I am nearing the end of the first segment of my road trip from Southern California to the Chicagoland suburbs to visit my parents. For my final stop, I decided to visit Springfield, the capital of Illinois, the state that contains Chicago.
Springfield has the Capitol building, along with a handful of other historic sites linked to historic figures. I figured a visit to the State Capitol was iconic and symbolic enough that it would be worth a stay in the city. However, I’m not really much of a history buff, and most other tourist attractions here are generally for history enthusiasts, so I only booked my stay for two nights.
The outside of the building was pretty nice, with serene landscaping, two large fountains, and various different statues spread across the plot.
Due to the pandemic, it seemed like the Capitol had reduced operations, and three out of the four doors were closed. But, I managed to find my way around to the north entrance and arrived just in time for a guided tour of the interior.
Our first stop was the House of Representatives. Apparently this room was used as a set in the filming of Legally Blonde 2: Red White & Blonde. The tour guide explained that the director loved the chandeliers in this room so much that they did a wide shot for the movie… which proceeded to shatter the sense of immersion that they worked so hard to achieve throughout the rest of the movie, because they wanted to make it look like it was filmed in Washington, D.C., and that House doesn’t have chandeliers.
The tour guide shared some other fun facts as well. For example, the smaller chairs mark the desks that are currently unoccupied. The desks with phones indicate the desks of the leaders. The little devices at the corner of each desk are the voting machines, where you press a button to vote yes or no, and also have access to summon assistance if needed.
Next was the Senate. This room wasn’t quite as exciting as the House, but nevertheless, an important component of the legislative branch of the Illinois government.
The Capitol building is three stories tall. The ground floor was originally called the basement, and the first floor was the middle floor, but after the architect was requested to make some adjustments to accommodate more office space, the stairs to the previous first floor were removed and replaced with additional offices, and the main entrance was rerouted to the basement, which ended up becoming the new first floor.
After seeing the legislative branch, we moved on to the executive branch. Most of that section of the building were rows of doors leading to offices, but there was a special separate section for the governor’s office. The glass office is where the public enters and goes through initial processing by the administrative staff, then once they’re ready to speak with the governor, they are led through the brown doors to the left.
I had a few other photos of some of the statues and art, but unfortunately, there were four children in my tour group who always seemed to get in the way of my pictures, and I don’t want to post photographs of minors on my blog.
This concludes my one-month journey starting in Long Beach and going through Lake Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Rawlins, Denver, Wichita, Kansas City, and Springfield. Tomorrow, I make the final three-and-a-half hour drive to the northwest suburbs of Chicago to visit my parents.