CFFC: Pastel Colors

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with her color series – this week it is pastel colors.

Some flowers are bright, while others have muted colors. Most marigolds are bright, but these are soft yellow and white.
Dahlias come in all colors – some are bright, some are light.


Wilted orchid

Artists experiment with all kinds of color schemes. These are some pastel colors in artwork.


“Hazel” (2019) in pastels – artist is yours truly!


A recent exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute featured drawings by 17th century Dutch masters. This pair is “A Portrait of a Man” and “A Portrait of a Woman” by Jan de Bray (1650) – black & red chalk on ivory laid paper.

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Edouard Manet “Vase of White Lilacs and Roses” (1883) – oil on canvas

Pastels in sculptures


Fish sculpture, Poulsbo, WA


Chinese Reconciliation Park, Tacoma, WA

Pastel buildings – Passau, Germany


Baroque stucco roof


Carved block from a church



Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Creativity

Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge #42 is the topic Creativity.

I love to visit cities where I get a surprise free art show! In Lincoln, Nebraska last May, after visiting tourist attractions such as the Capitol and the Sunken Gardens, I Googled restaurants and found Lazlos, in the old part of downtown. After lunch, we walked around and across from the restaurant was an alley that local artists had decorated with murals, whimsical sculptures, and more. It reminded me of Black Cat Alley in Milwaukee, which we had visited the previous November. There were a variety of styles and media.
The face sculptures were done by Mary Kolar and the stars by Ann S.
This family was created by Julie McCullough out of discarded miscellaneous objects.

Andy Peters created a sculpture (at right) using the theme of the painting at left.

I think these are boats?
This 1960s-style mural took up a large section of wall.
I like the way this artist used the contours of the windows when painting this mural.
Jen Gay was the creator of this piece.
And here’s a warning!
A few days later, we spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Denver hosted by artist Marlene Feinholz. Most of her paintings have local themes, but there are some unusual pieces too.
This space, essentially a “garden apartment” below her residence, used to be her studio, but she decided to move her studio upstairs and rent out the apartment to visitors to Denver. Most of the artwork (with the exception of a couple of Picassos she apparently picked up in Spain) was her own.



WPC: Works of Art

Sue W.’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Work of Art.  Works of art are everywhere – an artist’s painting, a mural on a wall, a beautiful building, or natural works of art – a sunset, a rainbow, blooming flowers, animals – and animals creating their own works of art!  A work of art doesn’t have to be spectacular – it can be quite “ordinary” as long as it is aesthetically pleasing. Here are but a few samples of works of art I have photographed.

Artwork at the Art Institute of Chicago:


John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925), La Carmencita, 1890, oil on canvas




Charles White (American, 1918-?), Abraham Lincoln, 1952, Wolff crayon and charcoal on paperboard

Colorful mural on a wall in Des Moines, Iowa
Political art in a café, Des Moines, Iowa
Modern sculpture, Mason City, Iowa
Stockman House, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Mason City, Iowa

Nature’s works of art:
An arrangement of orchids at a supermarket
Lotus flower, Chicago Botanic Garden
Wild sunflowers in my neighbor’s garden – she looked at this scene and said she had a natural work of art right in her backyard!
Sunrise, Des Moines, Iowa (seen from our hotel room window)
Trees bending over and reflected in a creek, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Yellow-breasted weaver making a nest to attract a mate (not only is the bird a work of art, but he has created his own work of art in this intricate, tightly woven nest), Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Works of art can also be heard, rather than seen – here is violinist Joshua Bell playing “The Swan” by composer Camille Saint-Saens.



Getting Our Kicks on the Road in Oklahoma (Route 66, Day 7, Part 1)

June 14, 2018

We left Oklahoma City this morning, and acquired our new Oklahoma Route 66: The Ultimate Road Trip booklet along the way, which lists many more exciting attractions than the AAA guide we’d been using up to that point! This Oklahoma guide has the advantage of listing all the attractions in order as one finds them along the road. I would advise anyone traveling the Mother Road to visit a tourist bureau as soon as possible when entering each state to obtain whatever guide the state publishes.

