Within the halls of the California Capitol Building in Sacramento state legislators, lobbyists, staffers, guards and visitors roam the mosaic-tiled floors among the many pieces of framed art, statues and historical artifacts on display.
Completed between 1861 and 1874, the Neoclassical structure sits at the west end of Capitol Park and, according to figures obtained by Politifact.com attracts over 1 million visitors each year.
Underneath the echoing steps, whispering tourists, marble statues and decorative murals is an area of the state park known as the “Capitol Basement.” On one side of the basement–tucked under a quaint, brick archway–resides an oddity unique to California, a gift shop run by a local non-profit, the sales of which benefit art programs for adults with disabilities.
The shop is one of the few official purveyors of California seal-themed items and offer a plethora of such from key chains, to T-Shirts, cigar boxes and marble paperweights.
Run by DDSO, the cozy store harbors a wide variety of California history books, kids games, gifts… and a historical placard depicting the tale of “The Crack.”
Also in the Capitol Basement is the California Capitol Museum, located in basement Room B-27, next to the Basement Theater (where free films are shown daily) as well as a cafe-style restaurant /espresso bar (Rush Cafe) and a large bronze statue of President Reagan.
Little-known fact: an organization or constituent can request to reserve portions of the Capitol Basement for “special events” by obtaining the sponsorship of a legislative member.
Article by L. R. Styles, Photographer: Steven Styles/Belator Media