27 August 2012 -- This is the last of the New England state capitals we visited...5 of the 6 New England states this trip, with only Vermont remaining to be done another time.
New Hampshire takes their state motto, "Live Free or Die", seriously...a little fun fact for those of you not from this area and a big surprise to me; in NH you only have to wear a seat belt if you are under 18 yrs of age. I did not know that and don't know if there are any another states that have rules like that...none that we have visited that I have noticed anyway. The state motto and the Old Man of the Mountain are on the license plate, and the ship "Raleigh" on the flag and state seal.
New Hampshire was the 9th state to join the Union in 1788, with the Capitol building being finished and occupied in 1819. It is the oldest in the country in which its legislature still meets. The grounds are really pretty, with one of the 53 copies of the Liberty Bell and statues of famous New Hampshirites throughout. Daniel Webster was the most prominently displayed, but John Hale, a prominent abolitionist of the time, made the cut also. Franklin Pierce was somewhere on the grounds but I missed him--he was the 14th president of the United States that served from 1853-1857, and I believe a relative somewhere along the line of Barbara Bush.
NOTE: This is only the 2nd Capitol building we have entered, along with Wyoming, that had no security to go through to enter.
The entrance to the building and the Senate chambers were the nicest parts of the inside of the Capitol. They had over 200 paintings, but I only posted Harriet Dame...she was captured twice by the rebels while serving as a nurse in the Civil War, but they said she was released both times with high praise from her captors. They seem to always have a token woman hung on the walls of these buildings, so I thought I would give her a little shout out! haha
They had all kinds of info on the state being the 1st primary in the presidential elections...very proud of this!
The Senate chambers were really nice, especially the painted panels behind the lectern up front...they say they represent NHs contribution to education, politics, art and industry/military. NH has only 24 state senators, the 4th smallest Senate in the country.
The House of Representatives isn't as impressive as the senate, but interesting in its own right. It has 400 members and is the largest representative body at the state level in the country, only exceeded by the British House of Commons, the House of People in India, and the US House of Representatives. Like Maine, New Hampshire has only about 1.3 million people, so it has one rep for approximately every 3000 citizens, a world record. It also has more than 100 women, another world record! Both the House and Senate members serve 2 year terms, making only $100 salary a year.
Unlike most states, NH has what is called an Executive or Governor's Council, 5 people elected in 5 equally-apportioned districts throughout the state. Only Massachusetts has a similar body (which I never heard of and read nothing about while I was in that State House). It basically serves as another check on the Governor, approving his/her appointments, pardons, and all state contracts in excess of $5000! This is where they meet...right outside the Governor's office.
We have noticed that in most states there is usually a prominent church somewhere very near the seat of political power, but in NH it really stood out for the number of different churches it had with a 2 block walk. Directly across the street was this Christian Scientist church donated by Mary Baker Eddy back in 1903.
This Catholic Church was 2 blocks away (the furthest) and was built in 1933.
This Baptist Church was directly across from the Christian Scientist Church.
And then this Episcopalian Church was directly across the street from the Capitol on the other side from the Christian Scientist Church!!! This was the only one open, so we went in and found out that Franklin Pierce once belonged to this church. It had really nice windows, and we posted this last one cause we thought it looked like a couple of hippies from the 60s. haha The woman even has a string tied around her head!
The 1st picture here is the state library and the last is the offices of state workers. Especially liked the offices of the workers.
Off we went next to the State History Museum, run by the NH Historical Society. It was a terrible museum that truly did no justice to the state. We were in and out in about an hour...it started back 12000 yrs with the People of the Dawnland.
I am really working hard here to get a story to tell...I am seen here as an irritated Dawnland person trying to get a fire started. haha
Then we quickly went to exhibits of Civil War stuff like this hardtack, (I posted it because it talks about bugs in the food), scales and phones of an earlier era, and Civil War coats. Again, like Maine and some of the other states in New England, they really need to get a grip on their history.
So we have gone to 14 state capitals total so far, with another 7 on the schedule to be visited as we head back to Texas starting next Tuesday, 4 September. I know I have you on the edge of your seat with all this info, so stay tuned!!! haha