On the other hand, one can’t possibly see everything, so must pick and choose according to time and interest.  For example, in Oklahoma City, we missed…
Tower Theater (ornate, historic 1,500 seat theater built in 1937), 425 NW 23rd St.
Oklahoma History Center (Smithsonian-quality exhibits exploring Oklahoma’s geological, commercial, heritage and transportation history; has gift shop and café), 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr.
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (art museum featuring western artists,, including several large-scale works)
Memorial Park Cemetery (often called the “Ozark giraffe!”), 13400 N. Kelley
…among other sites!

We were anxious to see Pops, where a 66-foot tall soda bottle, with a straw, rises in front! This is one of the newer attractions along Route 66, located 1/2 mile west of Arcadia, OK (660 W. Hwy 66, Arcadia, OK, This, perhaps the tallest soda bottle in the world, welcomes visitors to a store dedicated to 700 soda varieties. I had told Dale that I was willing to taste one or two, even though I haven’t drank soda in more than 2 years. Alas, we arrived before they were officially open for the day, so although we were allowed to walk around inside the store and take photos, they were not serving soda at that time.


This LED soda bottle lights up in red and blue at night.



Dale makes a face at me through the glass entrance.

Colorful soda bottles line the glass walls inside the steel-beam structure, but when we looked at them up close, we found that the bottles were actually glued to the shelves, for display purposes only. I suppose they have a storeroom full of (cold?) sodas of every variety, but I don’t know for sure.




From there, we stopped when we saw the Round Barn (107 E. Hwy. 66, Arcadia, OK, It is the only wooden round barn in Oklahoma.  We only stopped to take a photo, but apparently there are exhibits, a gift shop and outdoor displays of primitive farm implements. It also houses the Arcadia Historical & Preservation Society and the second floor can be rented for special events.
We then stopped to look at this plaque alongside the road.
We are not particularly interested in motorcycles so we didn’t stop in Warwick to visit the Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum (336992 E. Hwy 66, Warwick, OK).

We did pass through Chandler but we didn’t check out the St. Cloud Hotel (1216 Manvel Ave., Chandler, OK), since we had visited some other historic hotels. It was built before Oklahoma became a state, in 1903, and provided lodgings for thriving commerce of salesman and travelers along the route that would become known as Route 66. This hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places.
A couple of other things in Chandler seemed photo-worthy, though: a historic, very cute Phillips 66 Filling Station, which is in the process of being restored…
and a weird bison statue that I didn’t think was a very good rendering of a bison.
If you are into pioneer history, it might be worthwhile to check out the Lincoln County Museum of Pioneer History at 719 Manvel Ave. in Chandler. This historical museum contains area history, children’s marionette exhibits and rare, silent movies by cinematographer Benny Kent. They also have materials for genealogy research! The phone number is 405-258-2425.

Our main destination in Chandler was the Route 66 Interpretive Center, supposedly one of the best Route 66 museums along the Mother Road. Located at 400 E. Route 66 in Chandler, it is housed in a historical armory building. It features one-of-a-kind video archives covering Rte. 66 sights and sounds from the 1930s to present day. 20180614_102223
We were given a brief tour,
the guide telling us about the history of the
building and other things;
then we were free to explore the exhibits.
We were ushered through a hall used for special events – they were in the process of setting one up.

Beyond this hall were the exhibition rooms. While we were there, we happened to meet a couple from Australia, who were coming the other way on Route 66. They told us to be sure to check out a vacuum cleaner museum in Missouri (more on that in a future post), which they found to be fascinating. We looked around but didn’t stay to watch the videos, although the exhibits were cleverly laid out where you could sit in period seats to watch historical videos from corresponding decades.20180614_103222
There was also a children’s play area, using characters and sites from the movie Cars to engage kids.
I admit, we rushed through this place – perhaps we were jaded after days of seeing Route 66 historical displays. I actually would recommend this place as one of the best Route 66 museums.

