The first floor women’s room in the North Dakota state capitol building is a trip back in time to an era when gentile ladies had limbs, not legs, wore unmentionables, visited the biffy every so often, and needed a place to take a break from their wearying toils. And so women’s rooms had lounges just like this one.
But not exactly the same, because this one features wicker furniture woven by patients at the North Dakota Hospital for the Insane in the early years of the 20th century. Each chair has a unique pattern woven into it, an artist’s signature of sorts.
The furniture is still in pristine condition nearly 100 years later. I think that says something special about the people of North Dakota as well as the durability of wicker. On the other hand, maybe it’s been refurbished rather than replaced. They do things like that in North Dakota.
The large photo on the wall shows the former capitol building burning to the ground in 1930. It stands out like a sore thumb in this gentle, cool green and white room. If I were to make one change to the room, I’d move that photo somewhere else, maybe to the men’s room.
The wash room also has its vintage furniture with two Scott paper towel stands, utilitarian yet graceful. Louis Sullivan would be proud.