The Washington State Capitol Dome

Bryan Spellman

Plains, United States

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Featured in the group Exploring America, March 3rd, 2019

The Omnibus Enabling Act of 1889 allowed for the admission of six new states between November 2, 1889 and July 10, 1890. Washington was the fourth of those states, officially entering the union on November 11, 1889 as the forty-second state. One of the requirements of statehood was that a state capitol building had to be provided. Local politics intruded, and it wasn’t until 1911 that a commission was convened to plan out a state capitol complex. The Temple of Justice, where the State Supreme Court is housed, and the Insurance Building (home of the State Insurance Commissioner) were both completed before the Legislative Building (otherwise known as the State Capitol) which didn’t open for business until 1928. Of the six states admitted during that eight month period, Washington was the last to build their capitol building. (The North Dakota State Capitol is newer, but only because the original building burned down and had to be replaced in 1930.) The Washington State Capitol was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The dome seen here is 287 feet (87 meters) high, which makes it the tallest self-supporting dome in the United States and the fifth highest in the world. The fact that the Capitol Complex was built on top the highest hill in the area helps the dome stick out above the city spread below on all sides. Not seen in this photo are the 42 steps that lead into the building, representing the fact that Washington was the 42nd state admitted to the union.

Taken October 3rd, 2016 in Olympia, Thurston County, Washington, USA, as part of my coffee table book project Evergreen: A Photographic Portrait of Washington’s Thirty-Nine Counties.

Nikon D7100 dslr, Nikkor 16-85 mm lens set at 62 mm. ISO 125, f /11.0, 1/100th second. Shot in RAW format, finished in Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC 2019.

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