I’ve been visiting my brother in the Phoenix area for the past 30 years, but it never occurred to me to do any touring. I’d sit by his large and inviting pool for the entire week, then go home. Phoenix — one big hot, concrete traffic jam — had nothing, I thought, to offer.
This time — while the rest of the family was busy with preparations for my niece’s wedding — I snuck away to search for some History Tourist worthy sites. Pickings were slim, but I managed to find a few. This is the first of them.
The Arizona state capitol building was completed in 1901, when Arizona was still a territory (Arizona became a state in 1912) and was home to its legislature — territorial and state — and its governor. The legislature moved out in 1960, when it got two new buildings flanking the capitol building, and the governor moved out in 1974 when he got a new executive building. The old capitol was restored and opened in 1981 as the Arizona State Capitol Museum.
There were four floors of exhibit. Some samples:
The first exhibit, on the first floor, is of the USS Arizona. There are pieces of the ship salvaged from the bottom of Pearl Harbor, and ship items that had been removed at various points before the war. One of the “removed before” items on display is the USS Arizona’s battleship silver. Apparently it was the thing in the early 20th century for the people of a state to donate money and buy a silver set for the use of the captain and officers of the battleship bearing the name of their state. Arizona’s was made by Reed and Barton and officially presented to the ship in 1919. The set was removed from the USS Arizona in 1940, before it left for Hawaii, which is the reason that it still survives intact. The punch bowl is copper and silver, copper being one of Arizona’s main products.
The second floor had offices restored to the way it was in the early 20th century.
That’s suppose to be the first governor of Arizona, George W. P. Hunt, in his office. To the left is a picture of him, courtesy of Wikipedia. They did a pretty good job with the mannequin.
The historic Senate chamber with a gaggle of school children. There were only a handful of adult tourists there, but several school groups.
A story I’d never heard before:
In 1957, rumors started that the Arizona State Capitol was going to be renovated. Frank Lloyd Wright, who lived in Arizona at the time, decided that he wanted to design the new one. Below is a model of Wright’s design. Sadly, State government budget shortfalls killed the plans for the new building.
When they got around to building new offices in 1960s and 70s, they definitely did not use Wright’s design.
That’s a copy of the Liberty Bell in front of the capitol. No, I don’t know why it’s there other than … well … it’s the Liberty Bell.