tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN September 5, 2016 10:48am-11:03am EDT
alexander hamilton and his contribution. [ applause ] american history tv air on c-span3 every weekend, telling the american story through events, interviews and visiting historic locations. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country, to hear lectures by top history professorses. american artifacts, treel america, revealing the 20th century through archival films and new reels, the civil war where you hear about the people who shaped the civil war and reconstruction, and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, legacies and american history tv every weekend on c-span3 tv.
c-span, created by america's cable television companies and brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. >> this weekend, c-span is visiting denver to take a look at the city's history. up next, a visit to the colorado state capital. derrick everett and lance shepard will be our guides. >> the colorado state capitol was built between 1886 and 1901, took 15 years to complete the capitol. construction started ten years after colorado joined the union in 1976, which is why we're called the centennial state. it took 15 years to built on a side donated by a local businessman named harry brown and he was not an altruist, donated ten acres of land in the middle of his property.
it actually took almost 20 years and two trips to the united states supreme court to resolve who owned this property and in large part in large part becaus the state didn't build on it for a long time. so he sued twice and it made it to the u.s. capitol building in washington, d.c. for two buildings before the supreme court which he finally lost in january of 1886 and finally constructions started that summer. the colorado state capitol stands at exactly one mile above sea level. denver is known as the mile-high city. there are actually three mile-high markers on the west steps. the original one was on the 15th step, and it was a brass marker that was the ultimate souvenir of denver. people kept stealing the plaque, so we had to put new ones in. in 1947, they carved one mile above sea level onto the 15th step. in 1969, a group of students from colorado state university in ft. collins remeasured and
they said that we were off by three steps. so there's a little brass plug on the 18th step that declares one mile above sea level. in 2003, we got our third mile-high marker because the federal government redefined sea level and how we judge altitude in the united states. and global warming and sea levels and all of that aside, the mile-high marker actually dropped instead of raising. now it's on the 13th step. there's a little brass plug that was installed by governor bill owens in 2003. we're on the second floor of the colorado state capitol. this is the legislative floor. and the house and senate chambers are here on the second floor where the 100 members of the general assembly meet from early january to early may. the colorado state capitol was intended to be built out of as many native materials to the state of colorado as possible.
you wanted to keep as much money of building the capitol in the state, so most of the stone from the capitol came from local quarries. but decorative materials inside the building came from other states, including white oak from arkansas. all of the door frames, window frames are made out of that. brass throughout the building came from foundries in cincinnati, ohio, and luciville, kentucky. the capitol building also has over 33 stained glass windows and they represent various f figures in colorado history, political figures, historical individuals, men and women from very many ethnic groups as well. the window behind me honors emily griffith, who was a school teacher in the early 1900s, and she founded the emily griffith opportunity school, which now operates as a vocational training school. her intention was to provide free edge kaegz on any practical issue that children or adults
might want to learn. if you wanted to find a better job, if you wanted to get skills that would help you earn more for your family, she would invent classes as the school year went on. there was really no set structure or schedule. you showed up whenever you needed to, to take what classes you wanted. and she would ask students what things are you interested in? what topics do you want to know about? then she would find people who knew that and hire them to come teach a class at 10:00 at night or 10:00 in the morning. it didn't really matter. it was a very open-ended school. and the motto for it was always opportunity. and it remains in operation today. it's celebrating its centennial in downtown denver. one of the most renowned figures in colorado's political history was our governor during world war ii, ralph carr, and he was one of the few american paul g politicians to speak out in favor of japanese americans
after pearl harbor. he took a great political risk to ask that coloradans treat everyone with dignity and respect, and the japanese internment camp that was built in southeastern colorado was undoubtedly the most open, it had the best interaction with the local communities. there was a great deal of support of japanese americans in the state, in large part because of governor carr. he's remembered with several plaques at the capitol biuildin. in the 1960s, colorado's governor was john love, and who better to be governor in the '60s than governor love. and in 1967, governor love, who was a republican from colorado springs, signs the nation's first liberalized abortion laws, as it was called, essentially legalizing abortion across the spectrum. there really weren't any categories that were limited or constrained. the bill had been written by a denver politician, a member of the legislature named dick lamb, who eventually served 12 years
as governor, but it was a democratic bill signed by a relatively conservative republican governor in 1960s, and that was six years before the roe v. wade decision in the supreme court. colorado was on the front lines of one of the most contentious political issues still our time. there is a an ongoing historic preservation and restoration effort at the state capitol, ever since the beginning of the twu 21st century, we have been working on trying to reclaim the building to the way it looks a century earlier when it opened alt the beginning of the 20th century. and capitol architect lance shepherd can offer information about all of the projects trying to restore it to its original condition. >> watch your head right here. there's two domes in the capitol, the inner dome and outer dome. we're inside the outer dome, which is just below the lantern. the capitol is models after the
