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Seal for the State of Ohio on display at the State house in Columbus, Ohio
1. Last week, my family had an opportunity to go with the co-op to visit the Ohio Statehouse. Izzy and Noah are starting their study of government and civics, so I really wanted them to participate in this trip. When Mr. Pete said he would take the day off, I knew this would be a good chance for us to build a family memory. I'm trying to build more and more of those these days with my last three children, keeping in mind that Noah is a junior and soon he will be busy with his life after high school.
2. We were fortunate to have a very knowledgeable tour guide. Our first stop was to the bottom of the state house where we could see the very strong foundations of the building, built by prisoners from the state penitentiary. Remembering that there was no steel in this structure, made it all the more remarkable. The bricks and rock were laid out in very strong arches in a design that has served the structure well for over 100 years.
3. Apparently back in the 60s and 70s, the building was remodeled into something that was very plain and "modern" for the time. The beautiful ceilings were covered with ordinary drop ceilings, and everything was simple and drab. But when the building started showing severe signs of wear and tear, the state not only updated and repaired, but restored it to its original design and grandeur.
4. This painting hangs very prominently in the state house.
It portrays Commodore Perry's victory on the battle of Lake Erie during the war of 1812. This was particularly meaningful for Noah, because Noah loved reading about this battle when we were studying the War of 1812. Perry's bravery and quick wits were what remained with Noah the most I think, so it was very special to see this portrait so prominently displayed in our state capital.
This is the rotunda of the state house. Many celebrations and balls have been held here in the past.
President Abraham Lincoln's body reposed here as part of his funeral train procession from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. The president's body was guarded by civil war soldiers while 50,000 Ohioans passed by to pay their respects. I'll admit that the thought of this brought a lump to my throat.
Our guide told us that this is re-enacted every April 28.
There were other momentoes of this event in the State House museum.
6. There once was a walk way between the statehouse and the senate building and you had to decide how lucky you felt when walking that way. This was a favorite spot for pigeons to gather and there droppings were every where. From time to time, pedestrians were hit!
The atrium between the two buildings was finally built in 1993 and walkers can safely walk "Pigeon's Run." But Pete the Pigeon was preserved via taxidermy and still sits on the west side as a nod to this little bit of state history and trivia!
7. A group called, We've Known Rivers, put on a wonderful presentation for Black History Month with a remembrance of Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The children learned more about Mrs. King's background and how she met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We also learned more of the personal details, from Mrs. King's perspective, of the assassination of her husband.
After the presentation, I thanked the actress for her fine job, and one of her friends asked me what I got the most from the program. I told her that I hadn't realized how young Mrs. King's children were when her husband was assassinated, and that I absolutely felt for her when she decided that she needed to stay with them instead of traveling to her dead husband's side. I felt for her as a mother, and the three of us stood there nodding and talking about how any crisis and motherhood brings women together. It was a nice moment.
All in all, it was a beautiful field trip on a brisk winter day - full of history and memory making for the students and for our family.