State Capitol Series – Madison, WI

As many of you know, I am a history nerd and more specifically an American history nerd. For quite some time I had an unofficial goal of visiting all 50 states. Then in 2009, shortly after visiting state number 38, I got hung up on the fact that I hadn’t done a consistent thing in each state (like buying a spoon, haha!). This “concern” led me to restart with a more specific goal in mind – visiting all 50 state capitol buildings!

In November, I met the lovely Sarah Shotts from the Love Letter to Adventure blog. Sarah challenges her readers to share their adventures on her blog and through a Facebook page. The more I have thought about “adventure,” the more I realized that I wanted to document our state capital travels (thanks for the prompt, Sarah!).

I have decided to start with the most recent capitol we visited and work my way back. My boyfriend (and household trip planner) has the goal of hiking in all 50 states, so I will post a bit about those adventures as well!

Sunflower Paperie blog - Madison, WI capitol exterior 2

We visited Madison, Wisconsin this past November (2014) and not only did I love the town, but the capitol building was beautiful! A common question I get when I share my goal with others is if I mean visiting the capital (town) or capitol (building). My very specific goal is touring each capitol building.

Sunflower Paperie blog - Madison, WI dome

The capitol in Madison has guide-led tours during weekdays, so we tagged along on one of those. The tour was approximately an hour and covered a lot of the artwork that is in the building. While it is home to the house, senate and supreme court for the state, none of the branches of government were in session during our visit.

Sunflower Paperie blog - Madison, WI interior 2

Some Wisconsin facts… Wisconsin joined the Union in 1848 as the 30th state. There were several capitol buildings prior to the current capitol structure which was built between 1906 and 1917. The artwork in the capitol is a nice mix of murals depicting the Native American and immigrant history of the state, along with Greek inspired renderings of the history of democracy and politics.

Sunflower Paperie blog - Wisconsin state capitol badger

Wisconsin is known as the “badger state” because coal miners would “badger into tunnels” during the brutally cold winters to survive! There were several badgers throughout the capitol, but this one above the door was my favorite!

Sunflower Paperie blog - Madison, WI capitol exteriorPictures definitely don’t do the Madison, WI capitol justice! It is a beautiful building, with amazing artwork and history. If you are ever there, I would highly recommend the guided tour! You can learn more about the building and its history here.

While in Wisconsin we also hiked at Devils Lake State Park. We hiked the Bluffs trail which went all the way around Devils Lake. After a pretty steep incline at the beginning of the hike, the trail leveled off and we were able to enjoy the scenery. About halfway around the lake we descended to a beach area with picnic accommodations and bathrooms. We then climbed a very steep trail to gain access to the bluff on the other side of the lake and looped back around to finish our hike.

Sunflower Paperie blog - Wisconsin hikeThe weather in November was perfect for hiking – cool, but not so cold that we needed coats and with the sun out, it was perfect! The first half of the hike was not very trafficked although we saw more people on the last half (after the very steep climb).

Sunflower Paperie - Devils Lake hike

The next state capitol and hiking adventure I will share is Helena, Montana, so stay tuned!

3 Comments on State Capitol Series – Madison, WI

  1. Sarah
    April 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks so much for linking up and for the shoutout Kate! 🙂 Love this quest to see all 50 state capitols and hike each state.

    Funnily enough Nathan & I were married in Devil’s Den State Park. Where do they get these names from? (It looks gorgeous by the way. Great photos all around!)

  2. Kajsa
    May 1, 2015 at 8:59 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! That’s such a great adventure!! I love history too, and art and architecure, so an adventure like this sounds totaly amazing to me. I wish you good luck and look forward to seeing more pictures from your travels. 🙂 The building you’ve photographed here is really beautiful. Especialy like the pic of the dome from bellow (I guess it is?).
    I’ll see you in the treehouse. 😉

    • SunflowerPaperie
      May 1, 2015 at 9:52 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Kajsa! One of my favorite parts about the capitol tours has been the amazing architecture. A couple of the states really have spectacular domes, so my expectations are always high when we visit somewhere new! 🙂 See you in the Treehouse – love it!


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