Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Looking Up in the Capitol Building

September 14, 2018

The Wisconsin State Capitol, in Madison, is so beautiful as to be overwhelming. I took the photos in this first batch (there’ll be another in 10 days) looking up.






19 responses

  1. Beautiful building, I was reading some history of the place and its suffering during the 1960’s & early 70’s. What was wrong with people then ? we have the same problem here in UK, so much was ‘modernised’ but ended up being detrimental to lovely old buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 14, 2018 at 8:43 AM

    • It’s hard to imagine what people were thinking about historic buildings back then, isn’t it. I’m glad the people of Wisconsin saw the error of their ways in time to make restoration possible.

      Liked by 2 people

      September 14, 2018 at 1:09 PM

      • Anonymous

        The primary thing they were thinking of was cost. Whereas the (third) Capitol was completed in 1917 at a total — TOTAL — cost of $7.2 million, total renovation of the four wings, including all of the various chambers (and replacing, for example, some carpeting from the original manufacturers!) and the rotunda, then “blasting” the exterior with pumice impregnated bits of sponge and regilding the statue atop the dome with thousands of 3 inch square sheets of gold (and replacing several of her fingers that had been shot off and filling other bullet holes!), was completed between 1988, beginning with a “pilot” program, and concluding in 2001 at a total cost of $145 million! — 20 times the original cost. Fortunately, nearly all of the earlier “renovations” had consisted of covering up things rather than tearing them out, so restoration was not impossible. (Some shortcuts were necessitated by cost: an original plan had been to replace the somewhat badly work doorknobs, which are cast as models of the state seal. The cost of replacement, however, exceeded several millions, so the decision was made to remove and “restore” them and rearrange them so that the most worn ones were replaced with the least worn ones from around the entire building. Working just across Carroll Street from the capitol with the charming and talented Tamara Packard, I had ample opportunity to observe the renovation through its years of progress.


        September 15, 2018 at 12:42 AM

        • What an interesting story, L . . ., er, Anonymous. Thank you for this contribution, including the mention of your lovely coworker.


          September 15, 2018 at 9:52 PM

  2. Porter, Laurence

    breathtaking, Linda! Thank you!



    September 14, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    • You’re welcome, Marjorie. It was so much fun walking around and finding compositions.


      September 14, 2018 at 1:11 PM

  3. Beautiful pictures, Linda, but this place is far too ornate for my tastes – haha! not that my tastes are anything like the norm!!! – my favourite images here are the final two, which are relatively simple and really beautiful. Adrian


    September 15, 2018 at 5:57 AM

    • Thanks, Adrian. If I were to walk into a recently constructed building that was this ornate, I would probably be disgusted. (Trump Tower springs to mind—though I’ve only seen it from the outside.) But I guess I see this in historical context and just marvel.


      September 15, 2018 at 9:48 PM

  4. Porter, Laurence


    I agree with Marjorie’s “Breathtaking.”

    Madison is one of my favorite places,

    especially to walk around the lake and

    to walk up the hill to that capitol building.

    Thank you for bringing back those memories.

    Larry Porter



    September 15, 2018 at 9:40 PM

    • Thanks, Larry. I’m happy to bring back good memories.


      September 15, 2018 at 9:49 PM

  5. I too have great admiration for the care and detail that went into places like this – glad they were able to renovate it. I immediately think of Grand Central, of course, and all the years I walked through there when the ceiling was messed up, then the gorgeous redo. Your photos do it justice. I like the angles you chose, and those colors – aren’t they wonderful? Anyone for salmon, aqua, gold and gray? That’s my summary of the stained glass window in the last photo. Also the shades of blue & green used in the mosaic in the first photo – so un-Microsoft! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2018 at 5:26 PM

  6. Thank you, Lynn. There is so much to love about this building. I say that self-consciously, keeping Adrian’s comment in mind. Yes, ornate. But maybe more to the point: expensive. Was this building ever a luxury people could really afford? How much food and health care could have been distributed with the money that went into the original construction and the renovation? On the other hand, how much nurturing of the soul is achieved by being in the presence of this magnificent edifice? We do not live by bread alone . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2018 at 8:22 PM

  7. Beautiful architectural images Linda. That first one is thrilling – a really satisfying photograph.


    September 21, 2018 at 11:22 AM

    • Thank you, John. I was a bit surprised at what resulted from just walking around shooting hand-held.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 21, 2018 at 1:19 PM

  8. ag

    Look forward to the day when a new Wisconsin governor can enjoy its gorgeous capitol 🙂


    September 21, 2018 at 11:16 PM

  9. Patricia

    I just saw all these and the comments. Yes, what a gorgeous, ornate, old-world building. My first thought was that this could be somewhere in Europe, which may have been behind the thoughts of the original builders–as in “we can do this too”. It is a glorification of architecture of days gone by and breathtaking in its beauty. Thankfully there were those who saw value in preserving it. Thank you for sharing.


    October 18, 2018 at 9:48 AM

    • You’re welcome, and thank you, Patricia. I’ll be going back here for more next year, to be dropped off and wander some more. I’m sure there is much I have missed.


      October 18, 2018 at 10:09 AM

It's a pleasure to read your comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.