It was probably at the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, located at the interpretive center in Chandler that we picked up our invaluable guide to all the Oklahoma Route 66 sites. A lot of the information I am including in this and the previous post (which included the sites up to Oklahoma City) comes from this booklet, Oklahoma Route 66: The Ultimate road Trip. We found out about many other attractions that we otherwise would have missed (or already had!).  Really, though, unless one is an absolute Route 66 fanatic, it’s impossible to see them all, and it depends on one’s interest.

The final Chandler site is the Lincoln Motel, built in 1939, with cottage-style rooms and a fine neon sign; it’s a retro haven! It is located at 740 E. 1st St. in Chandler.

Our next destination in Oklahoma was Rock Café at 114 W. Main St. in Stroud, convenient because it was time for lunch!
This iconic Route 66 landmark has been reopened after a fire, still retaining its walls made from rock leftover from building Route 66!

Around the sides and back of the café, the ground was covered with a layer of spongy chips, perhaps from old tires.
It’s an interesting place, with lots of fun memorabilia and bathrooms full of graffiti where everyone is invited to add their (tasteful) graffiti. I tried to do this, but first had trouble locating a vacant space to write and then discovered the pen I had available to write with wouldn’t write on that surface!



A placemat showing Route 66 and sites along the way.


This was my lunch – a bison burger accompanied by breaded fried green tomatoes.

Bathroom graffiti: on the door, the walls, and the ceiling!



Stroud also has wineries:
Territory Cellars, 1521 N. Hwy 99, Stroud. One of Oklahoma’s newest wineries with spacious patios and tasting room. You can make dinner reservations and include wine pairings.
StableRidge Vineyards & Winery, 1916 W. Route 66, Stroud, has locally made wines and tasting room in a historic church built in 1902. It also offers tours and a gift shop.

Other stops along the route between Stroud and Tulsa:
Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy, 25198 S. 481 St. W. Ave., Depew, OK.
Bristow Historical Museum, Depot and Town Square, 1 Railroad Pl., Bristow, OK, 918-367-5151.
Sapulpa Historical Museum, 100 E. Lee, Sapulpa, OK.

Of course there are many sites to see in Tulsa, but we planned to get to Springfield, Missouri by the end of the day, so we only went to one: The Golden Driller statue. Located at 4145 E. 21st St. in Tulsa, this statue is 76 feet tall and weighs 43,500 lbs. It is the largest free-standing statue in the world. Installed for the 1966 International Petroleum Exposition, it is Oklahoma’s official state monument and the most photographed landmark in Tulsa.

Perhaps to capitalize on the Golden Driller as a tourist attraction, right next door was Josh’s Sno Shack!20180614_134018
Other Tulsa attractions:
Circle Cinema, Tulsa’s only remaining historic cinema and non-profit art-house theater, showing independent, foreign and documentary films. 12 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, OK.
Blue Dome Service Station, built in 1924, this historic building was a Gulf Oil Station and the first gas station in Oklahoma to have hot water, pressurized air, a car wash, and 24/7 service. The restored dome is a landmark of the Blue Dome Entertainment District, which has unique restaurants, shops and nightlife. 311 E. 2nd St., Tulsa, OK.
Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood Ave., Tulsa, OK, is home to Mabel B. Little Heritage House and a photographic exhibit of the tragic 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, and a gift shop. It’s located in historic Greenwood District, once known as “Black Wall Street.”
Boston Avenue United Methodist Church – this one I am sorry to have missed. This church at 1301 S. Boston, Tulsa, OK is a significant example of Art Deco architecture. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available and admission is free. Call to find out if it is open: 918-583-5181.
Cain’s Ballroom, at 423 N. Main St. in Tulsa, is a historic music venue on the National Register of Historic Places and has hosted many top musical acts including Bob Dylan, U2, Dolly Parton and many others. It is known as the “Carnegie Hall of Western Swing.”
Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza at 1390 Southwest Blvd. in Tulsa is a public plaza built to honor Tulsa native, Cyrus Avery, as the “Father of Route 66.” There are flags of all the Route 66 states around “East Meets West”, a large bronze sculpture depicting the conflict between early automobiles and horse-drawn traffic. The plaza sits at the end of a preserved 1917 bridge over the Arkansas River.
Two interesting art museums: Philbrook Museum of Art, a combination of historic home, gardens and collections, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located at 2727 S. Rockford Rd., Tulsa, OK.  The nationally acclaimed Gilcrease Museum, at 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road in Tulsa has one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Native American and Western art, as well as extensive exhibits on America’s prehistory settlement and expansion, and 23 acres of outdoor gardens.

