Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Did You Know? The Olympia Version

Did you know that the legislative building of the Washington State capitol has the 4th largest masonry dome (meaning there is no internal support- it holds itself) in the world, trumped only by a few basilicas and churches?

Did you know that there are 42 steps leading up to this building because Washington was the 42nd state admitted into the union?

Did you know that the foyer of this building has a time capsule that will be opened in 2076, the tricentennial of our nation, and that I will probably be dead and my son will be old?

Did you know that The rug in the State Reception Room was the largest single loom rug ever made at the time. Or that the curtains were each made by one of six seamstresses from Fredric and Nelson's Department store? Or that if you see our governor on TV, he/she is probably addressing the state from this room.

Did you know that the capitol is made out of Alaskan marble because ships can't sail empty? The ships arriving from Alaska needed ballast to make the journey so they would be loaded down with marble and brought down. The marble would be sold cheaply, the ships loaded with goods and people, and they would sail back to Alaska.
Did you know that every county's flag is displayed in the Rotunda and they are grouped geographically with the northwest counties in the northwest corner and so forth?
Did you know that in ancient times the Greeks used to light huge torches to signify when and where the senate would be meeting? That is why there are 4 huge lamp in the corners of the Rotunda.

Did you know that the chandelier hanging in the Rotunda is 6 1/2 tons (13000 lbs)?
Did you know that they never turn this light off?
Did you know it runs on DC current?
Did you know that they replace all the bulbs every eight to ten years?
Did you know that I didn't see a single energy saving CFL in the capitol?

Did you know that all the chandeliers were made by Tiffany's?

Did you know that the carpet in the House of Representatives chamber has trilliums because they grow on the forest floor, and that the Senate chamber carpet has Dogwoods because they grow on the trees, and that this represents the lower and upper houses?

Did you know that both chambers have all the names of the counties stenciled near the ceiling and that they are grouped east with west to symbolize unity between the two very distinct areas of our state?
Did you know that Washington was originally going to be named Columbia for the river that forms a natural border between Washington and Oregon, but DC called "dibs" on that name.
Did you know that we are both Washington instead?
Did you know that Washington is the only state named after a president?
Did you know that the George Washington statue has a shiny nose because people rub it for good luck, and that keeps the patina from forming?
I did know some of that- because I have a 7th grader who studied Washington State history this year. And now you know it too!


Kat said...

That is some fascinating stuff. I am surprised the light bulbs last that long when they don't use the energy efficient ones...and they keep the light on all the time.

I need to figure out when we are going to do Georgia history...

Homestay Mama said...

I didn't know very much of that at all. Great post!

Gramma 2 Many said...

Interesting to say the least. I was thinking maybe you made a trip down there this week.

Trish said...

very very interesting.

did you you know that I've never seen the state capitol from any closer than the freeway?

hmmmmm, I should go there.

Kris said...

ditto Trish exactly!

FalkFamily said...

That was interesting, and now I'm going to make my boys read your blog!

Lee Ann said...


I keep thinking I need to get a WA state history book. It's weird to me not living in the state where I learned all of the state history. I know/knew nothing! Thanks for filling me in.

Heather said...

I did not know ANY of this!!

Glenda, saved by grace said...

I feel like Ive been to history class. Thanks for the info, very interesting!

bringing up boys said...

Cannyn WILL be homeschooled next year, Bry found out and now he is begging me to school him as well. Don't know if I can, Please pray for this.

Lula! said...

the dome on Georgia's capitol is entirely encased in 24-Karat gold leaf.

Take that.


This was fascinating, Gina. I've never been to Washington, but I now want to go. And I'm glad it's not called Columbia. And I love chandeliers made by Tiffanys. Fab-u-lous.

Elena said...

Hmmmm...I did not know any of that stuff. Thanks for the lesson! :)