tv Discussion on the Nebraska State Capitol Archives CSPAN August 28, 2017 1:05pm-1:16pm EDT
for 40 miles. if you lean back on one of the four corners of that. you can see ed astra. he is a kansas indian warrior, he's 22 feet 2 inches tall. he's a bronze statue and i guess even though i mentioned earlier, it took us 37 years to complete our capitol, some people might say it wasn't completed until 2002, that is the year we put ed astor on top of the building. there was always notes that there should be a statue on top of the building, for a while the goddess series was considered, she's the goddess of agriculture. she was considered a little too promiscuous for the state of kansas, she was not chosen. it is an iconic tribute to the original people who were here first, and so the colination did
send representatives and there was a big ceremony when he was placed on top of the building. there's a little tie in for the old and the new. this is the archival collections for the nebraska state capitol. we house the architectural materials related to the design and construction of the present state capitol. one of the things that makes our building unique, we have this amazing collection of materials that document the construction of the building. when the destruction was made that nebraska needed a new state capitol. the legislature put together a commission to oversee the design and construction of the building. the commission put together a competition to select an
architect. the unique part about this competition, it was a double blind competition, the competitors didn't know who the judges were. and the judges didn't know who the competitors were. the advantage to this process was that the architects could design to the specifications that were put in front of them instead of designing to the known tastes of the judges. they were able to come up with some solutions they would not have come up with otherwise. bertram suggested a tower. it had the advantage of being able to be constructed in phases. this photo here shows that process. we have the north and south parts of the building going up around the previous capitol.
once the north and south sections were done they moved the employees out of the old building, into temporary quarters in the new building. and in 1925, they took down the old building and continued the construction of the new building. each competitor was required to submit perspective drawings for what they envisioned their design to look like. one of those requirements was of a main entrance detail. this is bertram's drawing of his proposed main entrance to his nebraska state capitol. the ink washed drawing is amazingly detailed. it's -- it shows that he was looking at a very classical structure originally there are features that certainly between the time of the competition and
the time of construction. the building was redesigned. to a point. some of the features in the drawing are still there. he cleaned up the design so it's less classical and much more modern 20s design. so the pioneer panel with the conestoga wagon exists now, but there aren't the columns there, the entrances now arched. the figures that are carved on the building are still there. they're now engaged into the structure rather than separate from the structure. the seals on the front of the building are still there, the sculptures here and the fountains are not. each competitor was required to include a figure for scale in their main entrance drawing.
while the competitors didn't know the judges. they certainly were aware of politics at the time. and bertram goodhugh included a figure that looks remarkably like williams generalings bryant. we have a sequence of artwork that was created during the design and construction of the rotunda floor for the building. the architects created a plan of what they proposed the floor would look like they colored in the marble. they pencilled in the designs they were proposing for the various art on the floor. she also created larger scale pieces that were sent to both the architects office in new york, and later the commission in lincoln. the designs for the rotunda
floor show mother earth and the four elements of water, air, fire and earth. and the designs she created for the most part were used with the exception of mother earth. in the final floor, the design is very different. mother earth is seated in a throne. there are children around her. part of the design process. she not only created the small pieces to show the commission what she was doing, she created a full scale figure to show them this is what it would look like on the floor another key piece on the rotunda floor, is the ribbon on the floor.
certainly he was not an expert in paleontology and dine sours. the commission worked with paleontologist paleontologists from the university of nebraska. they depicted the various creations he intended to put on the floor. he was able to take his drawing s and alter them to where she could fit them within the bounds of that ribbon.
and and created this amazing progression of animals on the floor. this drawing shows the floor as bui build. after the design was created, they were able to draw this all in. and this is documentation of what the whole floor looks like, in the way you can't see it in person. the building was constructed during the depression. and the commission was very aware of the need to be prudent with the dollars of the citizens of nebraska. the decision was made to cut certain pieces out of the budget that could be added later. one of those things was the murals that would fill the wall s in the rotunda.
those would be easy to add at a later date. in the 1950s the legislature decided there were funds available to start working on the artwork in the building. there was a competition held to select artists to do the mural of the building. in 1956 installed three pieces. we have the mockettes in our collection. we have the labors of the head. labors of the hand and labors of the heart they depict activities that people in nebraska could --
would be participating in. there was certainly some controversy after the artwork was installed. the very first piece to go in was the labors of the hand. which including a depiction of a farmer with a bull and there was lots of media coverage about how the bull was a square bull and it looked like it was produced with a t square. and what kind of bull has those kinds of lines and the surprise ing thing was -- the citizens of nebras nebraska. the capitol is a wonderful national