Sunday, July 22, 2007

The other Washington

Washington State Legislative Building, seen from the Sunken Garden, West Capitol Campus

Built in 1928 at a cost of $6.7 million, the Legislative Building is comprised of more than 173 million pounds of stone, brick, concrete and steel. It is the fourth tallest masonry dome in the world, rising 287 feet high. At the time, many viewed the building and its furnishings as a "Monument to Extravagance."

Cuspidors costing $47.50 apiece? Outrageous. Or so it seemed in 1928 when silk handkerchiefs sold for a mere 65 cents and women’s girdles could be had for $1.25. Yet Washington had agreed to pay that inflated price for the ornate spittoons to be strategically located around its new state capitol building. No one objected to the spittoons themselves -- every well-equipped office had them at a time when many men, including state legislators, chewed tobacco. It was the price that was shocking.

The dome shifted about an inch during the Nisqually earthquake in February 2001, which along with other damage, required the building to be closed for repair for three years. During that time, the state legislature met in temporary structures and other nearby buildings. Lobbyists were sometimes reduced to operating out of tents.


Lothiane said...

Oh, seems like a very nice garden! I've never been there, but of course seen the building on TV.

Anonymous said...

It is a nice garden! You might have seen this building on TV, but I bet you are thinking of this one in Washington, DC rather than the one in Olympia, Washington -- on the West Coast. They do look a lot alike, though!

Lothiane said...

haha, you're probably right! I didn't think. :) They do look a lot alike, though. :)

Olympia... the capital of Washington state, right?! I tried learning all the US states and capitals a while back. I still remember some. ;)

Peony said...

Good for people to know.