We are camped less than 10 miles east of Salem, the capital of Oregon. We haven’t always visited the state capitol buildings when we have had the chance, but this one seemed rather unique so we drove over for a tour.
This capitol building was dedicated in 1938. It was constructed because the prior one, which like the capitols in many states resembled the US Capitol, burned down. Actually this is the third capitol building for Oregon as the first one burned down as well. This building is a major departure from other states’ capitols as it has an art deco design. Most of the structure is marble (maybe to keep it from burning). There is an inner rotunda built inside the outer one which is what you see from inside the building as shown in this picture.
One of the defining features is the statue of a pioneer on top of the rotunda. The statue is 22 feet tall and is made of bronze but is gilded with 23 carat gold. The pioneer carries an axe in one hand and a tarp in the other both for constructing a shelter in the Oregon territory.
We took the tour to the top exterior of the rotunda. There is a small diameter spiral staircase between the walls of the interior and exterior rotunda domes that leads to the roof. There are excellent views from the roof as it is about the tallest structure in Salem. The rear view includes Willamette University, founded in 1842 and claimed to be the oldest university in the Western United States. The Capitol is surrounded by other State buildings and lots of greenery and flower gardens.
We walked the downtown area of Salem as far west as the Willamette River. Along the river is a park that contains an indoor carousel constructed in 2001 in the hand-built grand style of historic carousels.