Our 2019 Road Trip, Part 20: Under the Dome, Georgia Edition

GA State Capitol!

Not a very crowded area at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’d been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we aimed for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness. Before we went to D*C, there was the road trip to get there, and the good times to be had before the great times at the big show.

After my little shopping diversions we had time for one more attraction before all the major tourist-related businesses would close for the day. As it happened, Anne had exactly one stop left on her to-do list, the capper on her quest for local and national history from another state’s perspective. Thus the Georgia State Capitol became the latest addition to our collection of state capital domes.

This would be our eleventh dome, I think, counting DC. We’ve missed a few capitals because they’ve never been an absolute must in our priorities. We’ve definitely seen more Presidential burial sites than State Capitols. Which reminds me, one day we’ll have to return to Georgia one day to pay respects at Jimmy Carter’s final resting place, though at the rate he keeps persevering, he may outlive us both on sheer force of goodwill.

(Quick note for the curious and for future historical context: flags in our August 28th photos were at half-mast in honor of Judge Stephen S. Goss of the Georgia Court of Appeals, who passed away August 24th.)

GA Capitol 2nd Story!

Columns, a pediment, and other classic architecture we’ve come to expect from our capitals’ capitols. Up at the top, you can just barely make out the Georgia Coat of Arms.

Liberty Plaza.

Next door is Liberty Plaza, a gathering space dedicated in 2015 and containing Atlanta’s 1950 replica of the Liberty Bell, same size as the original in Philadelphia.

Declaration Preamble!

Mounted nearby is a choice quote from our Declaration of Independence.


Inside view of the capitol dome from the rotunda.

Georgia House of Representatives!

The Georgia House of Representatives, not in session. The place was empty except for security and perhaps two or three straggling government employees, tops.

Senate chandelier!

Our view of the Senate chamber. We didn’t check if the door was locked. We try to be respectful in mostly deserted buildings.

GA Office of the Governor!

I presume the line for furious Stacey Abrams supporters began here.

The 2018 gubernatorial election was the least of the scandals we ran across in our self-guided tour. We stopped at a room on the map labeled “Snack Bar” in hopes of picking up a few calories to tide us over till dinner. What we found was a break room containing a bit of homey art and some vending machines with shocking contents. All week long, every restaurant we dined at shared two common traits: lovely southern hospitality, and Coke products as their exclusive soft drink of choice. Even before our visit to the World of Coca-Cola we knew Coke was kind of a big deal ’round these parts, but their virtual monopoly on the local dining scene surprised us anyway. Everywhere we went, Atlanta was all about Coke, Coke, Coke.

Everywhere except in the Georgia State Capitol. Some seditious rebel broke ranks and stocked several Pepsi-Cola products in their soda pop machine. I’m not sure if this was a commendable display of marketplace objectivity, some employee’s idea of a prank, or a result of someone checking the wrong boxes on a supply order form. But really: Pepsi in Coke-town?

Pepsi in GA!

Authorities had no comment because we didn’t ask.

The State Capitol includes a Georgia Capitol Museum, a series of arts and display cases across the upper floors. Historical artifacts and Georgia curiosities share space and tell the Peach State’s story.

GA Capitol paintings on levels!

Paintings and more fun with architecture.

Richmond Hussars flag!

Flag once carried by the Richmond Hussars, a cavalry unit dating back to the early 19th century. Its full backstory isn’t known, but odds are this was retired early into the Civil War.

Women Lawyer pen!

Whit this pen, Governor Nathaniel E. Harris signed a bill into law at long last granting women the right to practice law in Georgia in the Year of Our Lord 1916.

Prohibition pen!

With this pen, Governor Hoke Smith signed off on Georgia’s first statewide Prohibition bill in 1907. The aforementioned Governor Harris would sign more sweeping Prohibition restrictions into law a decade later.

ballot box!

An old-fashioned ballot box. Back in the day, hacking them required more primitive schemes.

two-headed calf!

This two-headed calf is reportedly one of the more popular pieces on display. Apparently they’re Georgia’s answer to Li’l Sebastian.

Georgia on My Mind!

Sheet music for Ray Charles’ 1960 cover of Hoagy Carmichael’s 1930 hit “Georgia on My Mind”, now the official Georgia State Song. (Charles’ version was also once sampled in a rap song.)

100 millionth US telephone!

In honor of their 100 millionth US telephone installed in 1967 AT&T sent gold phones as gifts to all fifty U.S. governors. This one belonged to Georgia’s own Lester Maddox, once a restaurateur who closed up his business for good rather than desegregate in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

ERA memorabilia!

Remember the Equal Rights Amendment that was a thing back in 1972? As of today, Georgia remains one of 13 states that have never ratified it.

Carter the dog?

Possibly the meanest piece of anti-Jimmy Carter campaign souvenirs we saw this week.

But wait, there’s more! To be continued!

* * * * *

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email sign-up for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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