Kansas!

It’s Kansas week on the blog!

No; I’m not going to spend a week talking about the legendary rock group from the ‘70’s.

Sorry to disappoint their fans.

I’m talking about Kansas; “the  U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States… The state named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area.The tribe’s name is said to mean “people of the wind” or “people of the south wind,…” (Yep; Wikipedia is our friend too.)

I was born a Kansan and have lived in the state for most of my life. And yes; I have seen tornadoes.[*insert Dorothy and Toto jokes here*] In fact as a girl, while at a slumber party just outside of town, a small tornado went over the farm where my friend lived. You should have seen us; about half a dozen girls running and screaming, sleeping bags over our heads, down the dirt road towards my friend’s grandmother’s house. What a bunch of goofs. Most recently I saw a tornado come right through our little town. It took out a home about two blocks from me then lifted back up and moved over the railroad tracks behind my house; right towards the edge of town where it took out the restaurant that the family who had owned that home were all having dinner.

YIKES!

On January 29, 1861,Kansas entered the Union as a free state. (Had to give Wikipedia a workout for all those little things I don’t remember from grade school history class.) So January 29th (tomorrow) is Kansas Day.

On Kansas Day school kids do fun things like visit museums, color pictures of sunflowers, build dioramas of American buffalo, and paint paper mache models of the  ornate box turtle. I remember doing some of those things way back when.

So for our first look at Kansas this week we see the very top of our state capitol building…

bronze sculpture of Ad Astra, by Richard Bergen I took this shot in October of 2010; just as some restoration work was beginning. See the big ol’ crane behind the dome?. If you were to look at it today you would see the whole dome covered with scaffolding and men up there busily working. I really need to get a shot of that next time I’m out there.

Construction on our capitol building began in 1866 and was in use within 3 years but, it actually took 37 years to complete.  The exterior dome is made up of clay tiles with copper sheeting on the outside while the building itself is made of sandstone from the bluffs along Deer Creek. When I was a senior in high school my class took a trip to the capitol and we got to go up into that dome. Boy are those some rickety old wooden steps; I don’t think they let people up there anymore. In 2002 the 22-foot, 2-inch bronze sculpture of Ad Astra, by Richard Bergen, was added to the top of the dome. The statue received its name from the state motto, Ad Astra per Aspera, “To the stars through difficulty.”

22 feet 2 inches tall! That’s a tall guy standing up there!!!

There are a couple more shots of the capitol building at KKHPhotos.com in the On Location group; in the Downtown Topeka gallery if you’d like to take a look.

I plan to make all my posts this week have something to do with Kansas… think I can do it? At least we know I have no shortage of photos on the subject.

In fact I think I’ll share a few extra photos this week…

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