State Capitol of Oklahoma
The primary building material is white Indiana limestone, with a base of pink and black granite extending to the top of the first floor. The pink granite is from Johnston County near Troy in southeastern Okahoma, and the black granite is from Cold Springs in Jackson County in southwestern Oklahoma. Each of the state's 77 counties donated materials to be used in the construction.
The original design called for a dome to be built on the Capitol, but politics, material shortages and war prevented the dome from being erected -- until 2002.
When the Capitol budget dwindled, then-Governor Robert L. Williams declined to seek the additional funds necessary to construct the dome. Since the original construction of the Capitol incorporated the necessary foundations to support a dome, Oklahomans hoped it could be added following World War I. However, shortages of building materials led prices to skyrocket, making the cost of a dome prohibitive.
Oklahoma's Capitol stood domeless for 87 years. Thanks to the efforts of the State Capitol Complex & Oklahoma Centennial Commemoration Commission, Oklahoma's Capitol has been crowned with the dome conceived by Solomon Layton so many decades ago.
The dome measures 157 feet tall above the existing roof and 80 feet in diameter. Oklahoma's state wildflower, the Indian Blanket, provides the central theme for the colors of the dome's interior.
The new canopy over the opening in the upper dome features the State Seal in the center.
The dome was topped on June 7, 2002, by The Guardian, sculpted by Enoch Kelly Haney, a State Senator of Seminole and Creek descent whose family followed the Trail of Tears to Okahoma. The statue, which is not specific to any one Indian tribe, weighs approximately 6,000 pounds and stands 22' 9" tall.
During the ceremonies raising The Guardian to its place atop the dome, Senator haney
provided the voice of the statue, excerpted as follows:
"I am the Guardian...my journey began in the 1830s with the passage of the Indian Removal Act. Thousands and thousands of us were marched halfway across this country; thousands died along the way. But we rebuilt our lives, our familes and our nations here. Through the years we were joined by others; their ancestors came from every corner of the world; but they came here and joined as we all worked to build a new life in this land of red earth.
"The years to come were not easy; there were wars pitting brother against brother, tribe against tribe, and ultimately nations against nations. Throughout the years, thousands of Oklahomans have given their lives defending this country. They died in Europe, in Asia and in mountains and deserts thousands of miles away, but they all died so that we could live free. They fought for their fellow Okahomans. They fought for America. I will guard their memory always.
" Our young state has faced many adversities; for some it was too much, and they moved on. But for most of us, this red earth was now our home, even when the very earth itself seemed to turn against us. We refused to be moved; we survived the Dust Bowl..we have survived floods and storms, and in 1999 one of the worst tornadoes ever recorded on the face of the planet. But we survived, and we reached out our hands and helped one another and we stood our ground. When hate and evil struck our state in 1995 at the Murrah Federal Building; we proved to the world how strong our spirit was; and we showed that good is always stronger than evil. We stood our ground.
"Soon I will be raised to the top of this Capitol building. Inside are many guardians of this state. Our Governor, our legislators, our judges - they all are charged with a very sacred task of being the guardians of Okahoma, a state that is nearing its first centennial. I will stand guard here, over our great state, over our majestic land, over our values. My lance pierces my legging and is planted in the ground. I will not be moved from my duty, from my love of Okahoma and all of its people...I will stand my ground, and I will not be moved. From this day on, I will stand guard. I will stand strong and be pround of Okahoma, our home."
In the center of the first floor rotunda is the Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma.
Also on the first floor:
2) the Oklahoma Museum of History's exhibit showcasing the principal architect of the State Capitol, Solomon Layton
3) a statue of Kate Barnard sitting in silent dignity on a bench, welcoming visitors to join her. Barnard became the first woman to win statewide elective office in the United States in 1907, a time when women were not allowed to vote. Holding the office of Commissioner of Charities and Corrections for two terms, she was a key figure in the development of Okahoma's social services program.
The fourth floor housed portraits of:
1) Roscoe Dungee - civil rights leader and newspaper founder, painted by Mitsuno Reedy
2) Albert Comstock Hamlin - elected in 1908 to the first Oklahoma State Legislature, painted by Lorelei Welch
3) Benjamin Harris Hill - a pastor and educator elected in 1968 to the Okahoma House of Representatives, painted by Felix Cole
4) Edward P. McCabe - founder of the city of Langston, the newspaper there, and deputy auditor of Oklahoma Territory until statehood, painted by Billie Harlton
the next four were painted by Charles Banks Wilson
6) Sequoyah - Creator of the Cherokee syllabary, thereby preserving the phonetic language of his tribe for future generations
7) Will Rogers - Of Cherokee descent, Rogers was a journalist, humorist, actor and goodwill ambassador to the world durin the early part of the 20th century and particularly through the Great Depression of the 1930s
8) Jim Thorpe - A member of the Sac and Fox tribe born in Prague, Thorpe is considered one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century, winning gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games
1) Discovery and Exploration, 1541 - 1820 - Features Coronado and his men, grass huts of the Wichita
Indians, French fur traders of the 1700s, bison, Nordic runestones and an early U.S. Army expedition.
2) Frontier Trade, 1790 - 1830 - Depicts trade with Osage hunters, keelboats and flatboats, early mission school activities and commercial enterprises such as sawmills, salt making and trading posts.
3) Indian Immigration from 1820 - 1885 - Provides a view of attitudes among various Plains Indian tribes faced with encroaching settlement by Eastern Indians and te Five Civilized Tribes coming to Oklahoma across the Trail of Tears, accompanied by U.S. Army troops.
4) Non-Indian Settlement, 1870 - 1906 - Depicts the story of the state's land runs of 1889 through 1893, including the forced sale b the Five Civilized Tribes of their "surplus lands." Also pictures are a half dugout and sod house, both of which were common types of pioneer dwellings.
1) Flight of Spirit by Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen which commemorates five world famous Okahoma
Indian ballerinas. They are Yvonne Chouteau, Cherokee; Rosella Hightower, Choctaw; Moscelyne Larkin, Shawnee-Peoria; and Osage sisters Maria and Marjorie Tallchief.
2) Oklahoma Black Gold by Jeff Dodd, recognizes the significance of Okahoma's oil and gas industry
3) We Belong to the Land by Jeff Dodd, pays tribute to the state's agricultural industry
4) Pro Patria meaning "for the fatherland". Frank Phillips of Phillips Petroleum appointed Gilbert White of Paris, France, to create a work of art paying tribute to the Oklahoma soldiers who served during World War I.