Since we are close to Topeka and we like check out state capitol building we made a daytrip to towns. The Capitol was completed in 1903 and is actually 17 feet taller than the Nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 this is one of the most interesting buildings we have visited. We parked in the parking garage under the capitol (free for two hours) and entered the ground floor lobby. This appears to have originally been the basement as the columns of local limestone blocks gives the feel of being in a cave with a secret passageway.
At the visitor desk we received a brochure to do the self paced tour and wandered throughout the unique, ornate structure. Murals and art were scattered throughout the building and the building had more copper inside than any building we have ever seen Copper banisters, columns and staircases were everywhere. Some historical perspectives are given and we even found it interesting that both Clyde Cessna and Amelia Earhart were notable Kansans.
After we completed our tour together I wanted to do the Dome Tour, a guided tour which takes visitors up a winding staircase treating them to spectacular, breathtaking views to the top of the dome. Upon hearing the tour would be 296 steps up skinny, see-through staircases Sharon opted to forgo the tour because of her fear of heights. She decided instead to take a walk all the way around the exterior to see the sculptures located at each corner around the structure.
It really is an exciting climb to the top. The tour required us to climb all the the 296 steps with several stops at various levels to listen to information from our tour guide. If you look at the above right photo you will see the stairs going pretty much straight up from where the people are standing. You can also see people standing at the next level above them. At each level a few people would decide they didn’t want to go any further due to their acrophobia (fear of heights).
As we reached the mid-point we were treated to views above the inside dome (photo above left)and underneath the outside dome (photo above right). The last set of steps took us up to a tight spiral staircase and eventually through a door to the cupola. We were finally outside and most of us were glad since it is rather warm inside the dome!
The cupola is just below the statue at the top of the dome which is a Kanza Indian warrior. If you look closely at the photo below and left of the top of the capitol building you can see a hand rail with a door behind it. That is the cupola we walked around to see the city. As I said before it was pretty exhilarating. I even attempted a selfie (below center) to record my experience…
What a great 360 degree perspective I had at the top of the city of Topeka. After walking all around the top we were allowed to descend at our own pace. I went down rather quickly because the inner areas are quite hot with all that glass and copper on the top dome. After finding Sharon we headed over to the Blind Tiger Brewery where we each enjoyed a nice craft beer.
At the brewery a few locals told us about the first Friday art walk in the NOTO Arts district of town. So we drove over to check it out and wandered around several of the galleries before we heard some live music that we decided to check out. What a find this turned out to be as there was not only a great sounding band, but also free grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies and craft beer – yes entirely FREE!!! We stayed for a while before returning to the lake discussing how we really, really enjoyed our day in Topeka.
NOTE: Next up is a day trip to Kansas City Missouri. We have traveled a short distance to the Prairie Band Casino & Resort RV Park where we will stay one day to do laundry and enjoy full hookups for a change…