Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Gems of Helena

After Whitefish, I moved on to Helena, the capital of Montana. So, guess what is the first gem of Helena? The capitol!

Helena has these selfie spots all over town. Should I try it?

Maybe not - it's not so easy to do when you are taking photos with a camera, not a phone, and can't see what you're taking a picture of. The new version of my camera, the Canon SX730, has a screen that flips up so you can see what you are photographing.

Patricia and I went on a very good free tour of the capitol. The rotunda is beautiful, with pictures of Montana explorers in the four corners.

Above the Grand Staircase are statues of Mike and Maureen Mansfield.

Senator Mike Mansfield agreed to the statue only if his wife was included.

Above the Grand Staircase is a "barrel vault" ceiling, and a painting at the end. The painting is "Driving the Golden Spike." It shows Ulysses S. Grant driving the spike that completed the Northern Pacific's Transcontinental line. (The nation's second transcontinental line)

The most famous thing in the Montana capitol is this 25' by 12' Charles M. Russell painting in the House Chamber. It shows Lewis and Clark (in the upper right hand corner) meeting the Salish Indians at Ross' hole on September 4, 1805. This is where they got the horses to get them across the Rockies before winter came.

Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea in the upper center.

But here's the funny part-- Every person and animal in the painting is focused on Lewis and Clark except this wolf/dog in the foreground. He looks like he's about to bite the head off the Speaker of the House. Turns out Russell did not like the Speaker, but later they made up and became good friends.

The second gem of Helena is the Cathedral of St. Helena.

It is certainly one of the most beautiful churches in the country.

Completed in 1924, the highlight is the 59 huge stained glass windows.

Made in Munich, Germany, 37 of the windows tell the story of Christianity, from the fall of Adam and Eve (shown here) to the Church in the early 20th century.

Amidst all the saints and religious moments, this pane of Columbus seems out of place, but I guess it helps complete the story.

Although these are called stained glass, to me they seemed more like pieces of glass with intricate paintings on them. Just gorgeous!


  1. Good memories. You seem to have gotten more out of the tour than I did. Nice job.

  2. Great tour:) We did both of those this summer on our Lewis and Clark Caravan. Almost missed the Cathedral due to timing issues, definitely a must see.


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