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William Seale

In searching for scholars who could talk with some authority about state capitols, MotionMasters hit the jackpot with William Seale.

A historian and architectural restorationist, he has visited and researched each state capitol. He is the author of "Temples of Democracy," a comprehensive book about our nation's 50 state capitols.

Our crew traveled to the nation's capital to interview William and get his unique perspective on West Virginia's Capitols for the documentary. While we were there, we also shot footage of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Supreme Court, which also were designed by Cass Gilbert, the architect for the present day West Virginia Capitol.

In the documentary, the author talks about why it was so important for West Virginia to have such a grand building. One of the glories of building a great expensive state Capitol was it secured the city as the capital. If you put a little bitty one or made it mobile with wheels, it would get moved one morning while you're still in bed and the city fathers wouldn't know where it went. It would be in the town down the road.

"This is early on — this is one of the reasons for state capitols is the people get together and they wanted to build this building and the heavier it is it can't be moved — get the state involved in it so it will stay there."

He talks about the controversy over building such a masterpiece in the midst of the Great Depression and how it was embraced by citizens because "it's meant to make you feel strong and proud when you go in it."

The author also offers his insights about Gilbert, a man he describes as an unusual architect who was an artist and a tough businessman all rolled into one.

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