Virginia State Capitol Building

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Virginia State Capitol Building

It was designed by Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. Thomas Jefferson modeled the Capitol after the Maison Carée, an ancient Roman temple in Nîmes, France, and secured the services of Charles-Louis Clérisseau, a well-known French authority of Classical buildings, as the Capitol’s draftsman.

In 2004, Virginia embarked on a comprehensive three-year plan to restore both the exterior and interior of the Capitol. Virginia’s historic Capitol has been fully restored to its early 20th-century appearance. The working space of the Capitol has been increased by about one-third by means of an underground extension. This new working space features many visitors’ amenities, including a gift shop, an exhibit gallery, and a café.

The Virginia Capitol restoration project has succeeded in its project vision of continuing the vitality of our nation’s second oldest working Capitol by sustaining the integrity, viability, and dignity of the Capitol as a symbol of a prosperous and democratic Commonwealth.

Photo 168, May 2013

Virginia State Capitol Building

Photo 172, May 2013

Virginia State Capitol Building


Photo 181, May 2013

Virginia State Capitol Building

The Rotunda

At the center of the Capitol is the Rotunda, a two-story space capped by a dome (30 feet in diameter) and illuminated by skylights. The builders constructed the dome beneath the pitch of the gable roof, which makes it invisible from the exterior of the building. The dome was added to the building in 1794. Jefferson made no reference to a dome in his first written description for this central space, and whether adding the dome was a later idea of Jefferson’s or a modification made by Samuel Dobie, the actual builder of the Capitol, remains unknown. We do know Jefferson intended for a statue of Washington to be placed on this spot.

Photo 212, May 2013

Virginia State Capitol Building

House of Delegates Chamber

The House of Delegates, is composed of 100 Delegates who are elected every two years. The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the House of Delegates. The Speaker and the Clerk of the House are elected by the membership, each for a two-year term. Desks for the Delegates fill the room, surrounding the Speaker’s and Clerk’s podiums. On the wall behind the podiums is a bronze and marble tablet honoring Nathaniel Bacon.

Photo 227, May 2013

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