A Western Pisa-work

*Dedicated to a political savvy, onetime U.S. capital resident, old building appreciating girl who goes by the name of Nicki.


Helena, Montana.


One afternoon, a few short weeks ago, my mom and I needed to take a trip over to Helena. We had errands to run and well, in the middle of all that, we decided to duck inside the state capital to have look around.


The cornerstone for this Greek Neo-Classic structure was set on July 4th, 1899.  I read this capital building resembles the one in South Dakota.  Probably because the architects, Kent and Bell, were commissioned for both.


It saw completion in the summer of 1902 and has had some renovations through the years to bring it back to its original glory.


And if you’ve seen my post about the Deer Lodge mansion you know I love “them kind” of old structure happy endings!


Speaking of the Deer Lodge mansion…this place has a bit of stained glass too, though not near as impressive as the Bair residence.  I have an upcoming post in the works about their stained glass and a bit about Warner’s new book…Oh yah, I got invited back!


Anyway, this is looking back down the grand stairway.  The floor below, before an earthquake in 1935 , was originally blue glass.  It’s now tiles in the image of the original blue glass.

I should mention that the interior designer for this place was a firm out of Ohio, they also did the stained glass work.


The amber glass roof above is called the barrel vault.


It was incredible how it bathed the entire area with a gorgeous glow.  Hey, it’s “Golden Hour” all day in that space!

*Givin’ a nod here to the Buckeye state:  O!  H!  …   I! … O!!  You guys did good.

The original painting in the arch is called “Driving in the Golden Spike”.  It’s a scene that depicts the completion of the transcontinental line of the Northern Pacific Railway at Gold Creek back in 1883.


I took this shot through the glass doors of one of the Senate Chambers.  Why?  The doors were locked.  Obviously, they actually use these facilities and don’t want looky-loo’s poking around.

Who us?!  Be someplace we shouldn’t?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

If things are locked and signs are posted we obey.



That was okay.  There was plenty to see to send me on over load.


Like this side entrance.


With its incredible lanterns…


and other wonderful touches.

The façade, if you were wondering, is of sandstone brought up from around the Billings area.  Portions of the buildings wings are of granite from the region.


If I wouldn’t have cut off the top of this picture you would see that the copper dome is topped with a variation of Lady Liberty.


And here…this was taken from the highway above Helena…up so high that there was no risk of cutting anything off – well, except my air.

Okay, not really, but my ears did pop once or twice.


8 thoughts on “A Western Pisa-work

  1. Wow….what a truly gorgeous building. Love all the curves and colors and that golden glow everywhere just highlights the craftsmanship behind all the beauty doesn’t it…..I’m a big fan of stained glass AND old buildings so these shots made my morning. Bravo!

    Pam (and Sam peeking over my shoulder)


  2. I never get tired of seeing your photographs and reading your comments. Your perspective is artistic and the touch of history makes this all fun to read & very educational. I think you should write books.


  3. If you go to the World Clydesdale Show in Madison, Wi. don’t miss that capital building on the SQUARE. You will be amazed at it’s beauty. I was there with Joyce and Betsy a couple weeks ago and I can now see I should have taken more time in the photos I did take. So you go and report back. Yours will always be better and the story more fun to read. Don’t stop you have a great gift, and I love receiving it!


  4. Why thank you!! I loved the tour! And I do love old buildings, I aways imagine the people that have walked the hallways and how much history has happened within the walls…. What a breathtaking building. The buildings back then were a work of art in many ways. I have been wanting to go down to Olympia and see what the inside of their capital looks like here in Washington. I see the beautiful dome everytime we head down to Jer and Hill’s. I must make a journey down soon!


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