Monday, May 21, 2012

The South Carolina State House

On Friday, May 18 we visited the South Carolina State House in downtown Columbia.  We were staying with friends Kathy and Rocky Stratman who live in Lexington, SC -- about a 45 minute drive.

The South Carolina Statehouse is recognized for its beauty and is the fourth capitol building for the state. Construction was begun in 1855. However, the outbreak of the Civil War slowed construction, and then Union General William T. Sherman trained his cannons on the structure and pretty much ruined everything except the walls.  Today you can see where cannon balls struck the granite walls by looking for a the bronze stars that mark each spot. The building was finally completed in 1907.

The State House interior is really stunning with beautiful woodwork, detailed wrought iron, stained glass, polished brass, ornate ceilings and leather.  This is one of two identical staircases leading to the second floor.
A spacious lobby is outside the house and senate chambers.  The balcony leads to visitor galleys.
I took this photo from the stairs to the balcony in order to show the detail of the iron castings that support the balcony.
This stained glass mosaic is composed of over 3,000 pieces of glass.
The 124 members of the South Carolina House of Representatives cast votes in this chamber. Unfortunately,my photo of the Senate Chamber is not good enough to include.
The State House sits on 18 beautifully landscaped grounds replete with many monuments.  This bronze casting is one part of a much larger African American History Monument and is the first of its kind on any state capitol's grounds.  This is a representation of a ship's hold with 336 enslaved Africans chained together for the duration of the trans-Atlantic voyage.  It really makes you think about how we were as a country back in the 19th Century.

How fortunate we are that so much of our history in all 50 states has been preserved for future generations to discover.

Back to Lexington

Sandy and I spent Saturday and Sunday morning with Kathy and Rocky at their lovely home on the shore of Lake Murray.

We talked, play games, shared good food, played with the dogs and spent time on the back porch overlooking the yard.

I also volunteered to help Rocky witrh a small repair project on their house.  Sandy was on standby to hand me necessary tools and suggestions.
Here is Beaux after a game of Frisbee in the back yard. And... is Stella ...and is Stella again in her hang-dog look.  She had  just been busted for opening and sampling a couple of bars of goat milk soap from Florida.  Can't you just see the guilt written all over her face?
Beaux, being a younger and wiser dog, immediately left the room.  We all had a great laugh.

We might end up on TV

On Sunday, May 20 we left Lexington and drove about 160 miles to Black Mountain, SC.  A small community at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains.  On the way we decided to stop for lunch.  We didn't want a fast food meal and found a restaurant in the small community of Clinton, SC called FATZ.  

While FATZ does not strike me as a good name for a small chain with 42 stores, it has excellent food and service.  We were warmly greeted at the front door and given a booth in the bar area.  The bar was closed for Sunday and we soon discovered why we were there.

They company was filming new commercials for TV and were looking for suitable, non-Madison Avenue types to be interviewed without any script or prompting.  I guess they thought we looked respectable enough and so they moved us to the main dining room
where we were interviewed on camera before and after our meal.

But instead of getting union scale, we had our meals comped.  All in all another unique adventure on the road. 

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