October 20, 2003
In the center of the building is the rotunda. Unlike the rotunda at the Capitol in Washington D.C., which you can see from outside the building, this rotunda is inside the building. Skylights in the rotunda help light the building.
Under the rotunda is the only statue of George Washington created while he was still alive. The sculptor was a well-known French artist of the time named Jean Antoine Houdon. Houdon visited Washington in the U.S. and he made models and took measurements of Washington. He returned to France where he completed the statue and shipped it to Virginia.
Along the walls of the rotunda are busts of all the other Presidents that have been born in Virginia. There is room for an eighth bust and that space is occupied by a bust of General Lafayette.
The room that was previously used a meeting place for the House of Delegates is now a museum. A bronze statue of Robert E. Lee is located on the spot he stood when he accepted the command of the Confederate forces. Other statues and busts of Virginians are located around the room including likenesses of Patrick Henry, Stonewall Jackson, John Marshall, and Sam Houston. The only non-Virginia natives honored with busts are Jefferson Davis and Alexander H. Stephens, president and vice-president of the Confederacy.
The former Senate chamber has paintings depicting historic events in Virginia's history. One painting represents the establishment of the first permanent English settlement in America. It shows three ships bringing the first settlers to Virginia. Another painting representing the winning of national independence depicts the storming of British Redoubt Number 10 in the last battle of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown.
The tour of the Capitol is free. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and everyone we met was very friendly and helpful. The Virginia legislature still meets there and the governor has an office on the second floor in the rotunda. I hope to visit again sometime soon.
From journal Labor Day Week at Williamsburg