Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

The Wisconsin State Capitol, Revisited

September 24, 2019

Last year I posted photographs of the Wisconsin State Capitol building, dividing the photos over two days. Returning to Madison this August, I was again enthralled with the beauty and majesty of this edifice. Some friends say they are made uncomfortable by the richness of this structure and think about how taxpayers were made to fund its original construction as well as its renovation. I see their point, but I’m still seduced. I ease my guilty pleasure with the thought that all this magnificence belongs to the people of Wisconsin. That has to count for something. I am loading this blog post with 21 photographs. Don’t feel you have to look at them all. I will tell you, though, that the last one is pretty cute. For those of you not familiar with such things as official state animals in the U.S., I’ll point out that the creature depicted is a badger.






















29 responses

  1. You are right. The last one is striking, considering the locale.


    September 24, 2019 at 9:27 PM

    • I was kind of surprised, seeing him enshrined like that. Thanks for your comment, Lynda.


      September 24, 2019 at 9:40 PM

  2. tamara

    As we said during the 2011 protests: Whose house? OUR HOUSE! I am in this building often. Your photos show it to me anew every time. Thank you!


    September 24, 2019 at 10:11 PM

    • You’re welcome, Tamara. And thank you. I think I have at least one more trip there in me.


      September 25, 2019 at 8:11 PM

  3. Living in Minnesota for many years near the border, I spent a lot of time in Wisconsin but I never got to visit Madison. But I have many friends from Madison and they all tell me what a great city it is. This Capitol building is gorgeous and reminds me of the Capitol building in St. Paul, I think constructed in the same general time period. Great shots, Linda. I’ll bet you had a good time while you were there.


    September 24, 2019 at 10:40 PM

    • Thanks, Ken. I did have a good time. There’s more to be seen on higher floors. Next time.


      September 25, 2019 at 8:12 PM

  4. You did an effective job conveying the opulence and solidity.


    September 24, 2019 at 10:55 PM

    • Thanks, Steve. No way could we build a building like this now. What craftsmanship is displayed.


      September 25, 2019 at 8:14 PM

  5. It is a matter of balance between how much tax money benefits the community and how much is spent on the glory of the elite who have the power to determine what is done with that money. I think this capitol building is way out of balance… You captured that very well. 🙂 And the badger also looks a bit like a rat to me..


    September 25, 2019 at 3:38 AM

  6. They don’t build ’em like that any more. So much skill and craft went into a building like that and thank you for appreciating and sharing that. That badger is much cuter than one might experience coming across one in the wild.


    September 25, 2019 at 3:38 AM

    • Thanks for your comment, Steve. I do appreciate the craftsmanship and artistic skill that it took to create this building. At the same time, I am heedful of Harrie’s point of view.


      September 25, 2019 at 8:19 PM

      • Throughout history the more well-off have determined how money is to be spent. We see now, as we always have, a movement toward economic equality. Things are more scrutinized today but still the elite have the most control over such things. So I agree with Harrie also. But, the times were different back then and such things were looked upon with more pride so I don’t judge the past, in these types of things, by today’s awareness.To be sure there were terrible injustices back then, but at least buildings like this were “public” and so much else was tied to personal aggrandizement.


        September 26, 2019 at 3:07 AM

  7. Doors and arches…some of my favorite things!


    September 25, 2019 at 8:18 AM

    • And I’m sure I haven’t photographed them all. Thanks for commenting, Clare.


      September 25, 2019 at 8:22 PM

  8. Porter, Laurence Marjorie

    I love the borrowed European grandeur of the building, and the American whimsy of the badger! And it seems to my old crotchety self that wealth was once more likely to be invested in art and architecture than it is today. (Taxes used to be more progressive, too, with more money coming from the rich.)



    September 25, 2019 at 9:11 AM

    • I hadn’t thought of the building’s being influenced by “European grandeur” or the badger’s being an American touch, but you would know such things. Thanks for sharing your insight here. It would be interesting to know whether wealth was more invested in art and architecture in the past or whether—particularly regarding architecture—construction materials’ increased cost accounts for less apparent investment these days.


      September 25, 2019 at 8:30 PM

  9. Far be it from me to complain about too many pictures in a post. 😉 Harrie’s comments were interesting – having spent a fun afternoon with him, I think I know where he’s coming from. But what’s done is done, and one might as well enjoy it. I like the way you begin the “tour” with doors and end with the badger. Overall, experiencing the building reminds me of so many in Manhattan – and the outer boroughs, too – that I passed through over the years. In fact, #7 reminds me a bit of a subway passage, but a glorified one, or one of the passageways in Grand Central Terminal. Numbers 17-20 are my favorites, just for the grandeur. 🙂


    September 26, 2019 at 6:30 PM

    • Thank you, Lynn. In your comment I especially appreciate “what’s done is done, and one might as well enjoy it.” Who knows but that many local craftspersons and other workers were involved in building the capitol. Maybe one can think of it the way we think of France’s Notre Dame, which is said to have been built by its parishioners, making it a structure “owned” by many. . . . I enjoy sequencing the photographs in the blog posts. It’s fun to think of what goes next to what. I always spend extra time choosing which photo goes first and which goes last. (I think you do that, too.)


      September 26, 2019 at 8:42 PM

  10. Patricia

    I appreciate the artisan craftsmanship and the beauty of design you’ve captured along with the elegance and grandeur of days past. I would like to think that the uplifting possibilities of this public building count for something. Patricia


    September 26, 2019 at 8:13 PM

    • I’m with you, Patricia. It is such a grand feeling to walk around this building. Everywhere I look has something to marvel at. And yes, I feel uplifted. I like to think of myself as a true appreciator of nature, but I also am in awe of the beauty that humans can create.


      September 26, 2019 at 8:48 PM

  11. I agree — what’s done is done. And the many people worked on it got two forms of pay: money and the pride of a job well done.

    Speaking of which, you could teach a course on composition. Really.


    September 26, 2019 at 11:21 PM

    • I hope the workers—older and more recent—were able to spend some time in the completed building, and I hope they were as proud as can be. Thanks for the compliment about composition, Michael; it’s very generous of you. Other than passing along the old one-third, one-third rule, I’m not sure I could teach such a course, though, since mostly I just fuss around until something looks right.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 27, 2019 at 2:49 PM

  12. Absolutely wonderful set of images, my friend. I very much like 4, 5, 7 and 14; but 8, 10 and 11 are ohhhhh!!!!!!!!! A 🙂


    September 27, 2019 at 3:08 AM

    • Thank you, Adrian. I’m glad you enjoy these. Concerning #s 8, 10, and 11: I think I have a thing for stairs.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 27, 2019 at 2:53 PM

  13. I’ve liked your previous groups of photos of historic interiors and this is good addition. These are strong straightforward photographs of a beautiful old building. Gorgeous light and line.


    September 28, 2019 at 10:26 AM

    • Thank you, John. It feels like such a privilege to even be in that building, let alone be in it without paying to be there and be able to take photographs.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 28, 2019 at 10:29 AM

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