U.S. Capitols – Two

If these state capitol photos prompt you to visit them all, then purchase The Capitol Collection passport book before you start. It provides information on each state with room for a stamp that records your visit.

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1 Louisiana State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

At 34 stories, the limestone Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge is the nation’s tallest. It is also a memorial to Huey Long who initiated it and then was shot and buried there three years after its completion in 1932. The statue in the foreground is his grave. The 18th step leading to the front door marks when Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30, 1812. The rest of the 48 granite steps list each state in order of their statehood.

900 N 3rd St, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
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2 Louisiana Old State Capitol Stained Glass Dome in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mark Twain called the exterior of the Old Louisiana State Capitol “medieval” and suggested it be blown up after it had been occupied by Union troops for 20 years. Instead, this castle on the banks of the Mississippi River underwent a restoration in 1982. The renovation included a marvelous cast iron staircase that spirals towards an umbrella of stained glass. This old capitol is now the Museum of Political History. It includes an exhibit on Huey Long and the gun used to kill him in 1935 inside the current state capitol.

100 North Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
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3 Maine State Capitol Composite in Augusta, Maine

This composite of two photos from Augusta are: The entrance to Maine’s State House which was finished in 1832 and the interior rotunda and dome standing 185 feet tall. A 69 year old senator I met claims he was the last person to crawl up the winding staircase to the dome’s apex when he was an 18 year old page. Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820.

210 State St, Augusta, ME 04333
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4 Maine State House Building in Augusta, Maine

In 1832, the Maine State House was built with granite on Weston Hill. Most of the capital building was demolished and rebuilt in 1911. The exceptions are this portico and a few walls. Similar to California, the state house has a statue of Minerva at its peak. She was the Roman goddess of wisdom and commerce. After a restoration in 2014, the green cooper dome seen here became brown again like it was in 1910. It is expected to stay that shade for the next three decades.

210 State St, Augusta, ME 04333
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5 Maryland State House Building in Annapolis, Maryland

Although Maryland became the 7th state on April 28, 1788, its capitol in Annapolis is the oldest dating back to 1779. On top of this modest, two-story, Georgian style building that resembles many others from the Revolutionary War period is a lightning rod designed by Benjamin Franklin. The dome was assembled with timber and wooden pegs. In this building on December 23, 1783, George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army.

100 State Cir, Annapolis, MD 21401
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6 Maryland State House The House of Delegates Chamber in Annapolis, Maryland

Gold, red and black are the predominate colors in the Maryland state flag and are reflected in the marble walls of the House of Delegates Chamber in the Maryland State House. The arched balconies and two-story, Ionic columns give the room an opera house feeling. The 141 members meet in Annapolis three months a year, surrounded by former Speaker of the House portraits.

100 State Cir, Annapolis, MD 21401
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7 Massachusetts State House Hall of Flags Ceiling in Boston, Massachusetts

In the middle of the Massachusetts State House’s second floor is a marble room dedicated to the flags that have returned from every war since the Civil War. The Hall of Flags’ stained glass ceiling has the 13 colonies seals including, in the nave, an early version of the Massachusetts seal with an Algonquian Native American. Surrounding these are eight carved eagles. All of the state’s historic seals are immortalized in the Grand Staircase’s stained glass window.

24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133
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8 Massachusetts State House in Boston, Massachusetts

John Hancock is best known for his first and largest signature on the Declaration of Independence. He was also Massachusetts’ first governor and the previous land owner of Beacon Hill where the “New” Massachusetts State House was built. Governor Sam Adams laid the cornerstone in 1798. A famous Bostonian company, Paul Revere and Sons, covered the wooden dome with copper. Today, it still glows from the gold re-gilding in 1997. This Bulfinch main entrance (named after the architect) is only used when the U.S. President arrives and on the Governor’s last day in office. Massachusetts became the 6th state on February 6, 1788.

24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133
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9 Michigan State Capitol Building Dome in Lansing, Michigan

The first capital city of Michigan was Detroit. The second Michigan State Capitol was built in Lansing in 1847, ten years after becoming the 26th state. The third and current building was completed in 1878. This handsome structure was designed by Elijah Myers. He was also the architect for Texas and Colorado capitols. This brilliant white, cast iron dome and spire rise 267 feet. Its architectural style is Renaissance Revival.

