EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s no secret that the University of Mississippi has a diverse population of students from across the United States and around the world. In fact, there are students from every state in the nation, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico comprising the total of 20,827 (U.S. students) on the Oxford and regional campuses including UMMC, according to University of Mississippi Institutional Research. Mississippi holds the largest share (58.11 percent), but the remaining states share the other almost 42 percent. There are 10 Ole Miss students from Utah (0.05 percent).
The most wonderful revelation of doing research is finding out new information that escaped our educational process somewhere along the journey. Utah’s state Capitol building in Salt Lake City, number “six” on our countdown list of the most beautiful State Capitol Buildings, just opened another door of newly-discovered knowledge.
The Capitol rests on Capitol Hill overlooking downtown Salt Lake City. The architecture is Neoclassical Revival, Corinthian Style. Comparisons were made with the Parthenon in Athens when it was constructed between 1912 and 1916.
In 1978 the Capitol was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004 a major restoration commenced which added a base isolation system that is capable of surviving a 7.3 magnitude earthquake. The initial cost of the Capitol was $2.7 million; the renovation cost was $260 million.
Utah’s history is one of the more colorful of any western state because of the Mormon pioneers. The Compromise of 1850 created the Territory of Utah and in 1856 Salt Lake City was designated the capital. However, it was until 1896 that Utah received statehood.
Returning to the building, it is 404 feet long, 240 feet wide with the dome extending 250 feet high. The exterior is constructed of Utah granite with the stone facade symmetrical. Featured are 52 Corinthian columns each 32 feet tall. The interior has five floors with many paintings and sculptures depicting Utah’s history. The floors are made of marble coming from Georgia.
The interior ceiling of the dome includes a large painting by artist William Slater. The mural includes seagulls flying amongst clouds. This theme was chosen as the California Gull is Utah’s official state bird representing the Miracle of the Gulls from Utah’s history. Legend describes an event in 1848 that saved the lives of 4000 Mormon pioneers. The crops of 1848 following a mild winter were invaded by swarms of insects in late May now referred to as a Mormon cricket. The first band of Latterday Saints were occupying the territory and helplessly attempting to fight off the insects when miraculously on June 9, legions of gulls (native to the Great Salt Lake) appeared that began feasting on the pests, thereby saving the crops.
Brigham Young, Utah’s first territorial Governor and Philo T. Farnsworth, Utah native and developer of television, are featured among the the many statues at the Capitol.
(Special credit to Wikipedia for providing the historical references.)
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.