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Today’s quote

Thursday, Sep 26, 2013

* James Krohe Jr. wrote about the Statehouse remodeling controversy. He doesn’t think much of it. Krohe’s conclusion

The Capitol is a singular building. If you want to mock the pretensions of the original conception, go ahead; they verge on the preposterous.

But attempting to aggrandize self-government is not an entirely contemptible gesture, and in this case it left the people with a museum of vanished craftmanship that dazzles by its sheer exuberance if not its taste. It is unique, priceless, irreplaceable. Almost everyone who sees it with unjaundiced eyes realizes that we could never do that today. Sadder still, we would never dare to try.

I for one would like to see Illinois officials try a little harder to be as big as their building.

I’m in total agreement with that last line.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===…It is unique, priceless, irreplaceable. Almost everyone who sees it with unjaundiced eyes realizes that we could never do that today. Sadder still, we would never dare to try.===

    Spot on.

    We are fortunate to have a 19th Century gem of a Statehouse. That quote above is where I am at, and like Rich, I can not agree more with the close.

    There is nothing wrong, with preserving the grandure of the Statehouse, but quite a bit wrong if that upkeep and modernizing ruins what makes Illinois’ Capitol special, unique, and grand of a building as it was meant to be when it opened.


  2. - OneMan - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    See it through the eyes of a kid. When I used to go down for gifted ed day it was always fun to see how the kids looked at things, the worn stairs, the dome, etc…

    Yeah spending that kind of money is a little tone deaf right now, but compared to a lot of other stuff the state spends on, I am ok with this.


  3. - Norseman - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Quote was good, but I feel compelled to reject the implied notion that one has to be in total agreement with the renovation results or be in favor of maintaining the Capitol with Menard clearance items.

    Having once had an office in the building and spending so much of my career roaming the halls, I want it to be a beautiful edifice that Illinois residents can take great pride in. I simply believe that alternative less costly decisions could have been made that would have still met that goal.


  4. - reformer - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    Editors who should know better but who adopted the Tea Party line should be ashamed of themselves.


  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    === I simply believe that alternative less costly decisions could have been made that would have still met that goal. ===

    That’s quite possible, even probable in some cases. But as I wrote in the Sun-Times over the weekend, there would’ve been a hue and cry over something, no matter what. It’s the way the game is played. If the doors cost half as much, for example, it might still be a big story. So, the top dogs just batten down the hatches and do what they want.


  6. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    Agree 100%. It was a few years back that I went to our nation’s capitol for the first time since I was a kid. I was absolutely in awe over the majesty of our buildings and monuments. They are as big and bold as the vision and courage of the men and women who brought the dream of America to life.

    Our capitol building should represent the boldness and power of its citizens and of its importance in our national union. I have no issue with what has been done.


  7. - Out Here In The Middle - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    I’ve had the opportunity to walk through a number of other state capitol buildings and for my money (and some of it IS my money) nothing matches it. Some of the more modern capitols seem like the local ‘McGovernment’ franchise and many of the other older structures seem dowdy and run down by comparison. I’ve never talked to anyone from another state government who walked through that building and didn’t come away impressed. It is definitely a treasure.


  8. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    The indignation over this issue has been ridiculous from the start. People really need to move on and recognize that this issue is a non-issue. If you are griping about this then you likely already have problems in general with anything that state government does. This was just the latest thing to latch onto. Something else will come along for you to direct your righteous indignation at.


  9. - siriusly - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    I love our capitol building.

    The James R. Thompson Center on the other hand is ugly, was a huge waste and continues to be an energy / efficiency vampire.


  10. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    Late summer story. No legs.


  11. - Norseman - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    === there would’ve been a hue and cry over something, no matter what. It’s the way the game is played. If the doors cost half as much, for example, it might still be a big story. ===

    Agreed. It’s something the folks should have prepared for. Part of the story was the initial trouble tracking down the expenses. It sounded like they were trying to hide something.

    I think the Capitol Architect and board did themselves a disservice when they didn’t document in better detail the historical basis for some of these decisions. That documentation could have been used as a handout during a media tour. Instead, the information seemed to trickle out as follow-up to media questions initiated by the gotcha attitude.


  12. - Norseman - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    P.S. Brown’s snide comments certainly fed into the gotcha mindset.


  13. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    Siriusly: only lowly state employees for the most part toil in this dirty, run down architectural mistake…the carpets are original, thin, and collect all the dust and filth that filters in from the city and CTA in the basement…on many floors the carpet is held together with duct tape…the windows haven’t been washed in years…
    it does hold an extensive and probably valuable collection of art, but everything is in such a state of disrepair and filth, that it doesn’t make much difference…


  14. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    Had the James R Thompson Center been built to the architects specs, it would not be a vampire.


  15. - Sir Reel - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    Sometimes it’s worth it. Two State buildings in Springfield illustrate. The Revenue building was one of Thompson’s ideas and today looks dated and almost shabby. The State Library was built under then SOS Edgar and is a timeless, beautiful building that complements the Statehouse. I’m OK with maintaining the Statehouse in its original form.


  16. - Stones - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    I think if this crew had to build a new Statehouse today it would probably look like a Tuff Shed.


  17. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 4:44 pm:

    Can’t wait to tour the building and get my picture taken in front of the famous doors. Will have Jim Morrison singing on my iPod.

    When the previous renovation was done a few years back, a group of us had a tour guide who explained a lot about the paintings and statues. Wonder what will be added to the narration.


  18. - D P Gumby - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 4:50 pm:

    Problems w/ both Willard Ice and Thompson has been a woeful failure to maintain. Don’t know if there is enough money to repair Thompson since, as was said, corners were so severely cut during construction. But it is certainly shabby now.


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 26, 13 @ 5:05 pm:

    Compared to the problems that can occur with the building of new large public spaces, you could sing love songs about the $50 million Capitol renovation.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/25/arts/design/santiago-calatrava-collects-critics-as-well-as-fans.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&


  20. - bored now - Friday, Sep 27, 13 @ 6:53 am:

    i’d hope that all elected officials would try to live up to the dreams and deaths that gave us self-governance…


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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