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    June 29, 2017

Independence Day is right around the corner and I hope you are able to enjoy time with your families. The Wauwatosa parade begins at 9:00 am with fireworks at 9:15 pm on July 4th and the City of Brookfield parade begins at 10:00 am with the fireworks display beginning at 9:17 pm on July 4th. 
 
As we celebrate our nation's birth, I think it is appropriate to also highlight the 100 year anniversary of your Wisconsin State Capitol. It is your Capitol and I am very honored to work for you and to report for work in such a beautiful building. The Wisconsin State Capitol is an extraordinary building of which we should all be very proud. 

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It is generally accepted that Wisconsin has one of the most impressive capitols among the 50 states. In fact, the outer dome is the largest in the country. This year the current Wisconsin State Capitol celebrates its 100 year anniversary and the Wisconsin Historical Society was commissioned to retell the story of all of Wisconsin’s Capitol buildings.
 
Every aspect of the building is intended to mean something – for example, having 4 entrances on all sides of the building instead of one main entrance, conveys that our government is open to all points of view, from all areas of the state.
 
Many Wisconsinites are unaware of two things about Wisconsin’s Capitol history. First, Madison was not the original capital of Wisconsin. Belmont hosted the first capitol building and it wasn’t until 1836 that legislators voted to move the capital to Madison. Second, the current capitol is the third capitol building in our state’s history opening up in 1917.

In its 100 year history, the capitol has housed both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Office of the Governor and the Attorney General.
 
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Wisconsin's first capitol was constructed over 13 years in Belmont beginning in 1836 and ending in 1848. It was utilized until 1859.

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The second capitol was constructed between the years of 1857 and 1869. However, the wings were not added until 1883.
 
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In 1904, a fire broke out in the second capitol.The building had been outfitted with a firefighting system, but the pipes had been drained the night before. The flames destroyed much of the building and legislators decided to temporarily fix the damaged capitol while a new capitol was built.
 
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The third capitol building was constructed between the years of 1906 and 1917. Marble was imported from all over the world and the nation’s leading artists and sculptors were tasked with decorating the interior and exterior. The marble was able to be purchased at very low prices since the nations involved in World War I were seeking revenue.
 
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Renovation commenced in 1988 with full repairs being completed in 2001.

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The Wisconsin State Capitol if full of rich Wisconsin history. It continues to serve as a hub for government but it is also a museum and showpiece. The Wisconsin State Capitol is a great place to visit. It is where government operates and it encapsulates the strong heritage of 169 years of Wisconsin residents.
 
If you ever visit the capitol, please stop by our office, Room 324 East. We would welcome the time to talk and to discuss issues that are important to you.
 
 
All pictures courtesy of WisconsinHistory.org and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

 

State Capitol - Room 324 East | Post Office Box 8952 | Madison, Wisconsin 53708
(608) 266-9180 | Rep.Kooyenga@legis.wisconsin.gov

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