1. Iowa. This is a nifty building that's bright and shiny without being gaudy. It's got a big dome and four subsidiary minion domes, possibly minarets, for no other reason than that the designers liked this idea. They look like this:
2. Kansas. A pretty basic standard model capitol building from the outside, with sunflowers planted around it, its glories are on the inside, with the tall and impressive dome which you can climb inside on precarious stairs all the way up.
But most impressive was the long historical mural on one wall. It's by an at-the-time controversial 1930s Kansan nationalistic artist named John Steuart Curry. The most famous part of it depicts John Brown in Bleeding Kansas days and looks like this:
Kansas gets honorable mention for having the best tour guide. Young, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, he not only gave a lively and intelligent presentation but also offered to take us up the dome even though that wasn't supposed to be part of our tour. Like Iowa but unlike the others, Kansas has metal detector security; like Iowa's but unlike an airport's, the guards were friendly and reasonable.
3. Missouri. An even bigger standard model capitol building, it bears the additional intimidation of being situated atop a hill, meaning you're already tired by the time you get inside. Inside it's darker and more intimidating than the previous two, except for one legislative reception room that's not dark but sure is intimidating, as three walls are completely covered by a riotously colorful and action-filled historical mural by Thomas Hart Benton, which looks like this:
4. Nebraska. What the hey? Designed and mostly built during the 1920s futurist era, this looks both outside and inside like an escapee from Fritz Lang's Metropolis (with about as much color sense, too). The outside is something of a cross between Hoover Tower, only much uglier, and the Dark Tower from C.S. Lewis. It looks like this:
Our tour guide was so deadly dull we abandoned the tour after ten minutes. Apparently, from the sound of it, a fully paid-up member of the Slow Talkers of America, he spoke with the weird emphases of an insincere TV news anchor, and took us down the corridor in minute increments to explain the symbolism of each floor mosaic in greater and more numbing detail than the last.