Thursday, February 07, 2008

Harrisburg - Pennsylvania's State Capital

On Monday I had the opportunity to visit our state Capital, Harrisburg, PA on the east shore of the Susquehanna River. I also had the privilege of being able to take photographs on the floor of the House of Representatives while it was in session. I had 15 minutes once I hit the floor of the House to take whatever pictures I wanted, within reason. I could not take pictures that showed computer screens or a board that contained the names of all the state representatives and how they voted. Unfortunately, this ruled out the one and only shot that I really wanted, which was to sit in the visitor's gallery and shoot one photograph looking down on the whole floor of the House at one time. I guess this could be accomplished if the House of Representatives wasn't in session, but then all I'd be showing is an empty room, and that's not what I had in mind.

The photographs in this week's blog are presented in the order in which they were taken, from the time I got to Harrisburg. There are exterior shots and interior shots I took before I was announced and allowed to enter the House of Representatives. After my 15 minutes of fame, I then toured around the city where most of the remaining photographs were shot within a two block area North and West of the Capital building.

The Pennsylvania State Archives and State Museum of Pennsylvania

Looking at the Capital from the area of Second and State Streets. There are more than 600 rooms in the building.

Speaker Matthew J. Ryan Building, named for a former House Speaker.

Doing a 180 degree turn, this is the Cathedral Chapel of Saint Lawrence.

This sculpture, which sits on the left hand side of the steps as you enter the Capital, is called Labor of Love/The Unbroken Law and was done by George Grey Barnard, 1863-1938.

State Senator John Wozniak, 35th Senatorial District, serves 239,507 citizens in all of Cambria and Clinton Counties and parts of Clearfield, Centre and Somerset Counties. When I told John why I was at the Capital he was nice enough to invite me over to the Senate side of the building to shoot the Senate in action. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time. However, I'm looking forward to taking him up on his offer in the near future while the Senate is still in session and the weather is a whole lot better.

This photograph shows the dome inside the State Capital building. It would have been nicer to have my 18mm lens with me so I could capture the magnificence of the dome. This 52 million pound structure is a sight to behold. It was inspired by Michelangelo's design for St. Peter's.

73rd Legislative District Rep. Gary Haluska working at his desk. I met up with Gary shortly after his legislative aide, Marilyn, greeted me in front of the Capital, took me to the Speaker of the House's office where my credentials were checked and permission was received to enter the floor of the House of Representatives.

With about 1/2 hour to kill before the 1 p.m. start of the House's daily business, I took the time to shoot the following photographs.

This particular shot was taken from the East side of the Capital building looking at the dome.
Looking East from the back of the Capital building at several government buildings, one of which is under construction.

North Office Building.

You would think that if the man is the governor of the State of Pennsylvania, he wouldn't need to reserve his parking spot.

One of four circular murals that measure 14 feet in diameter on the corners supporting the Capital dome. A tribute to Pennsylvania's history, these were created by Edwin Austin Abbey.

Another of the Abbey murals. Read more about the State Capital in this New York Times article dated July 20, 1902.

One of two long hallways that lead off of the rotunda inside the Capital building. This one leads to the Senate side of the building.

Finally, my name has been announced on the floor by the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives and I was allowed to enter the chamber. The young people to the right of the Speaker of the House are the Pennsylvania State 2007 Football Champions from Steelton Highspire High School, who were honored at the beginnning of the House session.

It is from a position in the gallery shown here that I wanted to take a picture of the House of Representatives in session. I'm sorry, but there is no way that anyone could read any computer screen or come to any conclusions from seeing a sign on the wall which gave the Representatives name that could ever be construed as a security threat to the county, to the state or to the nation.

Looking toward the back of the chamber and using available light is this view of the House of Representatives. The work shown at the back is another mural by Edwin Austin Abbey, and shows Baron Friederick von Stenben who was recruited by the American Colonies to train troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Looking toward the front of the House of Representatives and being very careful not to show any computer screens while showing the grandeur and opulence of the architecture from another time. Oh, by the way, this is my last shot within the House.

Fire escapes on the back of a building across the street from the Capital. I only shot this picture to show the folks back home how big city people live. We have very few buildings in our part of the world that go above three stories or even need fire escapes.

Front of homes on Liberty Street, Harrisburg, PA.

North Street and Willow Street, Harrisburg, PA.

Zephyr Express on North Street near Willow Street, Harrisburg, PA.

House on Briggs Street.

A couple blocks north of the Capital is this slum area. Many of the old houses have been torn down and only vacant lots await the construction of townhouses and other buildings to support the state government.

Banks Memorial Temple, Church of the Living God.

Picnic area in a back alley between the Capital and the Susquehanna River, Harrisburg, PA.

The Governor's Mansion, 2035 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA.

Bridge over the lake at Italian Park, 3015 North 3rd St., Harrisburg, PA.

Fort Hunter Park is located at the north end of Front Street in Harrisburg, at the convergence of Fishing Creek and the Susquehanna River.

To add an aura of antiquity, the last five shots have been processed through PhotoShop using the sepia filter.


We're Einar & Cindy said...

I've enjoyed your tour of Harrisburg. Oh yes, I live about 20 miles from Taos NM and the parade of bikers going past my front door (fortunately a way away) is quite a sight to see.

And hear.

Life is good, Einar

Anonymous said...

These photos are beautiful. They bring back so many memories for me.
I am originally from Steelton, to the south of Harrisburg, and I can remember taking the bus in town on the weekends so we could explore the city. It seemed so big and exciting back then. Most people shopped downtown then because there were no malls or shopping centers. Harrisburg used to be a bustling little town, however, times change. It seems so small now that I am an adult. Thanks for that short walk down Memory Lane.