100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
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10 Michigan State Capitol Rotunda Dome in Lansing, Michigan

Many state capitols are filled with symbolism and the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing is a beautiful example. Staring up 160 feet from the rotunda floor reveals the 44 foot wide, interior dome with eight delicate paintings from 1886. They are muses from Greek and Roman mythology representing art, agriculture, law, science, justice, industry, commerce and education.

100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
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11 Michigan State Capitol Rotunda Gallery of Governors in Lansing, Michigan

The second and third levels of the rotunda at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing are the Gallery of Governors. The floors showcase portraits of the last 14 governors who held office. Seen here is Jennifer Granholm. She was the state’s first and only female governor. Also interesting is the heavily scratched portrait of John Swainson (not shown). The intentional defacing symbolizes his belief that his job was not finished after one term.

100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
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12 Minnesota State Capitol Building in Saint Paul, Minnesota

By copying St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, the marble, unsupported dome on the Minnesota State Capitol became the world’s second largest when finished in 1905. At the base of the dome’s ribs and columns is a stunning golden chariot called Quadriga. The horses represent water, earth, wind and fire. The ensemble was designed by Daniel French. He was also the sculptor for the Lincoln Memorial. Further down are six white marble statues symbolizing the virtues such as faith, hope and charity. The building contains 16 types of marble, local granite and limestone plus seven other types of stone. Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858

75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard., St Paul, MN 55155
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13 Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda Dome in Saint Paul, Minnesota

The interior, decorative dome in the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda in Saint Paul is sixty feet in diameter. It is just one of the beautiful elements designed by Cass Gilbert, a young Saint Paul architect. Based on this early success, he went on to design other state capitols and the U.S. Supreme Court. He also became a pioneer in building skyscrapers such as the Woolworth Building. That NYC landmark was the world’s tallest in 1913.

75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard., St Paul, MN 55155
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14 Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda Arch in Saint Paul, Minnesota

The Minnesota State Capitol architect, Cass Gilbert, was a perfectionist with stunning results for his home town of Saint Paul. The rotunda walls are veneered limestone from Kosota, Minnesota. The columns are Minnesota bronze granite and their capitals (top of columns) are a Lady Slipper motif, the state flower. The band of red stone is also local. Gilbert decorated the three floors of the rotunda with circles: a glass one in the floor, a circle of arches, a ring of balusters, ornamental ironwork that is round and a globe chandelier. The surrounding murals are called Civilization of the Northwest by Edward Simmons.

75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard., St Paul, MN 55155
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Mississippi State Capitol Building Composite in Jackson, Mississippi

Two photos of Jackson, Mississippi, are A manhole cover with the words “City of Jackson Mississippi,” and The 180 foot dome of the Mississippi State Capitol with its eight foot eagle made from copper and gold leaf that was built in 1903 plus Magnolia blossoms, the state tree.

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15 Mississippi State Capitol Building in Jackson, Mississippi

Since Mississippi became the 20th state on December 10, 1817, they have had three state capitols. In 1903, the “new” one was built with Bedford limestone in the Beaux Arts style on the site of a former penitentiary. Unique features are the lion heads and glass orbs on the stone finials. At the top of the 180 foot dome are 750 lights that illuminate blind justice. When each legislative session convenes, they turn on every light: all 4,700 of them.

400 High St, Jackson, MS 39201
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16 Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri

Missouri has the second most farms in the country. Therefore, it is appropriate the statue of Ceres stands on top of their state capitol. She was the Roman goddess of agriculture. Her name is the origin of the word “cereal.” This Classic Revival structure was finished in 1917. On this south façade are eight majestic columns surrounding enormous bronze doors. A sculpture of Thomas Jefferson is positioned in the middle of the grand staircase. Missouri became the 24th state on August 10, 1821.

201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101
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17 Missouri State Capitol Rotunda Dome in Jefferson City, Missouri

The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City is adorned with exquisite, regionalism murals. The paintings by Thomas Benton portray early Midwestern life. They make even hardships seem romantic. Throughout the building is a treasure of carvings, statues, stained glass, flags, artifacts and other murals. Together they show you the history of the “Show Me State.”

201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101
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18 Montana State Capitol Building Composite in Helena, Montana

Two photos of Helena, Montana, are: The Liberty statue atop the copper dome and granite-sandstone façade of Montana’s State Capitol built in 1902; and The interior rotunda and dome including paintings of a fur trapper and cowboy (shown) plus a Native American and a gold miner.

