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Connecticut State Capitol

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Title: Connecticut State Capitol  
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Subject: Index of Connecticut-related articles, Richard M. Upjohn, Hartford, Connecticut, Chauncey Ives, Downtown Hartford
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Connecticut State Capitol

Connecticut State Capitol
North facade of the Connecticut State Capitol, facing Bushnell Park.
Connecticut State Capitol is located in Connecticut
Connecticut State Capitol
Location Hartford, Connecticut
Built 1872-1878
Architect Richard M. Upjohn, (1802-1878), with James G. Batterson, (1823-1901).
Architectural style "Eastlake Movement" style
Governing body State of Connecticut
NRHP Reference # 70000834
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 30, 1970[1]
Designated NHL December 30, 1970[2]
Connecticut State Capitol
The Charter Oak relief above the East entrance, with the busts of Horace Bushnell and Noah Webster above.
Interior of building Rotunda.
"The Genius of Connecticut" by sculptor Randolph Rogers (1877-78), a plaster version of the bronze statue (destroyed) originally mounted on top of the dome, is exhibited on the main floor.
New Haven 2-6-0 Mogul No. 321 after it crashed through the Hartford roundhouse on July 8th, 1904.[3] The silhouette of The Genius of Connecticut can be seen atop the dome of the Capitol Building can be seen in the background.

The Connecticut State Capitol is located north of Capitol Avenue and south of Bushnell Park in Hartford, the capital of Connecticut. The building houses the Connecticut General Assembly; the upper house, the State Senate, and lower house, the House of Representatives, as well as the office of the Governor of the State of Connecticut. The Connecticut Supreme Court (built 1908-1910), sits across Capitol Avenue in a different building.


The current building is the third capitol building for the State of Connecticut since the American Revolution.

The [4]

Richard M. Upjohn's design is in the "Eastlake Movement" style, with French and Gothic Revival styled elements. Construction of the building began in 1871. The building was completed in 1878, and it opened for the session of the General Assembly of Connecticut in January 1879.[5] The New York Times noted when it was completed, that the new building was "a vast mass of white marble (is) this imposing structure, and in the dazzling sunshine of a New-England Summer noon sparkles like a fairy palace of frost work."[6]

The site of the Capitol was chosen since it is adjacent to Bushnell Park and had access to more surrounding open space than the older building in the immediate downtown. The site was originally the location of the old Trinity College and was then known as "Trinity Hill", and the city street to the immediate east is still named Trinity Street. (The College relocated to a new campus south of the downtown.)

There are some galleries of historical artifacts on the building's main floor, principally battle standards of Civil War units. The flags were deposited with the state by 10,000 of the state's veterans, who formed a procession to the Capitol, and deposited 30 regimental flags on September 17, 1879.[7]

The building suffered some crowding of offices, and the introduction of partition walls and other temporary expediants which detracted from the plan of the building up to 1979 and 1989 when efforts began at restoration.

The State Capitol was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1971.[2][8]


The building is one of the largest "Eastlake Movement" style buildings. The exterior is of marble from East Canaan, Connecticut and granite from Westerly, Rhode Island. The building is roughly rectangular, the interior spaces organized around two open interior courts that run vertically to large skylights. In the center is a third circular open rotunda beneath the dome. The larger hall of the House of Representatives forms an extension on the south side.

An aerial view of the Connecticut State Capitol.
Aerial view of the Connecticut State Capitol

The building's ornately decorated facades display statuary and include several statues, medallions and carved tympana over the doors (except the west, which only has statues). The statues are of politicians and other people important to the state's history, such as the initiator of Connecticut, the Reverend [4] There are 24 niches for sculpture, (eight of which are still empty). The last one added was that of Ella T. Grasso, (b. 1919), the first female governor of the state, who died in 1981 of cancer shortly after resigning her office.

There are high relief scenes from the state's history in the 16 tympana above the doors, (except for the carving above the main north door, which is of the state seal). The typanum of the main east door, "The Charter Oak" by Charles Salewski, was the first piece of sculpture created for the Capitol.[9] The interior floors used white marble and red slate from Connecticut, and some of the colored marble is from Italy.

The statues, medallions, and tympana are grouped by period. The north facade has six statues, five tympana, and two medallions, and the carvings are of pre-Revolutionary War figures. The east and west facades contain people from the Revolutionary War or government service, and the south facade's figures are from the Civil War and onwards.[9]

The central domed tower is distinctive. The dome itself is 32 ft (9.8 m) tall; on top of that is a cupola 55 ft (16.8 m) in height, and the drum below is 75 ft (22.9 m), making the drum taller than the 70 ft (21.3 m) height of the main walls.[10] The overall height of the tower is 257 ft (78.3 m).

The building's dome originally had a large statue on top of it, named "The Genius of Connecticut", which was taken down in 1938 after being damaged in the severe "Nor'Easter" hurricane of that year. The statue was cast in bronze from a plaster original, and was 17.833 ft (5.4 m) tall, and weighed 7,000 lb (3,175 kg). It was executed in Rome, Italy and was cast in Munich, Germany. During World War II, the piece was donated to the federal government and melted down as part of the war effort to make ammunition and machine parts. The original plaster statue is now at the capitol, and has been coated in bronze.[11] In 2002, Proposed Bill No. 5273 before the General Assembly sought authorization to make a new casting of the statue to restore the design for the capitol dome. [12] The project finally passed in 2009, and a new bronze cast has been made. It has not yet been mounted on the summit of the dome, awaiting an additional $200,000 in funding.[13]

At the exterior base of the dome are 12 statues in six pairs representing Agriculture, Commerce, Education/Law, Force/War, Science/Justice, and Music.[14]

The interior has two matching ornate open stairwells and all of the building interior is painted in a multi-colored scheme continuing the 1870s Eastlake design aesthetic throughout.

Contemporary Use

The Connecticut State Capitol today houses the chambers of the Connecticut State Senate and the Connecticut House of Representatives. It also contains the offices of the Governor of Connecticut, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, Connecticut Secretary of State, and several legislative committee offices. Typically, offices located in the Capitol are three digits, while offices located in the adjacent Legislative Office Building are four digits.

The Capitol Building is open to the public, with self-guided and guided tours available on weekdays. Guided tours begin inside the West Entrance of the Legislative Office Building.

See also


  • Cupolas of Capitalism (C-E) (2005).
  • The State Capitol (August 5, 2002).


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b "Connecticut State Capitol". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  3. ^ "Next Time You Think You’re Having a Bad Day, Remember This Photo". The Old Motor. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "Sites, Seals & Symbols," Retrieved 5 Jan 2007.
  6. ^ New York Times, June 29, 1879, "Hartford's New Capitol".
  7. ^ New York Times, September 18, 1879, Connecticut's Veterans Delivering Battle Flags to the Capitol.
  8. ^ Charles W. Snell (July 7, 1970). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: New State House / Connecticut State Capitol". National Park Service.  and Accompanying 3 photos, exterior, from 1970 PDF (370 KB)
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^'Genius--to-grace-State-Capitol-again
  14. ^ [1] Web page titled, "Connecticut's New State Capitol by David M. Roth," at the "Connecticut Heritage Gateway" Web site. Retrieved August 12, 2006.

Further reading

  • Curry, David Park and Pierce, Patricia Dawes, eds. Monument: The Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford, 1979.
  • Ransom, David F. "James 0. Batterson and the New State House." The Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin, 45 (January 1980), 1-15.

External links

  • Connecticut State Capitol Tours
  • An article on the building of the Capitol
  • (Video) Connecticut's State Capitol: Home to History
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