Wyoming’s State Capitol building was dedicated with a festive ceremony that included Wyoming National Guard aircraft happening to fly by, and inspiring words by dignitaries, including the governor.
The Capitol Celebration ceremonies and community event was held Wednesday, July 10, at the State Capitol in Cheyenne. With the celebration events, the Capitol project is now complete.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon addressed the large crowd at the Capitol steps, which filled an expansive area from the steps to the sidewalks and flowed across the street.
“I have always been awed by our Capitol's significance to Wyoming and our way of life,” the governor said to prior to the event. “The hard work that has taken place these past several years will surely delight generations to come, and I look forward to welcoming the public to join me at the Capitol Square Open House and Celebration.”
The blessing was offered by Baptist minister Nathan Winters and Episcopal priest Bernadine Craft, who praised Wyoming as “the first government on the face of the earth to grant women the right to vote,” which was followed by applause.
Coinciding with the festivities was the celebration of the 129th birthday of the State of Wyoming.
The posting of the colors was carried out by Wyoming National Guard Joint Color Guard and The National Anthem was sung by Dyann Dierks. The welcome and opening remarks were delivered by Senator Drew Perkins, president of the Wyoming Senate. While speaking, Perkins noted a Wyoming National Guard C-130B flying overhead.
“It looks like we arranged a flyover,” he said to the delight of the crowd.
Prior to the official ribbon-cutting and opening the doors of the grand building to the public, remarks were also delivered by other dignitaries, including Tony Ross, Chairman of the Capitol Rehabilitation & Restoration Oversight Group; Representative Steve Harshman, Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives, and former Wyoming Gov. Matthew H. Mead (2010-19), who delivered the closing statements.
The Capitol Square project was comprised of four interrelated construction projects. The Capitol has undergone extensive rehabilitation to replace outdated building systems and added critical life safety infrastructure, and addressed public space needs, especially the need for larger meeting rooms. This invasive work created the opportunity to restore historic building features.
There was painstaking and detailed restoration of visual and artistic elements as well, including the addition of art, sculptures and many fine building details.
“I doubt this building has ever looked this grand and beautiful – probably better even than the day it was brand-new,” one observer said.
Surrounded by the recently restored 1888 decorative paint, four new bronze sculptures now stand in niches in the rotunda of the Wyoming Capitol – called the “Four Sisters.” Commissioned by the artist Delissalde, he created a group of four feminine allegories, which represent key values and attributes of Wyoming and its citizens.
The oldest sister, “Truth,” leads the way, illuminating the path for Wyoming’s pioneers. Next is “Justice,” who sets the course for Wyomingites to live freely and peacefully. “Courage” allows citizens to carry on, encouraging and supporting them through hard times. And the youngest sister, “Hope,” inspires residents to continue striving for the future, building the best Wyoming possible.
The Capitol Extension, the below-grade building that connects the Capitol to the Herschler Building, has been expanded by 28,000 square feet to accommodate public space that could not be met in the Capitol, including large public meeting rooms as well as space for a future auditorium, visitor’s center, and student learning center.
The Herschler Building has been remodeled and expanded by 56,000 square feet to house functions displaced from the Capitol. The atrium on the north side of the building has been removed to improve building efficiency and security and to restore views to the Capitol.
The existing central utility plant, serving five state buildings, has been replaced, relocated and expanded by 15,000 square feet to accommodate additional equipment.
The celebrations encompassed the entire Capitol Square and the adjacent streets and parkiong areas, including the Wyoming State Museum. With the flair of a street fair, the celebrations were packed with entertainment, vendors, tours and special events and guests.
Entertainment was plentiful and free. Performing in advance of the event was Canyon Kids - Folk/Rock Band, along with many popular local food trucks. Other entertainment included performances by Ballet Wyoming, Wind River Dancers, The Woodpile, Indie Folk/Rock Band, The 64th Army Band, League of Her Own Acting Troupe and the Fort D.A. Russell Post Band.
Evening feature entertainment was provided by Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band, followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m, which concluded the celebrations.
(This story contains corrections from the 7-12-19 print edition).