Monday, March 19, 2012

Mrs. Cleveland visits the Nation's Capitol

On Tuesday March 13th, I had the opportunity to travel to the Nation's Capitol for a tour of the Capitol Building as well as a chance to meet our US Senator Saxby Chambliss. 
It was an amazing opportunity! 

 I must admit to getting lost on my way to meet Senator Chambliss. I could not get my email with the directions to pull up that morning. So I started off at the Capitol visitor center, where the security guards were nice, but not much of a help. Then I decided to go up to the gallery entrance to ask them if they could help me. The very nice supervisor called over to Senator Chambliss' office and let me talk to them. When the person who answered the phone told me where I needed to be and I asked how to get there, the supervisor said, "Oh don't worry, I will get you there!" Then she took me down the hall to the train station, and put me on a train to the Russell Building. What I didn't realize until I was trying to get back to the visitor's center, is that this is not a normal thing to have happen. If I had realized it at the time I would have taken pictures. Oh well. 
This is the view from Senator Chambliss' office in the Russel Building.

As one of the interns was taking me down to where Senator Chambliss and Jordan were taking pictures, they came off the elevator. Senator Chambliss could not have been any nicer, saying that they were worried about me, and taking pictures with Jeffery the Tiger and I.
When I left Senator Chambliss' office I went down to see the Russell Building Rotunda and the statue of Senator Russell from Warner Robins, who Russell Parkway, and the Russell Building are both named after. 

This is the ceiling of the Russell Building Rotunda. 
After leaving the rotunda I attempted to walk back down to the subway train to go back to the Capitol Building. This is where I was informed that a tourist, can not just do this. However the nice security people did allow me to take a picture of the antique train car that was in use until 1961. 

After I returned to the Capitol Building Visitor Center, I had a very good lunch in the restaurant. I recommend the Cesar Chicken Salad Wrap. :-)

Once on my tour I learned a lot of things about the Capitol, that I did not already know. 

The white marble on the floor in the rotunda of the Capitol Building is where President's  and other important people's bodies lie in State.
The Fresco on the Rotunda was done by an Italian outlaw, I wish I could remember his name, and I know I can look it up (and will to tell the story to my students) but I will let you do some of the work for yourselves!
The painter of the Fresco from the ceiling, started the painting around the next level, and passed away prior to getting about 1/2 way around. The next painter worked for a while, got into a fight with Congress about his pay, and quit, but only after painting his face into one of the trees. The final segments of the painting were done after the Wright Brother's first flight and that scene is included. 

The next stop on our tour is the room where Congress first met when the Capitol was built. On the floor are plaques commemorating the seat that Presidents sat in while they were a member of the House. Example: Abraham Lincoln:

Also in this room we were shown where John Q. Adams sat, it is said he had exceptional hearing. In truth the construction of the room allowed him to hear everything from all areas of the room. :-)

In the Crypt directly underneath the marble spot from above is a marble star. It is here where George Washington's body was supposed to have been moved to, however the Washington Family refused to have his body removed from Mt. Vernon after the Capitol was ready. The saying goes all who touch the star will have good luck. 
Speaker's Office
In the Capitol each state is allowed 2 statues. The placement of these statues as well as the subject of them is quite political. Eisenhower and Regan are both in the Rotunda. 

The Helen Keller statue is the first child, and the first disabled person. 
The Rosa Parks statue was scheduled to already be in the Capitol, but is running behind schedule. 
The Robert E. Lee statue is the most debated statue in the Capitol. 

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