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The State Capitols: photos, facts, and feats.
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State Capitol Buildings
Alabama, Montgomery.The current structure, a domed Greek Revival building, was built in 1851 and overlooks the city from elevated ground known as Goat Hill. It is the second structure to stand on the site since Montgomery became the state’s capital in 1846.
Alaska Juneau. This building, a square functional office building, was completed in 1931 and was originally the Federal and Territorial Building as Alaska did not become a state until 1959. Thereafter it became the state capitol. It is one of ten state capitols that does not have dome.
Arizona, Phoenix. Built between 1898 and 1901, this structure served as the capitol until 1981 when it was turned into a museum. It now sits as the centerpiece of a number of state government buildings and is located in downtown Phoenix.
Arkansas, Little Rock. The current structure, built between 1899-1915, is a replica of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The dome is 230 feet tall and the building is made from native limestone quarried from Batesville, Arkansas. The Old State House in Little Rock is the oldest remaining state capitol building west of the Mississippi, built between 1833 and 1842. It is now a museum.
California, Sacramento.The present Neoclassical structure dates from 1874 and is also a model of the U.S. Capitol in D.C. The dome is 220 feet high. Benicia, in the Bay Area, has California’s old state capitol which served as the state’s center of government from 1853-1854. It is now a state historic site.
Colorado, Denver. Dating from the 1890s, the dome is 180 feet tall. Denver's mile-high' namesake is derived from the 15th step of the building which was measured at 5,280' above sea level.
Connecticut, Hartford. The completion of this very ornate Victorian Gothic building dates to 1878 and it replaced the Old State House (c. 1792) designed by Charles Bulfinch, which still stands in downtown Hartford. The golden dome is 267 feet high.
Delaware, Dover. The current building of neo-colonial design dates from 1933 and is also known as Legislative Hall because it houses the state’s General Assembly. Delaware’s Old State House still stands in the city and dates to 1787.
District of Columbia. The National Capitol. The original building was begun in 1793 but burned by the British during the War of 1812. The current one was finally completed in 1856 and is 289 feet at the tip of the dome.
Florida, Tallahassee. The Old Capitol is located adjacent to the new capitol which is a multi-storied building that towers over the city. While the Old State Capitol is a domed Greek Revival building constructed in 1845the new building is 345 feet, making it one of the tallest capitols in the United States and of course without a dome. Tallahassee has been the Florida’s capital since 1824 because at the time, while still a territory, it was situated mid way between the main populated areas of Jacksonville and Pensacola. Today, Orlando would suffice as both the geographical and population center of the state.
Georgia, Atlanta. Georgia’s state capitol would dominate the skyline if it weren’t dwarfed by the city’s skyscrapers. This large gold-leafed dome, completed in 1889, is of neo-classical Renaissance design and the gold used to cover the dome is from Dahlonega, Georgia, site of the nation’s first gold rush in the 1830s. Almost two hundred feet high, this current building replaced the old state capitol in rural Milledgeville, which still stands.
Hawaii, Honolulu. The State House in Honolulu was opened in 1969and replaced the former statehouse, the ‘IolaniPalace. This statehouse is of a modified Bauhaus design and has elements that are symbolic of some of Hawaii’s natural features, such as its open-aired style. The former capitol, the ‘IolaniPalace was built in 1871 and was the former seat of the Hawaiian monarchs.
Idaho, Boise. Built between 1913-1920 this large edifice, commonly known as the statehouse has a 208’ dome. Its tawny color is derived from native sandstone quarried near Boise. It is one of the many capitols that was designed after the U.S. Capitol.
Illinois, Springfield. Built between 1868-1888 the Illinois capitol is the tallest domed state capitol at 361 feet. It is also the sixth building to serve as the capitol. It is of French Renaissance design. Between 1837 and 1853 the fifth state capitol was built which still stands in Springfield. It is now a state historic site. Before this various capitol buildings stood in Vandalia and Kaskaskia.
Indiana, Indianapolis. Completed in 1888 this huge building is the fifth building to house the seat of the state’s government. The dome tops out at 256 feet high. The first state house of Indiana, in Corydon, is a simple two-story federal style building constructed between 1816 - 1825 and it now restored as a state historic site.
