May 24, 2016
THIS YEAR THE STUDENT COUNCIL VISITED THE SAMUEL HUNTINGTON HOUSE, RIGHT HERE IN SCOTLAND, AND GOT A GLIMPSE OF HOW PEOPLE LIVED BACK IN THE 1700’S AND SPECIFICALLY HOW SCOTLAND’S MOST FAMOUS RESIDENT LIVED AND BECAME SUCH AN IMPORTANT PERSON DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
AFTER ARRIVING IN HARTFORD, THEY HAD A PICNIC IN THE BEAUTIFUL ELIZABETH PARK AND THEN HEADED TO THE LEGISLATIVE BUILDING AND THE STATE CAPITOL BUILDING WHERE THEY LEARNED HOW CONNECTICUT LAWS GET ENACTED AND HOW OUR GOVERNMENT WORKS HERE IN CT. ON THE WAY HOME THEY MADE A QUICK STOP AT “SHADY GLEN,” FOR A CUP OF ICE CREAM BEFORE HEADING BACK TO SCHOOL.
The gold-domed marble and granite Victorian Gothic building, opened in 1878, is adorned with spires, statues, medallions, bas-reliefs, stained glass, and stenciling. It houses working government offices including the legislative chambers and the Governor’s office. Historic displays include the 18-foot tall Genius statue that once topped the dome, a replica of the Liberty Bell, a statue of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, Israel Putnam’s tombstone, the Marquis de Lafayette’s camp bed, a model of Civil War Admiral David G. Farragut’s flagship Hartford and the wooden figurehead from the original ship, the statue of Civil War Governor William Buckingham, and the battle flags of Connecticut regiments from the Civil War.
The Genius of Connecticut
Artist: Randolph Rogers
On display in the north lobby of the Capitol is the original plaster model used in the casting of the bronze Genius.
Randolph Rogers, the artist who designed the bronze “Columbus Doors” on the nation’s Capitol, called the piece “The Angel of Resurrection”.
The use of the word “genius” connotes that she is a protector figure or a symbol of the spirit of the people of Connecticut.
The model was made in Rome and the 3.5 ton, 17 feet 10 inches tall figure was cast in Munich, Germany.
The statue stood atop the Capitol dome from 1878 until 1938.
In 1938 a great hurricane hit the eastern coast of the country.
The Genius was damaged and people feared that she would fall from the dome.
After a long debate, the statue was removed and placed in the basement.
In 1942, the piece was donated to the federal government and melted down as part of the war effort to make ammunition and machine parts.
In the statue’s right hand (viewer’s left) is a wreath of immortalis or dried flowers to symbolize long life.
In her other hand is a wreath of Mountain Laurel, the state flower.
On her head she wears white oak leaves for strength from our state tree.
The statue’s outstretched wings are to protect the people of Connecticut.
The Genius has “Roman Toes”; her second toe is longer than the big toe. Some people believe that women with such toes will be placed in positions of power or importance.
The plaster model was restored in the 1980s.
At that time a special internal support system was designed for her wings and arms and she was painted bronze.
The roman numerals on the marble base are for 1878 (when the bronze statue was placed on the dome) and 1987 (when the model was given a new base).
Charter Oak Chair
The Charter Oak Chair stands on the dais in the Senate Chamber.
It was carved in 1857 from the fallen oak tree, which in 1687 hid the self-governing charter given to the Connecticut colony by King Charles II in 1662.
The Charter was hidden to prevent British officials from returning it to King James II.
The top of each post is ornamented with an acorn springing from a coronal of oak leaves, while the posts and arms are entwined with branches of oak with leaves and acorns.
The chair is massive, all the carving being wrought from the solid wood.
Over the years, the chair has also become known as “The Wishing Chair”.