1301 E 6th Ave, Helena, MT 59601
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19 Montana State Capitol Building in Helena, Montana

During dedication ceremonies on July 4, 1902, the Montana State Capitol in Helena was called a “Temple of Democracy.” That pride reflected their 25 year effort to become the 41st state on November 8, 1889, after President Lincoln created the Montana territory in 1864. Their motto “Oro y Plata,” was adopted in 1865. This means gold and silver in Spanish. The phrase is a reference to the mining rushes in towns like Last Chance Gulch, which is now Helena.

1301 E 6th Ave, Helena, MT 59601
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20 Montana State Capitol Statehood Centennial Bell in Helena, Montana

The Montana State Capitol in Helena has a large, vibrant rotunda featuring murals of four early settlers. The paintings include the Native American and gold miner shown here. Among its sweeping arches and French Renaissance décor are a total of 31 historic murals. Simply beautiful! This Centennial Bell was placed on the second floor in front of the Senate in 1989. Every year since, it has rung in honor of the Montana elementary History Teacher of the Year.

1301 E 6th Ave, Helena, MT 59601
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21 Nebraska State Capitol Building in Lincoln, Nebraska

The first two Nebraska state capitols followed traditional styles but crumbled from poor construction. The third building, finished in Lincoln in 1932, resulted in a 15 story skyscraper. The nontraditional design inspired the capitol towers in North Dakota, Louisiana and Florida. At its 362 foot peak is a bronze statue called, “The Sower” featuring a barefoot man sprinkling the seeds of life. Below it is the eight-sided Memorial Chamber filled with realistic murals of the state’s history. Nebraska became the 37th state on March 1, 1867.

1445 K St, Lincoln, NE 68508
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22 Nebraska State Capitol East Warner Chamber Doors in Lincoln, Nebraska

The Warner Legislative Chamber’s doors in the Nebraska State Capitol are a beautifully carved, symbolic tribute to Native Americans. These East Chamber doors feature a stalk of corn in the center with a Thunderbird (representing rain and life) on top. On the right is an Indian standing on an otter representing medicine. On the left is a woman above a turtle symbolizing fertility. The doors weigh 750 pounds each and took six months to carve.

1445 K St, Lincoln, NE 68508
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23 Nevada State Capitol Building in Carson City, Nevada

In 1871, the capitol building for Nevada was finished in Carson City. It is a modest, two-story structure with an octagonal, silver dome. The façade is sandstone from a local prison quarry. In 1971, when the legislature outgrew it, they moved to an adjacent building. However, the original capital still serves as the governor’s office. When you are there, ask the governor’s receptionist to see the skeleton in his safe. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864. It is the country’s driest state yet has over 200,000 slot machines to whet your gambling appetite.

101 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
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24 Nevada State Legislative Building in Carson City, Nevada

Nevada’s Legislature has only 63 members. Since 1971, they have conducted their biennial, sixty-day sessions in the rose-colored Nevada State Legislative Building in Carson City. The state’s constitution limits their sessions to 60 days or they “cover the clock.” This means members receive no salary for additional days. This legislative body is the country’s third smallest and only one of three that does not meet in their state’s capitol. The Supreme Court has its own building on the same campus.

401 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
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25 New Hampshire State House in Concord, New Hampshire

When walking up to the New Hampshire State House in Concord, you first noticed the windows. They are square on the third floor, arched on the second and rectangular at ground level. The rest of the building has a classic Greek Revival design. Built in 1819, it is considered to be the oldest state house where the legislation still meets in their original chambers. Two of the front statues are native sons. General John Stark was a Revolutionary War hero. The other is a likeness of Daniel Webster. He was a former member of the House. Twice he declined the nomination of Vice President from two U.S. presidents who later died in office. New Hampshire became the 9th state on June 21, 1788.

107 N Main St, Concord, NH 03303
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26 New Hampshire State House Senate Chamber in Concord, New Hampshire

There are four impressive paintings within arches at the front of the 24 member Senate Chamber at the New Hampshire State House in Concord. Three are shown here. On the left is Dartmouth College’s first graduation. In the center is Daniel Webster reading the Constitution. On the right is Abbott Thayer teaching an art class. He was called the “father of camouflage.” Behind him is the image of an angel. This is how he often portrayed women in his famous art.