Iowa, Des Moines. Built between 1871-1886 this is probably the most ornate state capitol in the Midwest. It’s visible for miles and sits on a hill opposite downtown Des Moines. It is the only capitol to have five domes which are dominated by the huge central dome that is 275 feet tall. Most of the building is made of limestone quarried across the Midwest. Iowa also has an old state capitol in Iowa City. This building was completed in 1840 and served as the territorial capitol and first capitol.
Kansas, Topeka. Completed in 1903, this building took forty years to build. It has one of the tallest domes at 304 feet. Inside the famous mural of John Brown, a central figure in the “Bleeding Kansas” era, which was a precursor to the Civil War.
Kentucky, Frankfort. Built between 1905 - 1910 this Beaux-Arts capitol is akin to walking into the early twentieth century. The interior is decorated in a similar fashion. The dome is 190’ and a replica of Napoleon’s tomb at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris. This building is predated by the state’s old capitol also in Frankfort, which was Kentucky’s third building to host the state’s government. It served as the seat of government from 1830 until 1910 and is a fine example of Greek Revival.
Louisiana, Baton Rouge. Louisiana’s state capitol is 450 feet tall (34 stories) – the tallest in the United States. Its skyscraper design does not have a dome. It was completed in 1932 and replaced the Old State Capitol, still standing in Baton Rouge, which was built in 1847. The capitol was the location where Huey Long, the populist politician, was assassinated.
Maine, Augusta. Built in various phases between 1832-1910 and remodeled extensively Maine’s domed stated capito l is 185 feet tall. Constructed of Maine granite it was designed by Charles Bulfinch and was originally modeled after the Massachusetts state house in Boston.
Maryland, Annapolis. One of the more unique state houses, this Georgian style building was completed in 1779 and is the oldest existing state capitol structure still in use by a state government. Its dome is wooden and built without nails and it is the third state house to occupy the site.
Massachusetts, Boston. Designed by Charles Bulfinch and completed in 1798 this Federal style state house has under gone numerous renovations in the intervening years. Bulfinch based his design off two British buildings, the Somerset House (William Chambers) and the Pantheon (James Wyatt). The Old State House is also still standing and is the oldest public building in Boston originally constructed in 1713. Today it is dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the financial district that surround it.
Michigan, Lansing. The building’s dome tops out at 267 feet. This capitol was built between 1872 and 1879 of neoclassical design and is the third building to house the state’s government.
Minnesota, St. Paul. This beautiful white marble and granite building overlooking St. Paul was constructed between 1896 -1905 and is modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It is designed in the Beaux-Arts style with Italian Renaissance elements and was designed by Cass Gilbert. It has an unsupported marble dome which is the second largest in the world after St. Peter’s and is 223 feet high.
Mississippi, Jackson. The capitol that stands today was completed in 1901 and replaced the old capitol that still stands in Jackson. The top of the dome reaches 180’ above ground level in this Beaux-Arts building that resembles the U.S. Capitol. The Old Mississippi State Capitol, also domed, was built in 1839 and served as the state’s capitol until 1903. It is a state historic site but suffered water damage during Hurricane Katrina.
Missouri, Jefferson City. Completed in 1917, the dome is 237 feet tall. This is one of three state capitols whose dome is modeled after St. Peter's in Rome.
Montana, Helena. The Montana state capitol was built between 1899 and 1902. It was expanded in 1909 and 1912. Made of sandstone and granite this neoclassical building has a copper faced dome that is 165 feet tall.
Nebraska, Lincoln. Often called the 'Skyscraper of the Plains' this building is visible for miles approaching Lincoln on I-80. It is 400 feet tall and was completed in 1932. It is the second tallest state capitol building after Louisiana's.
Nevada, Carson City. This small, cruciform building was completed in 1871 and is built in Italianate style.
New Hampshire, Concord. Completed in 1818 this Greek Revival building has the claim of being the oldest state capitol whose legislature still occupies its original chambers.
New Jersey, Trenton. Built between 1792 and 1911 it is second oldest to the state house in Annapolis to be in continuous use.
