After a great lunch we were off to explore Jefferson City, MO. It was a Sunday, so unfortunately we were unable to tour the Governor's Mansion but we decided to at least view the outside. From there we headed to the Missouri State Capitol, which not only was open, but we were also able to tour both their museum and join a tour guide on a tour of the capitol....what a treat.
The museum was a nice small museum covering local Missouri history. The real gem of the day, however, was the Capitol tour. The Capitol, is the fourth capitol in the state, the other 3 being lost to fires. In 1911 Missourians approved a $3.5 million bond to build a capitol building, much larger that could also withstand fires. On completion in 1918, there was a $1.1 million surplus. The Attorney General deemed that because the Bond was for Capitol construction, the surplus had to be used on the Capitol. A decorating committee was formed and the committee went on a $1.1 Million fine arts shopping spree! The art is from all over the world. Much was completed overseas and then shipped and installed by others. Several paintings were termed paintings of illusion. If you walk while looking at the painting, the vision transforms. We show one these paintings below (showing a photo taken standing at the left of the painting and then another taken standing at the right of the painting).
The third floor contained the Missouri Hall of Fame. Originally, each year the Speaker of the House would choose one individual tied to Missouri history/culture to have their bonze bust included on this floor. That decision now rests yearly with Missourians. We chose one bust to be included in this blog, that of Emmet Kelly.
Our favorite part of the entire Capitol tour, however, was the Benton murals. These murals created quite a stir at completion. Benton was contracted in the early 30's to do a social history of Missouri on the walls of this Capitol room. Many expected to see famous Missourians, war heroes and such, and they expected to see the dull colors of the other art work in the Capitol. What they got at the Mural's completion, was so far from these things. Benton showed outlaws like Jesse James, social issues like slavery and also the political boss Tom Pendergast. Some were so outraged they wanted the mural removed. Benton, who spent almost 2 years researching before he began painting, responded by saying you asked for the social history not a war memorial or hero's memorial. The pictures below go around the room, and are time sequenced. Above the doors are famous stories or events (Tom Sawyer, Jesse James, Frankie and Johnny). Around the doorways there is a symmetry (sorry hard to see in the pics). We so loved his works that we included almost the entire room. What wonderful research and art in 1935! This was such a gem to see, and we believe was the highlight of our trip to the Lake of the Ozarks area. Please explore the link further to see what we so enjoyed. Benton Murals
In the Capitol, we also visited the House of Representatives. We had a Boy Scout troop with us on our tour. It was fun to hear their (uncensored) questions. Like, do fights ever break out on the floor? Or isn't it strange that the Republicans sit on the left instead of on the right? We don't remember many more of their their questions, but what we heard, was fun to hear.