u.s. capitol. it's just kind of an architectural feature to make it look grander and larger than it actually is. the names up here are the gilders. and they're considered the artists who gilded the capitol, and we have always used gold from colorado to gild it. originally, when it was gilding in 1901, 1903, we used around 200 ounces. this last go around, we used 62 or 63 ounces to gold the entire dome. on the exterior of this, there's copper, and 120 years of hail storms had damaged the copper quite a bit. there were microfractures. it was dented up pretty bad. we replaced all that. we actually put a layer of black paper, then a layer of metal, of sheet metal, and then a layer and then the copper on top of that, so there's three layers of waterproofing material. hopefully it lasts another 100
years. >> we're currently in the house chambers, which is under restoration. this project started approximately three years ago. and the first year, we did the lower level, restoring the ornate stenciling in the plaster work. the second year, we did the upper levels and the ceiling, and the third year, we're doing the galleries. and some time during the '60s, they had glued acoustic ceiling tile to all the wall surfaces, all the ceiling, and in filled the coffer and filled that supposedly for sound. and we have actually -- i mean, we're taking it back to the original 1903, which is our period of historic significance, working with history colorado. and that's where all the stenciling, we have photographs showing the stenciling, and the lower level, we just touched up the original stenciling. on the upper levels and the ceiling, we actually re-created
it on top of an acoustic plaster material. to help with the acoustics. we opened up the coffer. restored all the gilding up there. and then we restored the chandelier. over the years, they have added extra bulbs to the chandelier. we have gone back to the original teardrop. it was built of gas and electrical at one time. if you look at the upper sections, the little gas jets are still there. a lot of the painting here had been kind of dulled with 100 years of cigar smoke, cigarette smoke, so we cleaned it up back to the original colors. the green is for the house of commons in the house and in our senate, it's red for the house of lords. >> well, the colorado state capitol like any state capitol serves as the heart of its community. there's not necessarily any reason for the state of colorado to exist.
it's a giant rectangle that brings together cultures and environments and economies and geographies that don't necessarily have anything in common, yet this is the place where people gather to decide what do we want, what do we need, what makes us coloradans, what do we have in common? the building itself has a great deal of symbolic power, but it has historical power too. it's not only a practical building. it's a place where colorado's history is preserved, political history. there are murals and paintings and stained glass windows that celebrate and educate the people of colorado and anybody who comes to see the state. exactly what it is we think is important, what do we want to commemorate out of our past, out of our shared existence. >> this weekend, we're featuring the history of denver, colorado, together with our comcast cable partners. learn more about denver and the other stops on our cities tour at c-span.org/citiec-span.org/c.
you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. >> c-span, created by america's cable television companies and brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. >> 100 years ago, on august 25th, 1916, president woodrow wilson signed a law that created the national parks system. the washington monument and the national mall where we're standing is part of that system. this is a uniquely american idea. the concept that the nation's most beautiful lands don't belong to a ruling class but to the american people and it's their right to visit these spaces and enjoy them. spaces such as the grand canyon, yellowstone, the statue of liberty. many are known around the world. they are our nation's crown jewels. president obama on a visit to yosemite's waterfalls told a
crowd it's almost like the spirit of america itself is right here. today, there are 84 million acres in the system and 410 sites including 59 national parks, 128 historical parks, 25 battlefields and 10 national seashores. last year, some 300 million people visited the national park locations. when people think of national parks, they usually think of grand natural spaces like the everglades. but along the way, the national park service took up a second mission of telling the american story. the lincoln memorial, the washington monument, and even presidents' park, which surrounds the white house, are part of the national park service narrative. this mission was literally carved into the stone of mt. rushmore by a sculptor who wrote the purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding expansion, preservation, and unification of the united states. but the american story is complicated, so in the 21st century, the national parks service is taking the lead in trying to reconcile dueling
storylines at many historic sites across the country. arlington house, which sits on the hill above john f. kennedy's grave site is an example of that effort. the park service's most visited historic home. today, visitors learn the several story lines connected to this southern mansion, from george washington and the revolutionary war, to robert e. lee and the civil war, and they learn about the enslaved people who lived their lives on the 1100 acre estate and whose legacies live on in their descendants. comi coming up first, we'll hear several presidents talk about the national park, and later, we'll hear from the director of the national park service, jonathan jarvis. first, president obama at yosemite national park. >> the foresight and the faith in the future to do what it takes to protect our parks and to protect this planet for generations to come. and that's especially true for our leaders in washington. what lincoln did when he set aside