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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring at Utah's Capitol Building

Utah State Capitol Building

While Salt Lake City surely has its up and downs, but no one can deny it is one of the prettiest cities.  The backdrop of the mountains on this beautiful landscape has me in awe every time.  It looks like someone pulled down a backdrop out of Ansel Adam's portfolio.  One of my favorite parts about living in SLC, is that spring comes early here.  I remember flying back East last year and I was astonished how brown and dead everything was there.  Here in Utah, end of March flowers are blooming, the grass in green, and spring is in the air.  

If you really want a sense of spring in SLC, there are a few places you need to visit:  
The Utah State Capitol to see the cherry blossoms, 
Temple Square to see the flowers, and 
Red Butte Garden to see their beautiful gardens in spring bloom.  

Because Temple Square and Red Butte already had their chance in the spotlight, today's post is all about spring at the Capitol Building. 

Utah State Capitol Building

The State Capitol is one of the most beautiful buildings in SLC .  Perched on top of the hillside, it is one of the most prominent figures when driving into Salt Lake City.  Designed by local architect Richard K. A. Kletting, the Capitol has been home to state government since its opening in 1916.

From 2004 to 2008, the Utah State Capitol underwent one of the largest historical preservation projects in the United States. In addition to safe-guarding the building against the risk of an earthquake, the project also repaired and restored the original beauty and artwork of the Capitol. Each year, thousands of people visit the Capitol to witness its modern magnificence and historic significance.

Cherry Blossoms at Utah State Capitol Building

Capitol Hours
Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday, and holidays: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tours begin on the hour from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, with the exception of state holidays.
The last tour begins at 4:00 p.m.
Tours are also available on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., by reservation only.
Take a tourhost an event, or explore their website to learn more.

From Arsenal Hill to Capitol Hill
"In 1888, Salt Lake City donated 20 acres of land—then known as Arsenal Hill for its previous use as private munitions storage—to the Utah Territory for the construction of a capitol building. Only in 1909, years after Utah became the 45th state in the Union, did real progress unfold. The state legislature approved a seven-man Capitol Commission to oversee the design and construction of a state capitol. The budget was set at $2.5 million, but funding remained a problem until 1911, when the state received nearly $800,000 in inheritance taxes from the estate of Union Pacific Railroad president E. H. Harriman. The legislature responded with a $1 million bond, and the project was underway. The building was completed in 1916, but financial difficulties prevented the full realization of Kletting’s original plans for the complex.

A massive renovation project from 2004 to 2008 not only restored the Capitol’s original beauty but also fulfilled many of Kletting’s early visions for the Hill. Today, the Capitol building contains two active legislative chambers, a ceremonial supreme court chamber, and the working offices of top state officials. The Capitol Hill Complex has grown to include Senate, House, and state office buildings. Inside the Capitol and around its grounds, a wide variety of original artwork, treasured artifacts, and historical monuments are on display."

Access, Parking, and Maps 
The Capitol is located on East Capitol Blvd. 
There is plenty of parking surrounding the Capitol Building, on the hill perched above Memory Grove. 

walking path at Utah State Capitol Building

There is a circular gravel walking path surrounding the Capitol Building.  There are benches, garbage cans, and doggie bags along the way (dogs allowed!).  In the spring, this is a popular place for photographers, bridal pictures, and family portraits.  It is also a popular walking path in the evenings.   If you want to extend your walk, you can follow the stairs down into Memory Grove Park and City Creek Canyon.  Here you will find a beautiful park, off-leash dog area, and uphill walking and biking path up City Creek Canyon. 

trees at Utah State Capitol Building

The master plan and restoration of the state Capitol included planting more than 400 new Yoshino Cherry trees, which have a beautiful pink color when in bloom, and 24 Bradford Pear flowering trees.

Cherry blossoms at Utah State Capitol Building

Cherry blossoms at Utah State Capitol Building

Utah State Capitol Building

Of all the nation’s statehouses,  Utah’s may most closely resemble the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is a beautiful place to come visit after work, and walk along the path.  It is especially gorgeous in the spring time when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.  

The Capitol Building also serves as the backdrop for many famous pictures and videos.  Believe it or not, one time I went for a stroll up here and was greeted by the Batmobile and the Piano Guys filming a segment.  

I got the free liv performance. (Skip to 2:33 to see the capitol building) 

Piano guys at Utah State Capitol with Batmobile

Happy Spring in SLC!

You never know what you may find!~ Katie Wanders 


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