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Wyoming's elegant capitol gleams again.

The gleaming gold ball atop Wyoming's capitol dome in Cheyenne shines once more, its gold leaf just one of recent renovations at the statehouse. On a free self-guided tour, you can see the results throughout this elegant neoclassical structure. The grand sandstone building, designed and funded in the late 18OOs-a time when Wyoming was flush with cattle industry riches-reflects prosperity and optimism. (Ironically, by the time the building opened in 1888, a devastating winter had wiped out a third of the state's cattle.) The main section and wings added later make it rank as one of Wyoming's handsomest structures.

Inside, magnificent woodwork has been restored, from the sweeping cherry-wood staircase and newels to the oak-paneled legislative chambers. The chambers also boast Tiffany stainedglass ceiling panels and big brass chandeliers. Bold murals depict scenes from the state's history homesteaders, stagecoach rides, and cattle drives. Decorative painting on walls and archways abounds.

As you walk across the black Wyoming marble floor, look for tiny marine fossil fragments. (The state is renowned for its fossil finds.) Look up to the repainted rotunda, restored to its original vibrant color. You'll see the territorial (now state) seal; notice the bison (the state mammal) and the railroad-both vital to the settling of this region.

Out front stands a bronze statue of a women's suffrage activist. It's a reminder that in 1869 Wyoming was the first state or territory in the United States to grant women the right to vote. To tour the building on your own, pick up a free pamphlet at the information desk. In summer, join a free guided tour. Between January 10 and March 4 next year, you can watch the legislature in session; tickets are not needed. The capitol, on Capitol Avenue at 24th Street, is open all year from 8:30 to 4:30 weekdays and possibly Saturdays; call (307) 777-7220 to check.
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Wyoming's statehouse in Cheyenne
Publication:Sunset
Date:Sep 1, 1988
Words:312
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