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Chapter 39 - Virginia Capitol Square

Pat had borrowed Ann’s powder blue Beetle and parked it on the street behind the Governor’s Mansion.


The state executive residence was a Georgian structure, finished in 1813, painted a pale yellow.


He crossed the road and followed a fence of green-painted, cast-iron spears to an opening where he entered the lush grounds of Capitol Square.


Pat walked along the outside of the four-foot-high yellow brick wall, protecting the governor’s place from intruders.


Powhatan sat in the little glass and wood gatehouse in front of the mansion.


He tramped along the backside of the Virginia State Capitol,


America’s first Classical Revival building, started in 1785. Thomas Jefferson designed it as an absentee architect by mailing the plans from France. The building housed “the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World,” and during the Civil War, the white-plastered, neo-Roman temple did double duty as the Confederate Capitol.


In front of him was Virginia’s Washington Monument, an equestrian statue surrounded by statues of other early prominent Virginians on lower pedestals.


A squirrel scurried down the wide brick steps, cutting through the Capitol grounds, and Pat did the same.


Pat took a right turn at a fountain, surrounded by red roses, to the Bell Tower, partially hidden in tall trees on the edge of Capitol Square.


The stout sixty-five-foot square brick tower was constructed in 1824 as a guardhouse and signal tower.


Across the street from Capitol Square, the congregation knelt in prayer at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, known as the Cathedral of the Confederacy.


Anyone could sit in the Lee family pew now, but in reverence to the general, Hiram always sat back of it.


His eyes came to rest on the stained-glass window of Moses Leaving the House of Pharaoh. The window
had been installed adjacent to the Lee pew to represent General Lee’s decision to refuse the command of the Union Army and to join the Confederacy.

Virginia Capitol Square

St. Paul's Episcopal Church