22 February 2009

Florida capital Inside

When I went through Tallahassee this time, I arrived to find the old State Capitol open for visitors. In 2003 when I came through before, it was not, so this was new, and rather neat. This makes four that I have been in- California, Arizona, South Carolina, and now Florida. The capitol here features the rooms where the state government worked, as well as a museum of Florida history. Seen here is the interior of the capitol dome.
On March 4, 1824, Tallahassee was chosen as the new Florida state capitol, uniting east and west Florida, which had traditionally been governed from St Augustine and Pensacola, respectively. Log buildings housed the government for two years, until a masonry building was built. Seen above is the portrait if Andrew Jackson, the first governor of Florida, that hung behind the desk of the Senate President's desk from 1929 to the 1970's.

In 1839, Congress approved $20,000 for a new capitol building, to replace the unfinished masonry building. On June 25, 1845, Floridians celebrated their home's new status as a state on the steps of the new capitol building. William D. Mosely became the first elected governor of the state. Seen here are Andrew Jackson and William Duval, who suceeded him, becoming the first civilian governor of Florida. These portraits are in the hall of Governor portarits.

In 1891, the building was refurbished, including adding the cupola and bright red and white striped awnings to shade the windows from the bright Florida sun. In 1900, it was decided by voters that a larger facility was needed, and $75,000 was appropriated for the expansion of the capital building. Frank Pierce Milburn designed the new capitol, and although it was much simpler than his usual designs, it included similar features, such as the new dome that was much like those in South Carolina and Kentucky. He also added metal reliefs over the capitol entrances depicting the state seal. When it was all said and done in 1902, this expanded building was the last in which the entire Florida government was under one roof. Within ten years, the Supreme Court was moved to a separate building. Seen above is the restored Supreme Court room in the old capitol.

Robe of one of the Florida Supreme Court Justices

The capitol building went through another change in 1923 under Governor Cary hardee. Henry Klutho, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, had already become well known in Florida for rebuilding Jacksonville following the fire of 1901, and designing the governor's mansion in 1906, before he was given the job of improving the capitol. The last alterations done were the additions of wings for the House of Representatives and Senate in 1936 and 1947 respectively. Seen above is the restored House, and below, the restored Senate room.

These hankerchiefs were traditionally dropped to signal the end of a Senate session.

Original desk from the House of Representatives, before it was moved to the Capitol wing. M. Ohmer's Sons Company of Dayton, Ohio, built all the new furniture for the remodeling of the captol in 1902, including legislators' desks and chairs. they were used in 1903 for the first legislative session to be held in the remodeled capitol building. One hundred sets were purchased, 68 for the house and 32 for the senate. The desks were oak and cost $25.50 each. When the legislative chambers were remodeled again in 1923, the old desks were refurbished. New chairs were purchased for $13.70 apiece. In 1939, when the house moved to a newly constructed wing of the capitol, all new desks and chairs were bought. The old furniture was either sold at auction, given to schools, or acquired by legislators as family heirlooms. This desk and chair set is the only original now in the state's pessession.
The capitol rotunda originally had a spiral staircase, but this was removed in 1923 and the marble stairs seen above were built. In the 1970's, the new state capitol was built, and the old one was going to be torn down, until a public outcry saved the historic building. Now the new capitol wraps around the old capitol building, the central area of which has been around since 1845.
The restored Governor's office
Governor's secretary office
Governor meeting room

And now a collection of artifacts from the various rooms of the capitol.

Who could forget the rediculous fiasco that was the 2000 election? Thanks, Florida.

An old wooden school bench from an African American school.
Flashback to the days of Jim Crow, here is a "colored" restroom door from the Whitfield Building, where the Supreme Court was housed until 1949.

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