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Fourth Most Beautiful State Capitol: Madison, Wisconsin

Fall 2015-16 UM Enrollment for U.S. by U.S. State
Fall 2015-16 UM Enrollment for U.S. by U.S. State

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 39 Ole Miss students from Wisconsin (0.20 percent).

Wisconsin State Capitol, photo courtesy Wikipedia.com
Wisconsin State Capitol, photo courtesy Wikipedia.com

Faith, Strength, Prosperity and Abundance represent the four sculptural groups designed by Karl Bitter that are featured in Wisconsin’s state Capitol. The individuals depicted are clad in Greek clothing symbolizing the great qualities and rewards to be found in the Badger State.

Madison is the capital city which hosts the 284 foot structure that took 12 years to complete. The state Capitol was completed in 1917 and is the fifth building to serve as the Capitol. It is located at the southwestern end of the Madison Isthmus. The cost of construction was $7.2 million. Wisconsin received statehood in 1848.

One of the more interesting visuals of the Capitol is the “Wisconsin Statue” on the dome which was sculpted during 1920 by Daniel Chester French from New York. Often referred to as the Golden Lady, the allegorical figure is reminiscent of Athena, dressed in Greek garb. The left hand holds a globe surmounted by an eagle as her right arm is outstretched to symbolize the state’s motto… “Forward”. The lady wears a helmet with the state animal, the badger, on top. The statue is made of hollow bronze with gold leaf. It is 15 feet tall weighing 3 tons.

What is unique about the materials utilized in the construction of the Capitol is their origin. Six foreign countries and eight states were the source of the stone, granite and minerals. The exterior stone is Bethel White Granite from Vermont which now reflects the largest granite dome worldwide. Other states contributing construction materials were Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia, New York, Maryland, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The countries involved included Algeria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Norway.

In 2001 the Capitol was added to the list of National Historic Landmarks.

Starting in 1988 and ending in 2002, the building underwent a major renovation/restoration project costing $159M. Many of the public spaces were returned to their original appearance in 1917.

(Special recognition to Wikipedia for the historical references.)

Steve Vassallo

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 sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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