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    MaymontMaymont Richmond, Virginia
    Maymont is a magnificent Victorian estate that occupies a hundred acres of land in Richmond, Virginia, containing the Maymont mansion, native wildlife displays, a nature center, a petting zoo called the Maymont Children's Farm, formal gardens and a carriage collection. Major James H. Dooley, a rich philanthropist and Richmond lawyer and his wife, Sallie, would finish their opulent Gilded Age estate on land that sat high above the James River, in 1893, and when they both passed on, the estate would be given to the people of the city. During the next 75 years, more attractions would be added to the beautiful estate. The estate would be named for the major's wife, Sallie May, with the construction starting in 1890 and completed in 1893. The couple would build a cottage in Nelson County, in 1913, that would become their summer retreat. The grounds support an excellent Japanese garden, that includes a koi pond and big waterfall, that flows down from the terrace, as well as a beautiful rose garden that ends in the cascading waterfall that is situated on a terrace beneath the manor. The roses enjoy partial shade from a lovely wisteria covered pergola, with bamboo forests a special sight in the gardens. The arboretum was started in the early 20th century and has over 200 species of woody plants and trees, with a number of exotic champions that includes a tilia europa, cryptomeria japonica and cedrus atlantica. These magnificent gardens have become special to the wedding crowd, that usually is located around the Italian garden, the waterfalls, the Japanese gardens or the other many gazebos that are situated around the grounds. Besides the marvelous farm animals that are kept in the children's farm, the estate has become the permanent home of numerous animals that have become native to the commonwealth. These include black bears, bald eagles, foxes and bobcats, with the possibility of seeing American bison, white-tailed deer, peacocks and elk.

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    Virginia Capitol BuildingVirginia Capitol Building Richmond, Virginia
    The Virginia State Capitol is located in Richmond, Virginia, and is the third capital of the state, housing the oldest legislature in the nation, the Virginia General Assembly, the structure was finished in 1788, and is more than two centuries old, this current capitol building is the eighth one that has been constructed mostly due to fires during the colonial period, and is one of the eleven capitols in the country that doesn't have an external dome. In the colonial period, the first capital would be Jamestown, where the very first legislative body in the United States, the Virginia House of Burgesses, would meet in 1619. The new government would have to construct four different state houses during its stay in Jamestown and would be due to fires. Henry Cary, the contractor that completed the work for the College of William and Mary's Wren Building, which would become the legislature's temporary home, would build a grand capitol structure, that was a one story H shaped building, or in reality, two buildings that were connected by an arcade and was completed in 1705, with the governor's palace nearby. In Colonial Williamsburg, the structure that is standing now, is the third capitol that was built on that site, since Cary constructed the building without fireplaces, and in 1723, chimneys would be added for the necessary fireplaces that would help keep the building dry. In 1747, it would burn down, with just a few walls and the foundation remaining, so Governor William Gooch urged the rebuilding of the capitol structure, but the majority of the legislators wanted to move the capitol to a city that was much more accessible to navigation and trade, so the burgesses had to meet in the Wren Building; until 1748, when the new capitol was approved and constructed, with the burgesses meeting in it for the first time in 1753. It was in this majestic structure that Patrick Henry would deliver his famous speech against the Stamp Act of 1765, along with other famous individuals like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, George Wythe and others would play their part in the political maneuvering that would lead to revolution.

April 28, 2011