The first thing a visitor driving up to the Ohio Statehouse for a tour will notice is the vastness of the estate. It is a structure built atop a ten-acre spread of land and looks like a step back in time, to when Greek gods reigned the earth. From all possible angles, the structure will constantly remind the visitors who have perhaps had a chance to visit Greece, of the various ruins and tourist spots that seem to have been mimicked by the statehouse. It is this particular design that sets it apart from the rest of the capital houses in the country. Well, that and the fact that the Ohio Statehouse was built long before Capitol Hill was ever envisioned and became the template for the statehouses across the country.
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The Ohio State House
Utilizing what is known as the Greek Doric Mode, it has in place of a dome, the cupola which from the outside looks like circular columns atop the building. From the inside though, the cupola lights the interior rotunda. Speaking of the rotunda, it is simply breathtaking as the architects of the building designed the ceiling and the floor directly beneath it to be an optical illusion. The stained glass window in the ceiling excellently compliments the checkered floor tiles.
Such a presentation simply enthralls the first time visitor who is then overtaken by the history of the place. As an embodiment of the Greek Revival style, one will notice that the building has windows where no ancient Greek building would have one. The windows serve a purpose and are not meant to disrespect the Greek influence in any way. They just needed sunlight to light the interior of the building since there was no electricity yet when the statehouse was first built.
The west facade of the statehouse reminds the visitors of the huge responsibility of the men and women who served and continue to serve in the central seat of power in Ohio. It is an awe-inspiring and humbling experience to stand at the entrance to this great building where Abraham Lincoln once stood to give his speech. Even more impressive is the fact that this is a relatively new building since the original statehouse was not situated in this particular area until 1839.
Once inside the museum, a guest comes to realize that this is more than just a legislative building. It is also the safe keeper of the state’s history and monuments. I particularly enjoyed the visit to The Map Room where the map of the state lies on the floor, using gemstones to mark the counties. This was a unique way for people on the tour to remember the counties that are part of Ohio. We not only memorize the county but also try to figure out what gemstone is representing it.
My friends and I had a blast doing that. For the techie in everyone, the Interactive Museum will give any visitor some serious education about Ohio and its history using games and activities that can be enjoyed by both the young and old.
Architecturally speaking though, the next place that I enjoyed visiting on the tour was the House and Senate Chambers. I have never seen such a well-decorated room. I just regret that was unable to see the legislators in action at the time. A visit to the Atrium and its large open section shows the visitor how the two buildings are connected.
Every inch of this almost architecturally perfect statehouse is truly a work of art that simply takes your breath away. It was such an enjoyable and educational tour for me that I did not even notice the time and hurt in my feet. I would go back to this statehouse any day for a repeat visit.