Nebraska turns 150: Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln

Editor’s Note: Nebraska celebrates its 150th birthday as a state March 1. As the state observes its sesquicentennial during 2017, we wanted to take a look at Cornhusker state attractions leading up to the celebrations. Our preview of the celebration starts with the state’s capitol – one of only five skyscraper capitol buildings in the United States:

Nebraska at 150

The Nebraska state capitol is one of five skyscraper-style capitols in the United States.

As a native Nebraskan, it took me a long time to visit the state capitol. In all fairness, it took a lot of years for me to finally visit Chimney Rock and Carhenge. I enjoyed each of these attractions. The Nebraska state capitol building may seem plain when compared to others with golden domes or gold trim and expensive chandeliers in the legislative chambers. Nebraskans tend to have a reputation of getting more out of less. Perhaps that is why our capitol was built the way it was.

The capitol building was the first in the nation to depart from the style typically used for state capitols, which were based on the capitol building in Washington, DC – home of the Senate and House of Representatives. the New York firm that designed the Nebraska building opted for an office building style. It was a skyscraper on the prairie.

Nebraska at 150

The Nebraska state capitol.

The Capitol does not offer a lot of areas to tour – the 14th floor observation deck, second floor art work, and the first floor. Other floors are used for office space.

After riding the telephone booth-sized elevator to the 14th floor, the doors opened and a beautiful view of artwork welcomed us. Large murals adorned the walls in a circular fashion. The artwork is beautiful and represents the state’s citizenry.

Nebraska at 150

Interesting elevator.

The view of Lincoln is nice, but the murals are the attraction.

Nebraska at 150

Artwork in the Capital rotunda

The second floor has busts of the Nebraskans named to the state’s Hall of Fame.

Nebraska at 150

Chief Standing Bear

Interesting art work can be found throughout the capitol. Art appears on the ceiling and along the walls. Standing in the rotunda on the first floor, your eye takes in a lot of the beauty.

Nebraska at 150

The artwork is conservative but impressive.

The first floor has the legislative chambers where the 49 state senators meet annually. The Legislature, also referred to as Unicameral (because we have a one-chamber legislature), meets in short and long sessions, alternating years.

Nebraska at 150

The legislative chamber.

 

The outdoor view of the Capitol is nice. I like the sculpture of President Abraham Lincoln on the west side of the building. The grounds are open without any sculpture gardens or other attractions.

Nebraska at 150

Statue of President Lincoln, on the capitol grounds.

For more information on the capitol, including tours, please visit www.capitol.nebraska.gov, www.lincoln.org or www.visitnebraska.com.

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