I think I’d like to visit Tulsa again sometime and spend more time exploring these places!








Oddballs: Crazy Sculpture Park

September 28, 2018

We have been taking a short trip into Iowa, and spent a day and a half in Des Moines. We went to a well-known sculpture park, but I had heard about another one called the “Crazy Sculpture Park” located somewhere on the south side of the city. We stopped there on our way out of town. The weird sculptures we saw there definitely fit the “oddball” category, so I am dedicating this post to Kammie’s Oddball challenge. (Thank you, Kammie, for taking up this challenge from Cee! It has been one of my favorites!)20180928_095810
All-seeing eye?

Fake little outhouse!20180928_100534
Acrobatic dive?
20180928_100425An egg-shaped space ship about to launch?


RDP: Panoply of Animals

I didn’t set out to collect little animals, but in truth I love collecting little things from different cultures, and animals are universally loved. I have collected small animal figures from Mexico, Brazil, Tanzania and others that I have either acquired or inherited.

I tried to fit most of them on one shelf for this photo.
20180923_153317_001Behind this animal panoply are portraits of my parents (in the middle – the woman with the pink hat and scarf is my mother, and next to her is my father), Dale’s parents (black & white photo on the right) and my great-grandparents in back on the left.

The animals include alebrijes (whimsical,colorful animal carvings from copal wood in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico); several ceramic birds as well as a small snail, mostly from Mexico; and black clay animals (including an armadillo, two birds, and a turtle) all of which are whistles, also made in Mexico by an elderly potter in the late 1960s who claimed to be the daughter of a Mexican mestiza woman and a French soldier – she had blue eyes.

On the left, in front of the portraits of my great-grandparents, is a fish made out of a gourd. I bought this in northeastern Brazil. It was made by an indigenous artist from the Amazon region.

The birds mounted on wood in the front at left (a loon and two other birds) are ceramic and were inherited from my mother. At right, a rather fearsome beaded animal is a lion, made by Maasai women in Tanzania. Next to the lion are two small turtles, part of a turtle collection that belonged to a woman from my church who died and asked that at her memorial service, the attendees should select one or two from her collection as a remembrance of her.

Next to the lion, a strange sort of dragon-looking green ceramic creature with horns, long fangs and white spikes along its back is a hodag. This legendary animal originated among the lumberjacks of northern Wisconsin, and it became the official symbol of the town of Rhinelander. The story goes that some of the seasoned lumberjacks built a hodag out of some realistic-looking material which resembled a reptile, and somehow rigged it to move its tail and eyes. They placed it in the woods to be “discovered” by the newbie lumberjacks, and according to the story, it worked! The rookies were scared of this animal they had never heard of before, at least at first.
As they looked more closely at it, they realized it was fake, but the legend stuck and the hodag became famous in those parts. My family home had several hodags – either ceramic or stuffed. My mother had spent part of her girlhood in Rhinelander!


This hodag greets visitors to Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

My most recent acquisition is a green, white and red striped snake, coiled in front of my mother’s portrait. I bought it yesterday at a Craft Fair hosted annually at my church. The sculptor, a young, rather shy man named David, had a display of lots of his fanciful clay animals, many with two heads! I asked if he let them harden naturally or fire them in a kiln. He said he bakes them in his oven!

These are the stories of my panoply of animals. I probably will continue to add to it as I find others that strike my fancy!



CB&WPC: Carvings & Sculptures

Cee’s Black & White Challenge this week is sculptures, carvings and statues.

