: This photograph shows the Doric columns that surround the Ohio Statehouse.
The Ohio State Capitol, located at 1 Capitol Square, is a 2 acre building which stands in a 10-acre park bounded by High, Broad, State, and Third Streets, in downtown Columbus. Also known as the Ohio Statehouse, Columbus residents would often take advantage of the wide green lawns by allowing their cows and horses to graze there during the night. Legislative action ended the use of the building for a stable in 1878, but newspaper reports show that they remained through the 1880's.
The beauty of the massive limestone structure depends principally upon simplicity and strength, emphasized by a row of Doric columns at each of its four entrances. The dome is the result of a compromise. The original design called for a dome surrounded by a colonnade that would harmonize with the general architecture, but the plan never was carried out because of bickering by legislators over cost and details of construction.
The cornerstone was laid in 1839, and although the building was occupied by some State departments in 1857, it was not completed until 1861, 22 years after it was begun. When Henry Walter of Cincinnati was appointed supervising architect in 1839, numerous plans for the building were considered and the one finally adopted was a composite. Both convict and private labor were used, and limestone was hauled from a quarry northwest of Columbus, purchased by the State to ensure enough material, on a railroad especially constructed for that purpose. Delays in securing State appropriations, a severe cholera epidemic, and labor difficulties retarded construction work, which at one time ceased for six years. Before the building was completed, five architects had served during the administrations of 12 governors. It is considered one of the country’s outstanding examples of the Greek Revival style and at the time, it was the second largest building, behind only the United States Capitol building.
The total cost of the capitol approximated $1,650,000. An annex, directly east of the capitol and connected with it by a stone terrace, was completed in 1901 at a cost of $450,000. The capitol proper is 504 feet long and 184 feet wide, with 12 – 15 inches thick foundation walls. The annex, 220 feet long and 100 feet wide, conforms architecturally with the main building.
A flight of 12 steps from each of the four entrances to the capitol leads to a central rotunda. Offices of the governor and other State officials flank the four marble-floored foyers. Elaborately carved woods, marbles from many lands, and paintings and sculpture by noted American artists adorn the interior. In the center of the inlaid marble floor of the rotunda are 13 blocks, each representing one of the thirteen original States, surrounded by three circles and a sunburst of 32 points, one for each State at the time the marble was laid. One circle represents the unorganized territory at the time the Union was formed; another, the Louisiana Purchase; and the third, the territory acquired in the war with Mexico. A fourth circle, enclosing the sunburst, symbolizes the Constitution. Battle flags of Ohio – many of them shell-torn and bearing other service scars – are displayed in cabinets.
Large historical murals by William Mark Young adorn the rotunda and the walls flanking the four main stairways. The rich decorations ascending the dome culminate in an illuminated reproduction, in art glass, of the Great Seal of Ohio. Tablets at the entrances to the rotunda pay tribute to Andrews’ Raiders of the Civil War; to Major General Benson Hough, Ohio soldier and jurist; to soldiers and sailors of the Civil War; and to 51 women leaders in the feminist movement, including several Ohioans. Other tablets commemorate the sesquicentennial (1937) of the Northwest Territory and the founding of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (1899) in Columbus. Stairways lead from the floor of the rotunda to the Hall of Representatives and the Senate Chamber. At the head of the stairway on the north side stands the Lincoln Memorial, a bust of Lincoln executed by T.D. Jones. Directly to the east is a wall panel showing in relief a group of Union and Confederate officers who participated in the battle of Vicksburg. Outstanding among the capitol’s works of art is a large painting in the east foyer, Battle of Lake Erie, by William H. Powell. A copy of this paining is displayed in the nation’s Capitol. View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B09F13_010 Subjects
: Capitol buildings; Memorials--Ohio; Capitol Square District (Columbus, Ohio); Governors--Ohio; Ohio. House of Representatives; Ohio. Senate; Walter, Henry; Sculpture, McKinley, William, 1843-1901 Places
: Columbus (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio)