterpiece.







This relatively plain, Spanish mission looking building is the Cabildo. It was used as the center of government during the colonial era. Since 1610 there has been a government building on this site, with this one dating from the late 1700s.



The Piramide de Mayo, or May Pyramid, was originally constructed in 1811 in celebration of the revolution. It was renovated in the 1860s.



During the ‘Dirty War’ of the 1970s dictatorship in Argentina, up to 30,000 people ‘disappeared’, without a trace, including many children. During this time 3 people together was considered a mass assembly, with possible arrest.

Beginning in 1977 women began together in the plaza in public defiance of the ban on public gatherings, they wore white head scarves to symbolize the diapers of the ‘lost’ children. This is memorialized in the pavement of the plaza.

Many of the children taken were given to families of those in power, and raised as their own. To this day the ‘Mothers of the Mayo Plaza’ continue to pursue to reunification of the now older adults to their rightful families.




The Casa Rosada (Pink House), is the office of the President. While it is officially the Presidential Home, in reality the president lives elsewhere in Buenos Aires.



Soldiers from the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers march from the Palace every few hours.



The Metropolitan Cathedral is the state church for Argentina. Before he became Pope, Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in this cathedral.



The interior is impressive.






The tomb of General San Martin is located in the Cathedral. As the Father of the Nation of Argentina, he is honored with guards.

Argentina at times has had a volatile history, but they seem to make sure all aspects are remembered, and the Avenida de Mayo is the best way to understand what makes up Argentina of today, by understanding their past.



Frankfort, Kentucky – May 2019 – A Small Capital City

Even though Kentucky is middle of the pack in terms of states by population , their capital city Frankfort is the 4th smallest of all. There are less than 30,000 people in the city.



For the most part it feels like any other small town. They have a small downtown business district.



Interestingly there is a freight rail line going down the middle of main street.



The town is quite old – it was established in 1786.



There are a few restaurants and coffee shops in town.



In the center of town is the Old Kentucky State Capitol. It was completed in 1830 and used until 1910 as the Capitol.


William Goebel was elected governor in 1900, and served for 4 days before being assassinated. He was known for being a deal maker, and a deal breaker.

He had gained so many enemies that he walked with bodyguards, but to no avail – On January 30, 1900 shots fired from the state capitol building – leading to chaos in the Kentucky state government. He died 4 days later.



As you drive around town you see an interesting mix of old and new, with nearly all the new being the government buildings.



The lampposts have banners celebrating famous Kentuckians – while Johnny Depp was born in Kentucky he was raised elsewhere



We are in Kentucky so we need to celebrate horse racing.



Much like many of the state government buildings, the county courthouse is modern as well.



The original state arsenal however, is not. It dates from 1850 and now serves as a military museum.



Across the river and up a hill is the ‘new’ state capitol grounds. Included here is the Governor’s Mansion – which in it’s Beaux Arts style bears a strong resemblance to the White House.


The new capitol building was completed in 1910.



The grounds look back down upon the town.


An additional annex building is located behind the capitol.


One of the most famous attractions is the floral clock that spells out Kentucky – although without a rise to view it from above it is tricky to see.

Frankfort seems an unusual place to have the state capitol, but politics often leads to unusual deals.




Columbus – August 2018 – Make Your Own Tour

While reading online for something to do I read that there was going to be a tour of the Ohio Statehouse grounds, focusing on the sculptures and landscaping. It was to occur at 10 AM on a Sunday morning.

We arrived 10 minutes early, and waited until 10:15 and nobody showed up, so we decided to make our own tour.

We started along State Street on the south end of the grounds.

 

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From here we had a nice view of the classic Ohio Theater as well as the flower beds along the entryways.

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The statues flanking the McKinley statue are known as ‘Peace and Prosperity’.

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While McKinley towers over the west entrance to the grounds.

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The other side of ‘Peace and Prosperity’

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Even the lamp posts are stylish.

 

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There is a statue of a ‘Doughboy’ from World War I – this is the plaque beneath the statue.

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The north entrance features a statue called ‘Peace’, with floral beds.

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The sundial was added by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1932.

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A second look from the south entrance across the grounds to the Huntington Bank Building.

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While the northeast view from this vantage point looks towards the Statehouse, Senate building and PNC Bank Building. Clearly banks like to overlook the government buildings.

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Christopher Columbus (with yet another bank building in the background)

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Some of the famed Ohioans on the statue ‘These Are My Jewels’.

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This statue is topped with Cornelia, a wealthy and respected Roman woman who when asked where her jewels were – pointed to her sons.

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The back entrance to the Senate building.

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Fountains in front of a World War II memorial wall. It seems almost all of the statues on the grounds have to do with war, or the hope for peace.

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The grounds are fairly open to the streets, this fencing is decorative to protect the landscaping. We didn’t have a formal tour – but had a nice morning wandering the grounds with nobody else around.

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Harrisburg, PA – May 2018 – Pennsylvania State Capital

In our travels we have seen half of the state capitals in America without really trying. Amazingly we had not seen the Pennsylvania state capital, despite having lived in that state for many years. Since we were in the area we stopped by.

We were immediately blown away by how ornate the interior is.

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The walls and ceilings have decoration throughout, with stained glass and other impressive features.

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The rotunda has medallions and lunettes.

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The chambers are equally ornate.

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The rotunda has an amazing ceiling. Who knew Pennsylvania had such an amazing capital.

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