I have always loved Native Southwestern art and had often coveted my oldest sister’s collection of Navajo kachinas. Recently, I’ve begun to collect them for myself.  The first one I got is the round faced one with a feathered headdress, at the Crazy Horse Monument store in South Dakota. The second, the fearsome wolf in the background, I ordered from a Southwest Indian Foundation catalog last winter. In June, I bought several smaller ones in New Mexico. I display them all on a shelf between my living room and dining room. They are carved in wood, with other materials (such as feathers and
leather) added, then painted.
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I saw this weird sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute earlier this month, in the section of ancient Roman art. It struck me as unique, so I took this photo.

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Statue of a Young Satyr Wearing a Theatre Mask of Sileno (about 1st century Roman, restored 1628 by Alessandro Algardi [1598-1654]; marble)

The following are all from the Santa Fe state capitol. This one, of children playing, is in front of the capitol building.
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Like most state capitols, the one in Santa Fe contains a collection of art. This carving was inside, in the capitol’s art gallery.
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Detail of a multimedia buffalo head
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To see more of the Santa Fe state capitol, go to my upcoming post in my capitol series.

Getting Our Kicks Standing on a Corner and a Giant Jack Rabbit (Route 66 Day 4, Part 1)

June 10, 2018                           Sedona to Gallup via Winslow & Holbrook, AZ

We left Sedona this morning, heading north toward Flagstaff and back onto Route 66.


The iconic Bell Rock, near the southern end of Sedona, rises up in its orange sandstone beauty.


I don’t know the name of this rock formation, but it is at the northern end of Sedona.

We passed the exit for Meteor Crater (I-40 Exit 233) because we had been there before (If you have never been to Meteor Crater, it is well worth a visit – quite a spectacular round depression in the middle of the desert. I have included the link above.)

Meteor Crater

(Photo downloaded from the Meteor Crater website).

…and continued on to Winslow, Arizona.


Entering Winslow on Route 66, this sculpture is one of the first things you see. Falling Meteor #2 was created by Jerry Peart and donated to the people of Winslow.

…made famous by the Eagles’ song Take It Easy: “I’m standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…”  Of course, Winslow has capitalized on this fame, with an entire area surrounding the corner of 2nd St. (Route 66) and Kinsley Ave. dedicated to tourist traps, eateries and photo opps!20180610_132659.jpg
DSC_0549DSC_0550DSC_0552On the now-famous corner, there is a life-sized statue of a young man with his guitar standing in front of a life-sized mural showing the “girl in a flatbed Ford” in a window’s reflection. 20180610_132218.jpg
In 2016, a bronze statue of Glen Frey (Eagles co-founder) was added after his untimely death earlier that year.DSC_0551


The corner property at 2nd & Kinsley was donated for use as a park by the Kaufman family, who have lived in Winslow for 5 generations.

Bricks have been donated to raise funds for the restoration of the mural.
Down the street, there is a walkway lined with commercial businesses where the “world’s smallest church” is located.


15 miles east of Winslow (if on I-40, it is exit 269 at 3386 Old Hwy 66) is the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. It was opened in 1949, and the owners, in order to make their shop stand out from hundreds of others, placed “Jack Rabbit” signs up to 1,000 miles away which told how many miles it was to the shop. When you get there, there’s a huge sign that says “Here It Is!”20180610_140652d
Inside this store one can find almost anything related to Route 66 as well as fine Indian jewelry and crafts and other unusual souvenirs.

I ended up buying four small kachinas to add to my (growing) collection!  Outside the shop stands a huge fiberglass rabbit with a saddle – kids, get up and ride on him! It makes a fun photo opp!20180610_140427d
The façade of the shop has weathered murals featuring Southwestern Native American designs…

…and this jack rabbit mosaic, on the ground in front of the main entrance.

Leaving the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, it is only a short distance to Holbrook, with another of only 3 remaining Wigwam Motels. Of course, we didn’t stay there because we had stayed at the one in San Bernardino and it was still mid-afternoon. However, weary travelers can find the Wigwam Motel of Holbrook, Arizona (I-40 Exit 285 & 286) at 811 W. Hopi Dr. (Junction of Hwy 180 and Historic Route 66). The price is right and it is a unique experience to stay in one of the last of this dying chain!

