The NCSL Blog

08

By Mark Wolf

Tap the keg, grill the brats and pass the kringles. It's time to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Wisconsin Capitol domeThe Capitol Building in Madison was completed in 1917, just 10 years before the birth of Senator Fred Risser, the nation's longest serving state lawmaker.

Wisconsin State Journal reporter George Hesselberg engagingly chronicles the past and present of what he calls a "century-old stone garden of democracy."

"Gilded but accessible, stoically nonpartisan, grand but utilitarian, the state Capitol turns 100 years old this year.

"These haven’t been easy years for a building that has never taken a day off but was built for full-time work under all conditions."

Wisconsin, the badger-topped statue that stands atop the nation's only granite dome, has been struck by lightning and scratched by falcons, Hesselberg reports, and has also "been frequently misidentified as 'Forward' and, worse, 'Mrs. Rennebohm.' "

Mrs. Rennebohm was the wife of Oscar Rennebohm, owner of the Rennebohm Drug Store chain and Wisconsin's governor from 1947-1950. Some would have you believe that Mrs. Rennebohm was pointing out where the chain's next store would be located.

Celebrations of the Capitol's centennial will occur throughout the year. Best way to keep track is on the official Capitol Centennial website.

Mark Wolf is editor of the NCSL Blog.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.