Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday in Wyoming -- December 19, 2012

'Tis the season for Christmas lights, and that includes Wyoming's state capitol. 

While I was doing research for Waiting for Spring, I became impressed with the city planners' foresight when they constructed the capitol.  The site itself is two city blocks wide.  Although they could have located the building anywhere within those blocks, the original designers positioned the building right in the middle where Hill Street would have come through.  (As a sidenote, once the cornerstone was laid, Hill Street was renamed Capitol Avenue.)  This location meant that when people disembarked from the train and looked north, they couldn't miss the capitol with its gold dome.  I'm sure that was deliberate.  It might even have been an attempt to upstage Union Pacific with its newly constructed red sandstone depot.

The wisdom in reserving two blocks became apparent when, soon after the fairly modest capitol was completed, the legislators realized they needed more space.  Two wings, one on each side, were soon under construction.  And a few decades later, two more wings were added.  The beauty was that in each case, the symmetry of the building could be continued because of the original positioning of the building. 

It's been 125 years, but Wyoming's territorial capitol, now its state capitol, still stands in the center of Cheyenne, welcoming visitors as well as legislators.  If you're ever in Cheyenne, don't miss it.

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