In the Petrified Forest National Park, 25 miles east of Holbrook, is the Painted Desert Inn. Because of the beauty of this inn and the national park, I took many photos, so I will publish it in a separate post.


Capitol Series #1: Lincoln, Nebraska

May 29, 2018

On our recent road trip, going out to California, we chose our destinations. I had never been to Nebraska (the only state completely west of the Mississippi that I had never set foot in), so on our way west, we stopped in Lincoln and North Platte, Nebraska. (Yesterday I posted about Bailey Rail Yard in North Platte).

Lincoln, the capital, was the city in Nebraska I really wanted to visit. Having driven all day yesterday from Chicago, we stayed overnight in Omaha, then the next morning drove the 50 or so miles to Lincoln.  Our first stop was the capitol building. SONY DSC
I am including this post as my contribution this week to Norm’s Thursday Doors weekly challenge, because there are at least three doors among these photos!

There was some construction going on at the capitol building, so we could not enter via the front door. Instead, we were directed by signs to enter on the east side of the building admittedly not the prettiest doors!SONY DSC
Nebraska’s capitol reminded me somewhat of the capitol building in Bismarck, North Dakota, in that it was built in an art deco style. However, Nebraska’s capitol does have a dome at the top, which the North Dakota capitol did not.

In 1922, when the new capitol building was commissioned, the architect included two artists, sculptor Lee Lawrie and mosaicist Hildreth Meiere, on his design team in order to integrate art and architecture. Since these artists were from New York, they relied on a Nebraskan Professor of Philosophy Hartley Burr Alexander to develop a thematic program to guide their work. Alexander’s guidance can be seen throughout the building interior and exterior.


This interior door, my favorite, is decorated with a brightly colored Native American theme. 

Meiere’s floor and ceiling mosaics representing the natural, social and political development of Nebraska were influenced by Alexander’s ideas.20180529_102339d
Some of the mosaic murals were abstract… SONY DSC

SONY DSCwhile others depicted pioneer life.SONY DSC




The rotunda floor had interlocking circles with Romanesque themes, surrounded by borders depicting various animals.
It was the day after Memorial Day, a popular time for school field trips.
This is the dome you see if you stand in the middle of the rotunda and look up. Can this possibly be the dome on top of the building? I don’t think so.
A chandelier shaped like SaturnSONY DSCCeiling above this chandelier
There are elevators available to go up to the Congressional offices and possibly,
get a look at the dome at the top.  (The statue on top of the dome is called “The Sower,” a person casting the seeds of life to the winds. It was created by New York sculptor Lee Lawrie.)
Follow this hallway to enter the House of Representatives.20180529_105916
House of Representatives (We were not able to visit the Senate).
The ceilings in the hallway were beautiful works of art in themselves….20180529_103337
…and so were the floors.
A blocked door at the end of the hallway above
The Nebraska Hall of Fame took up two hallways, with busts of notable Nebraskans…
including Willa Cather (author), Mari Sandoz (novelist and historian), William Jennings Bryan (statesman), Standing Bear (Ponca chief), Hartley Burr Alexander (philosopher, professor), John Gneisenau Neihardt (Poet laureate), Gilbert M. Hitchcock (journalist), Alvin Saunders Johnson (humanitarian, educator), among others.

Oh, and not to forget the most famous of all, Red Cloud (Oglala Lakota warrior) and William Frederick Cody “Buffalo Bill” (soldier, showman of the West).

Outside the capitol was the Lincoln monument. It is the only structure on the grounds that predates the construction of the capitol. At the 1912 dedication of this monument, William Jennings Bryan spoke to a crowd of thousands. The statue was sculpted by Daniel Chester French, commissioned in 1909. The bronze statue’s posture is one of reverence over a grave, representing Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which is carved on a stele flanked with eagles.
I thought the state capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska was the most beautiful I have ever seen. However, on this trip, I was to see four more!