Des Moines, Iowa

The Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa reminds me of a palace.  The building is crowned by a dome covered with sheets of 23 carat gold.  The sheets are so thin, it would take 250,000 of them to measure one inch.  The building was completed in 1886.

There are 50 members in the Senate.  The Senate Chamber has undergone few changes since first constructed. The ceilings in the Senate Chamber are beautifully painted. The chandeliers, imported from France, are original and were equipped with gas lines. They are made of hand-crafted brass and each weighs 500 pounds. The desks, used by senators during the session, are original.

There are 100 members in the House.  Extensive damage was done to the House Chamber during the 1904 fire.  After the fire, the entire ceiling, stained glass, and chandeliers had to be replaced.  Representatives are elected for two years while Senators are elected for four.


The bench in the Supreme Court Chamber is made of Santo Domingo mahogany and was carved by William Metzger.




The law library features four ornamental balconies with spiraled cast-iron railings and circular staircases at each end.  It was stunning!


A model of the battleship USS Iowa is on display in the west wing. The model is 18 feet 7 inches long and weighs approximately 1,350 pounds. It is on loan from the U.S. Navy Department.IMG_7802

Six mosaics in arched panels are located on the east side of the Capitol’s third floor. The mosaics were made in Venice, Italy, out of tiles of glass. Frederick Dielman of New York created the mosaics, installing them at the Capitol in 1908. The mosaics depict Defense, Charities, Education, and the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government. Dielman was paid $10,000 to create this work of art, the last artwork to be installed in the Capitol.

Since the early 1920s, a large banner has been suspended high in the dome on wire. The banner is the emblem of the Grand Army of the Republic.  We were able to go up inside the dome.  This is a first for us.  We climbed the 91 steps.  The last few were so steep they were like a ladder.

We stayed at Cuddy’s Des Moines Campground.  We stayed there with our Coast to Coast Membership so it was $10 a night.  Marcus and I walked around the lake several mornings and Caroline and her dad went fishing.  They saw lots of fish, but didn’t catch any.  We went on two bike rides in the area.  They are many miles of bike trails in the Des Moines area.  We even saw a couple deer on one of our rides.

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One thought on “Des Moines, Iowa

  1. Y

    So beautiful…we are days behind but going up to Toronto then across Canada to Newfoundland. Then we will go south. We will meet up. Yvonne and Steve
    Tell Marcus we went hru the Lego at the Mall of America…learnt it from him…his love of Legos, Yvonne

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