New Mexico, Santa Fe. New Mexico’s state house is one of the more unique in design and without a dome. Instead it was built to resemble a Zia Sun Symbol when viewed from the air although it does have neoclassical elements. It has four wings, each with an entrance and is 60 feet at its tallest in the center of the rotunda. It was dedicated in 1966 after the territory and state of New Mexico housed three older capitols, which includes the nation’s oldest, the Palace of the Governors built in 1610. The other two, the 1850 territorial capitol (federal courthouse) and 1900 capitol (Bataan Memorial Building) still stand in Santa Fe.
New York, Albany. Completed in 1899 and 220' at its tallest. It is one of ten U.S. state capitols that does not have a dome.
North Carolina, Raleigh. Completed in 1840 this Greek Revival building is the second oldest state capitol in the South after Virginia.
North Dakota, Bismarck. Built between 1931 and 1934 by the Works Progress Administration. The 19 story structure (242 feet) replaced the original which was destroyed by fire in 1930.
Ohio, Columbus. Although the cornerstone was laid in 1839 this Greek Revival building was not completed until 1857.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. Although it was completed in 1919, the building now has a dome, 155' tall, which was built between 2000 and 2002.
Oregon, Salem. Completed in 1938 by the Public Works Administration it is the third such state house and has a 166 foot high dome.
Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. This massive Beaux-Arts edifice was completed in 1906 it is one of three U.S. capitols that is modeled after St. Peter's in Rome and its dome is 272 feet high.
South Carolina, Columbia. At 180' feet tall, this Greek Revival building wasn't completed until 1907 although construction started in 1855. It was spared by Sherman’s Army during the Civil War.
South Dakota, Pierre. Built between 1905 and 1910 South Dakota’s state house is 161 feet tall and built of Indiana limestone and Vermont and Italian marble.
Rhode Island, Providence. Completed in 1905 the Rhode Island state capitol’s dome is 278' high. It was featured as a stand-in location for the U.S. Capitol in the film Amistad.
Tennessee, Nashville. Designed by the Philadelphia architect William Strictland it’s no surprise that this unique state capitol has an uncanny resemblance to the Old Customs House in Philadelphia. The Greek Revival building has a cupola instead of a dome and was built between 1845 and 1859. The capitol sits on a hill that overlooks downtown Nashville.
Texas, Austin. It’s no coincidence that this building, the center of Texas’ government, was the seventh largest building in the world at the time of completion. Also it’s no accident that its 311 foot high dome is taller than the nation’s capitol. Built between 1882 and 1888 it is constructed of a beautiful pink granite quarried from Marble Falls, Texas.
Utah, Salt Lake City. The dome is 286 feet tall and the building was completed in 1916. Native copper was used for the dome, mined in Utah and the building is constructed of quartz monzonite quarried from nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Vermont, Montpelier. This Greek Revival building, completed in 1859, is the third to stand on the site. Montpelier is the smallest state capital city in the United States and the capitol building is situated in a bucolic setting that is more reminiscent of a small town than a state’s capital. The brilliant gold leaf dome rises 136 feet above the ground.
Virginia, Richmond. Although it was completed in 1788 it is the eighth building to serve as the state’s capitol owing to Virginia’s long history and the fires that destroyed previous structures. Designed by Thomas Jefferson it is a domeless building whose designed was inspired by one of the best surviving temples of the Classical era, the Maison Carree in Nimes, France.
Washington, Olympia. Completed in 1928 its dome 287' high with a neoclassical design, Washington’s state house dome is the tallest self-supporting masonry dome in the United States. Frequent earthquakes have damaged the building, especially the dome, and it was vulnerable to collapse but renovations in 2004 fastened the dome to the rest of the building.
West Virginia, Charleston. This building was dedicated in 1932 after construction started in 1925. Its dome tops out at 292 feet making it the tallest structure in the state. Stylistically eclectic it has an Italian Renaissance revival dome and a front portico that is colonial revival. The architect, Cass Gilbert, also designed the U.S. Supreme Court building.
Wisconsin, Madison. Completed in 1917 this massive Beaux-Arts edifice has a 285' dome, the tallest building in the city. It vaguely resembles the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Wyoming, Cheyenne. Built between 1886-1890 the dome is 146 feet high making it the tallest structure in the city. Cheyenne sits at 6,023' above sea level, the second highest state capital after Santa Fe, NM.
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