Virginia State Capitol
The Virginia State Capitol is the seat of the state government in Richmond, Virginia. The building houses the oldest elected legislative body in North America. The Virginia General Assembly was first established in 1619 as the House of Burgesses. Today, it is one of the most visited buildings in the nation. The State Capitol is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of this great state.
The Virginia State Capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clerisseau. It was occupied by the General Assembly in 1788. The building, which was the first state capitol designed in the United States following the Revolutionary War, was modeled after a classical Roman temple. During the Civil War, the building was without front steps or a legislative wing, and the House of Delegates met in a large chamber on the second floor.
In the 1850s, the House of Delegates met on the first floor in a chamber with a portico. This chamber was remodeled in 1861, and it also gained a spectator’s gallery. The governor’s private office was located on the third floor. The building was the site of two conventions that formed the state’s constitution before the Civil War.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Virginia capitol building was in a poor state of repair. Fireproofing was a major concern, and many questions were raised about its future. At the same time, the American Renaissance mentality was taking hold, resulting in a nationwide interest in civic redesign and grand public spaces. The Governor of Virginia was worried about preserving the historic building while meeting the needs of government offices.
In addition to free guided tours, the capitol building is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday hours are also open for public tours. Group tours are available for groups of ten or more, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time. The Visitor’s Center also offers a cafe with delicious food and drink.
Before the 1870 addition, the Capitol building’s original design consisted of no front stairway. It had two flanking half-arch windows and an arched window in the center. Over the years, the building underwent various repairs and additions. It also had roof problems. In the nineteenth century, a French architect, Maximilian Godefroy, remodeled the exterior stairs and changed the woodwork. The building’s interior features a full-figure portrait of George Washington.
During the Civil War, the Capitol was the home of the Confederacy. In March 1865, the Confederate Congress was in Richmond, and several Confederate generals were buried in the building. When the Confederacy fell, however, the Confederate State Army was defeated and its flag was removed from the Capitol. The Confederate flag was removed from the building and the Union flag was hoisted over the building. After the Confederate government fell, the state capital was moved to Lynchburg.