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Old State Capitol, Baton Rouge, Louisiana by T. E. Smith-Lamothe

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Taken by
T. E. Smith-Lamothe T. E. Smith-Lamothe
Explore score
1
Print Pricing
$8.23 to $548.00
Size
0.05 Gigapixels
Views
1005
Date added
Feb 24, 2013
Date taken
Feb 07, 2013
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Description

When state legislators decided to move the Louisiana capitol from New Orleans (it was thought to hold too many distractions for the politicians), the city of Baton Rouge offered land on the bluff above the Mississippi where the French explorers found "Le Baton Rouge" (the red stick) which marked a ceremonial boundary between native tribes. James Dakin, a prominent New York City architect was given the commission and he designed the building in a style he called "castellated gothic". It was occupied in 1849. Although the design was fashionable and lauded in the critical journals, one critic, Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain), as riverboat pilot and journalist, reviled the castle-like capitol, writing that "It is pathetic. . .that a white-washed castle, with turrets and things. . .should ever have been built in this place."

In 1862, when Louisiana was invaded by Union troops in the Civil War, the building was occupied by the northern soldiers and two fires gutted the inside. After the war, it was renovated and served as legislature until the new State Capitol was occupied in 1932. It is interesting to note that both old and new capitol buildings avoided mimicking the Federal Capitol in Washington DC, which has been the visual template for most all the other state legislatures.

The building was recently renovated again and now serves as a musuem of political history and as a venue for special events. The interior has a huge, wonderful stained glass umbrella-like feature in red, blue and gold and several large and colourful windows done with diamond patterns --- one of which is reflecting the setting sun in this hand-held panorama.


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