November 20, 2019

San Francisco, California: things to do


Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 

For plenty of great suggestions about things to do in San Francisco and Northern California, please visit my blog that is devoted to that area, Weekend Adventures Update.  

That blog is a continuation of my out-of-print guidebook--WEEKEND ADVENTURES IN SAN FRANCISCO & NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.  It features travel destinations throughout Northern California and presents them in small, easy-to-digest chunks along with plenty of photos so you get the picture.    
Even more great weekend adventures--as well as information about destinations around the world--await you at my BERKELEY AND BEYOND website.

More things to do in San Francisco

Way more things to do in San Francisco.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

image © Raul Flores

November 13, 2019

Guest Post: Tour the Statues at West Virginia's State Capitol

Guest Post:  Tour the Statues at West Virginia's State Capitol

by Renate Pore
images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


The classical-style West Virginia State Capitol sits on a scenic site facing the Kanawha River.  The building was constructed in three stages between 1924 and 1932, and is one of the most beautiful and impressive buildings in West Virginia.  The architect behind it was Cass Gilbert, who also designed the U.S. Treasury Annex and the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.  The top of the building is graced by a shining dome of 23.5 carat gold leaf.  At the time of my visit, the dome was wrapped in plastic for repairs.  If you visit, don’t expect to see the dome in all its shining glory until 2021.

Also located on the State Capitol grounds are the History Museum and Governor’s Mansion.  The Great Hall of the History Museum displays hand-made quilts in honor of the state’s tradition of quilting and other folk art.


A jaunty General Stonewall Jackson stands on the lawn of the West Virginia State Capitol.  Jackson was born in western Virginia and won fame fighting for the Confederacy even though his home would be one of 55 counties seceding from Virginia to join the Union Cause.  Commissioned in 1910 by the Daughters of the Confederacy, the statue was created during the Jim Crow Era when states and localities were passing laws to enforce segregation.  Because of its association with a shameful period in the nation’s history, there have been some calls to remove the statue from its place of honor and relegate it to the State Museum.  So far, however, Stonewall Jackson still stands.

“Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight” is another statue commemorating West Virginia’s Civil War history.  It stands on the south side of the State Capitol and shows a grieving President Lincoln, sleepless because of the pressing burdens of the Civil War.  West Virginia became a state in 1863 because the people of western Virginia identified more with the North than with the slaveholding confederate states of the South.

On the west end not far from Stonewall Jackson stands the statue commemorating 32,000 soldiers, sailors, and marines from West Virginia who fought for the Union cause in the Civil War.  Some years ago when the bronze statue was repaired, it was coated with a plastic substance which gives it its orange look. The strange hue was very upsetting to the locals who were used to the seeing their statues in greenish bronze.

West Virginia is coal, and coal is West Virginia.  A burly coal miner in a hard hat graces the northwest side of the Capitol.  The base of the statue depicts scenes from the coal-mining era--from the days of pick and shovel to continuous miners.  Today, coal mining is a dying industry and coal miners are working-class heroes from another time.  About 13,000 people continue to be employed in underground or mountain-top-removal mining.

The West Virginia Veteran’s Memorial is a two-story oval monument honoring more than 10,000 West Virginians who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending the nation in twentieth-century conflicts.  Composed of four limestone monoliths surrounded by a reflecting pool, the interior walls are faced in polished black granite etched with the names of these men and women.  The Memorial was designed by P. Joseph Mullins, who also sculpted the four figures representing the four major twentieth-century conflicts and the four major branches of military service.  The statue in the photo depicts a sailor from World War II.

The “West Virginia’s Female Veteran” statue is also part of the West Virginia Veteran’s Memorial described in #6.   The statue of the woman warrior was the last piece added to the memorial.  It became controversial when the sculptor decided to depict the woman in fatigues.  Female veterans wanted a statue showing a woman in dress uniform.  To accommodate everyone, engraved copper plates around the base of the statue depict women in more formal dress.

This statue of Booker T. Washington stands on the north side of the State Capitol.  Booker Taliaferro Washington lived about 10 miles southeast of Charleston in Malden, West Virginia.  He was an educator, author, orator, and advisor to United States presidents.  The last of the black American leaders born into slavery, he became a leading voice against the oppression of former slaves and their descendants during the Jim Crow Era.

This bust of Anna Jarvis stands next to the information desk on the main floor of the West Virginia State Capitol.  Jarvis grew up in Grafton, West Virginia, and is credited as the founder of Mother’s Day in the United States.  After the death of her mother, she organized an aggressive campaign to establish a National Mother’s Day, and thanks to her efforts, by 1911 almost every state in the nation was celebrating Mother’s Day.

(Renate Pore migrated from California to West Virginia in the late 1960s.  Although there is no place like California, Renate got hooked on West Virginia--the semi-rural life style, the mountains, the breathtaking spring when all the trees suddenly burst out in bloom and the serene days of fall when the weather is just like California.  Renate felt West Virginia could use her skills and talents and has had a long and satisfying career as a health care activist badgering federal and state  policymakers to do the right thing on health care.  Renate is retired now but working on events to celebrate the Centennial of the 19th Amendment--women's right to vote--and its ratification in West Virginia.  She is a political junkie and looks to California to lead us to a new and better place.  Renate lives in Charleston with her sweet, shaggy, red-haired boy, Ollie.)

More things to do in Charleston, West Virginia.

More ideas for travel adventures in California and the U.S. and around the world.