California State Capitol : Michelin's recommendations
Topped by a massive dome, Sacramento's most prominent landmark echoes the Neoclassical style of its federal counterpart in Washington, DC. Begun in 1860, the Capitol underwent many alterations over the years and had become somewhat decrepit by the 1970s, when a proposal to move government activities to nearby office towers threatened its existence. The approaching US bicentennial, however, galvanized local interest in preserving this historic building, and over the next few years it was renovated to its original splendor, complete with mosaic floors and crystal chandeliers. Granite was employed on the ground floor, while lighter white-painted bricks face the two upper floors. The pediment over the main entrance on the west side, supported by Corinthian columns, shows Minerva surrounded by Justice, Mining, Education and Industry. Several first-floor rooms, including the offices of the Governor and the Treasurer, have been restored to their early-20C appearance. The grand rotunda is dominated by the finely decorated dome soaring 210ft overhead. Visitors may observe proceedings of the Senate and Assembly in their chambers on the third floor. The grounds, encompassing 40 acres, are known as State Capitol Park and harbor more than 300 labeled species of trees (tree list with map available at visitor center in basement). At the park's east end is the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 22 shiny black granite panels bearing the names of 5,822 Californians dead and missing in the Asian conflict of the 1960s and 70s (15th St. & Capitol Ave.).