107 N Main St, Concord, NH 03303
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27 New Jersey State House Capitol Building in Trenton, New Jersey

The New Jersey State House is located on the crowded West State Street in Trenton. So it is hard to see the gold-leaf dome unless you cross the street and stand on the top level of the World War II memorial called “Victory.” The building’s front façade from 1911 is handsome. Yet other parts are oddly shaped because of ten additions and renovations since it opened in 1792. New Jersey became the 3rd state on December 18, 1787.

125 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608
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28 New Jersey State House Capitol Rotunda in Trenton, New Jersey

Stained glass, eagles, gilded ribs and historic portraits surround the rich reds and blues of the rotunda at the New Jersey State House in Trenton. This is the second oldest capitol in continuous use. The view of the 145 foot dome is shaped by golden, ornamental grillwork in an octagon shape. It’s an excellent example of American Renaissance architecture.

125 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608
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29 New Mexico State Capitol Building Buffalo Head Sculpture in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The New Mexico State House displays 600 pieces of art by state artists. The gallery was sponsored by the Capitol Art Foundation, founded in 1992. This collection, worth about $6 million, feels like a contemporary art museum. My favorite is “Buffalo” by Holly Hughes. The unique sculpture is made from old paintbrushes, papier-mâché and scrap metal. Spectacular!

490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501
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30 New Mexico State Capitol Building in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The New Mexico State Capitol has two distinctions: the House and Senate chambers are below ground and it is round, hence the nickname “The Roundhouse.” Built in 1996, it is one of the newer state capitol buildings. However, Santa Fe is the oldest capitol city in the U.S. New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912.

490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501
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31 New Mexico State Capitol Building Rotunda in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The marble rotunda in the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe is only 60 feet tall. It is covered with a skylight symbolizing the weave of an Indian basket. The apex is also the center of the state’s symbol for the sun. The “Zia,” is featured in red on New Mexico’s yellow flag and is also the shape of the building.

490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501
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32 New York State Capitol Building Great Western Staircase in Albany, New York

The New York Capitol Building opened in 1899 after spending $25 million. Inside is this spectacular “Million Dollar Staircase.” 500 artisans carved 77 portraits of famous people along its 444 steps. Apparently, the stone cutters also added faces of their family and friends. The Assembly and Senate staircases are also gorgeous.

State St. & Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12224
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33 New York State Capitol Building in Albany, New York

These two mallards are viewing the southwest side of New York’s State Capitol beside a pond on Empire State Plaza. This five-story, granite and marble building with red tower accents would have risen beyond its 220 feet if the planned dome had been built in 1899. It took 32 years to complete at today’s cost of half a billion dollars. New York became the 11th state on July 26, 1788.

State St. & Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12224
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34 North Carolina State Capitol Building in Raleigh, North Carolina

The face of North Carolina’s State Capitol in Raleigh features a Greek style portico with Doric columns. A mule-powered railway was built to transport local granite to the site. The three-story building with its copper dome was completed in 1840. North Carolina became the 12th state on November 21, 1789.

1 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601
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35 North Carolina State Capitol Rotunda Dome in Raleigh, North Carolina

The North Carolina State Capitol’s rotunda connects the cross-shaped building’s four wings. In the center of the first floor is a replica of a George Washington statue from 1821. The original was destroyed by fire. Surrounding it are busts of historic citizens including signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.The cantilevered second floor focuses the eye on the simple yet elegant dome.

1 E Edenton St, Raleigh, NC 27601
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36 North Dakota State Capitol Building Composite in Bismarck, North Dakota

Two photos of Bismarck, North Dakota, are The spiral, art deco ceiling of the North Dakota House of Representatives chamber, and The 19-story North Dakota State Capitol built in 1955 known as the Skyscraper of the Prairie.

600 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND 58505
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37 North Dakota State Capitol Building in Bismarck, North Dakota

The centerpiece of the North Dakota State Capitol grounds of six buildings in Bismarck is the 19-story, 241 foot art deco skyscraper. It was built during the Depression and finished in 1934 only after martial law forced striking workers back to work. The state’s tallest building is lit up during the holiday season to resemble a Christmas tree and, two weeks later, the numbers of the new year. The Dakotas, which means “friend,” were named after the Indian tribe and became states on November 2, 1889. North Dakota is considered the 39th state because alphabetically it is before South Dakota.

600 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND 58505
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