This is the post where I document our trip to Utah and Idaho to visit friends and family...so if travelogues bore you don't bother to scroll down any further! :-)
You've probably figured out by now that this is the Utah State Capitol building, which was absolutely huge and gorgeous with its neoclassical design and marble-clad interior. I'm not sure what the exterior is faced with, perhaps it's marble too? Does anybody know?
The scale of the building is immense and awe-inspiring - I just can't even begin to imagine the amount of time and effort it took to construct it.
The rotunda is graced with several lovely murals depicting scenes from Utah history.
Vast staircases were built in both wings flanking the rotunda. Just beautiful.
There were four bronze statues in the main rotunda area depicting topics of importance for the state and its people.
All of the murals were very beautiful, I loved seeing them.
These were in the Senate chamber, I think. The paintings brought back a lot of memories of when I was at BYU - the spontaneous trips down to Arches National Park and the glorious Wasatch Mountain range that we would drive and hike through amidst the fluttering golden leaves of the aspen groves.
There were several portraits on display at the capital, and I was excited to see this one by one of my favorite Utah artists, Brian Kirshisnik. His paintings just glow with vivid color, and the simple and graceful lines of his figures are unmistakably distinctive. I also appreciate his sense of humor - he doesn't take himself too seriously.
Of course we visited Temple Square, and it was especially beautiful with all the summer foliage in full splendor.
For those who may not know, this temple took 40 years to build, and the stories of its construction and the lives of the people who dedicated their time and talents (all of it was volunteer) to build it are simply amazing.
I love the reflection pool...
This statue was particularly touching to me knowing the incredible hardships the handcart pioneers went through. The male statue was modeled after a pioneer named John Rowe Moyle who, after pulling his handcart 2000 miles across the United States, was called to be a stonecutter for the temple...and he homesteaded 22 miles away from the temple site. And he didn't have a horse. So he walked to Salt Lake every Monday, worked until Friday on the temple, walked home Friday night and had Saturday to do all the farm chores and look after his family. Then he lost his leg, and - you guessed it - after it healed he carved a prosthetic leg for himself and started the grueling schedule once again. There's a short film about him, you can watch it HERE but I don't think that particular link shows the entire story...there's probably another one that shows the first part of it.
Like I said, I don't think I would have made a very good pioneer.
I have always loved this Christus statue (yes, Mormons are Christians, despite all the misconceptions that state otherwise) and I'm glad Hazel got to see it in person. We have a small replica of it at home, but the full size version is, well, indescribable. I think the original was created by a man in Denmark a long, long time ago, and the Church obtained permission to replicate it.
The old Assembly Hall on Temple Square...
...and some of the astoundingly beautiful landscaping on Temple Square. I loved these lush plantings that appeared to be floating on the side of the wall.
Here's Brigham Young, the prophet who led the saints West to escape persecution and death after Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob.
To dispel another common misperception, we do not worship Joseph Smith nor any other human being. We honor him as the man through whom Jesus Christ restored the fulness of the Gospel back on the earth in the latter days (hence the name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...but reporters often omit the Jesus Christ part of the name...reinforcing the confusion about not being Christian). For more information on this topic, you can click HERE.
Hopefully I won't get any angry emails chewing me out for being religious, I'm not trying to shove anything down anyone's throat. I've been chewed out for being political before, we'll see if I'll get chewed out for this. I'm merely explaining the photos that I took on our trip - and I did issue a warning about this being a travelogue! It's still a free country, after all...I hope :-)
Here is the old Tabernacle, the historic site of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and where generations of people gathered to hear General Conference twice a year. It's now broadcast worldwide from a much bigger conference center on the other side of Temple Square. No pictures of that, our kids were very much done with playing tourist by then.
This incredible building used to be Hotel Utah, but is now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
The interior is opulent and refined, and it's so amazing to think that people built and decorated it long before power tools and modern technology.
This is the view of Temple Square from the top of the JSMB. You can see the shiny domed roof of the old Tabernacle behind the temple and the new Conference Center is at the right of the temple.
So, there you have it folks! We had a wonderful time visiting friends and family - I got to reconnect with some college roomates, a good friend from my single days in Portland Oregon, and I already showed you pics of my visit with the talented Emilie Daly of Modern Yardage. We rented a car and drove to Idaho to visit Steve's family as well, which was great.
Getting back home was great too - traveling is fun and exciting, but it's always good to get back to Home Sweet Home. Especially when it takes a matter of hours on a plane as compared to months and months on a pioneer trail.