Colorado State Capitol

Colorado State Capitol visits figure on many Denver vacation itineraries, and this has a lot to do with the attraction of the structure's impressive design. Built out of Colorado granite, this mostly gray-colored, neoclassical structure on Colfax Avenue is crowned with a golden dome that helps to make it stand out on the Denver skyline. Actual 24-karat gold leaf was used to cover the dome, and this encapsulates a piece of history from the Colorado Gold Rush days. The gold plating was added in 1908, while the building itself dates back to 1886. Colorado Capitol tours give wonderful insight into the design and history of the Mile High City's most beautiful building, and they are offered throughout the year.

Comparisons between the Colorado Capitol Building and the U.S. Capitol Building are often drawn, and there are various reasons for this. For starters, the buildings boast a similar, neoclassical design. They are also surrounded by similarly named streets, including a Pennsylvania Avenue and a Lincoln Avenue for each. One of the more interesting things about the Colorado Capitol Building is the inscription that can be found on the fifteenth step of the structure's western entrance. This inscription reads "One Mile Above Sea Level," referencing at Denver's Mile High status. Interestingly enough, this inscription was based on an erroneous 1909 measurement. A subsequent measurement led to the placing of a brass cap two steps higher, though that measurement was also off. Finally, the correct measurement was exacted in 2003, and today, the thirteenth step boasts the official one mile above sea level marker.

One of the best things about the Colorado Capitol tours is the fact that they are free. The tours are offered every 45 minutes between the hours of 9:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from September through May, and between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. during the summer months. Groups of ten or more are required to make Colorado State Capitol tour reservations in advance so that the tour staff can accommodate them. Things that visitors can see on Colorado Capitol tours include the beautiful rotunda and the building's numerous stained-glass windows. The windows depict people and events that have helped to shape Colorado history, including the famous educator, Emily Griffith. Back in 1916, Griffith established a special alternative school in Downtown Denver that has managed to survive to this day.

There are many interesting things to observe at the Colorado Capitol Building, and it's worth noting that excellent views of the Rocky Mountains can be enjoyed from the west entrance steps. The mountain views are particularly splendid at sunset. Before sunset, some of the other things that visitors might check out include the bronze statue of a Civil War soldier that can be found out front and the palace-like interior of the building, which is adorned with native Colorado marble. This marble, known as Colorado Rose Onyx, is extremely rare. In fact, the entire known supply was depleted during the building of the Colorado State Capitol.

For anyone interested in the governmental process, it is worth noting that House and Senate sessions are open to the public at the Colorado Capitol Building. Visitor galleries are in place for the sessions, and these galleries are open between January and early May.

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