There was a building that was absent from my recent post of downtown Indianapolis architecture, despite the fact that it is just around the corner from where I work. However, I felt that the Indiana Statehouse deserved a post of it’s own. There’s simply too much of interest to look at. This post will show you a few highlights of this stately old structure.
In 1816, the capitol of Indiana was in Corydon, Indiana. That made perfect sense, as most of Indiana was untamed woods and swamp without one trail bisecting it when it became a state. The Ohio river was the highway at that time, and it was natural that the state capitol would be on that waterway. It wasn’t until 1824 that the barely settled Indianapolis became the seat of Indiana government, and not until 1831 that a new capitol building was approved for construction.
A one hundred and fifty dollar prize went to the architect whose design was chosen for the new statehouse, and the firm of Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis won the prize for their structure based on the Greek Parthenon with an added dome. You can see the Greek influence throughout the ornamentation of the building.
Did I mention that the building designed by Ithiel and Davis is not the one you’re looking at? Nope. That one fell into a terrible state of disrepair, and before a bunch of politicians could decide what to do with it, it was condemned and abandoned. What you are looking at is actually the fourth statehouse. In 1887, before it was even completed, Indiana government moved into the statehouse we are looking at today.
I love looking at this building. It seems that every time I visit, I see something new, something before unnoticed.
Statues surround the grounds,
and the grounds themselves are lovely with stately old native trees and veritable herds of rosebushes.
Today, during my short lunch break, (and isn’t it lovely to be working again for a place that not only provides breaks and lunches, but insists that you take them!) I hustled my butt over to the capitol so that I could take a peek inside. I haven’t been inside the statehouse since I was in high school. After going through a metal detector looked over by two lovely and friendly women, I had a brief tour of the basement, and found my way to the second floor. It was every bit as intricately and yes, even garishly decorated as I remembered it. So, of course, I love it!
A peek at the giant skylight,
and an ornate column,
Then you find yourself under the dome. You slowly look up and up. Then, voila!
I cannot begin to do justice to that huge, stained glass window with a simple snapshot. You should go. If you are anywhere near Indianapolis, you should go and experience this enchanting piece of art. Don’t be like me. Don’t wait ages and ages. Go now!
I’ll leave you with a few extra images to show you how serious I am about you seeing this place for yourselves.