California State Capitol

California State Capitol

California State Capitol
General information
Type Government offices
Location 10th Street and L Street
Sacramento, California
Construction started 1860
Completed 1874
Owner State of California
Management State of California
Antenna spire 75.3 m (247 ft)
Roof 64 m (210 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 3
Design and construction
Architect M. Frederic Butler
California State Capitol
Architectural style Neoclassical
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 73000427 [1]
CHISL # 872
Added to NRHP April 3, 1973

The California State Capitol is home to the government of California. The building houses the bicameral state legislature and the office of the governor.

Located in Sacramento, the Neoclassical structure was completed between 1861 and 1874 at the west end of Capitol Park, which is framed by L Street to the north, N Street to the south, 10th Street to the west, and 15th Street to the east. The Capitol and grounds were listed on the office of the National Register of Historic Places in 1973,[1] and listed as a California Historical Landmark in 1974, with a re-dedication on January 9, 1982 to commemorate the close of the bicentennial restoration project.[5][6]


  • Construction and design 1
    • Exterior 1.1
    • Interior 1.2
  • Image gallery 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Construction and design


The building is based on the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The west facade ends in projecting bays, and a portico projects from the center of the building. At the base of the portico, seven granite archways brace and support the porch above. Eight fluted Corinthian columns line the portico. A cornice supports the pediment above depicting Minerva surrounded by Education, Justice, Industry and Mining.

Above the flat roof with balustrade are two drums supporting a dome. The first drum consists of a colonnade of Corinthian columns; the second, Corinthian pilasters. Large arched windows line the drum walls. The dome is 64 m (210 ft) high, and supports a lantern with a smaller dome capped with a gold-leafed orbed finial.


Statue of Queen Isabella and Columbus commemorating her decision to finance a voyage to the New World

The California Senate chamber seats its forty members in a large chamber room decorated in red, which is a reference to the British House of Lords, also the upper house of a bicameral legislature. The chamber is entered through a second floor corridor. From the coffered ceiling hangs an electric reproduction of the original gas chandelier. A hand-carved dais caps off a recessed bay framed by Corinthian columns.

The Gilbert Stuart, is on the wall above. The State Seal hangs above.

Statues of the Roman goddess Minerva once overlooked both chambers. Today, Minerva, sculpted by Michael H. Casey, appears only in the senate chambers.

Gilded Corinthian columns support the gallery above, and dark red curtains that can be drawn for privacy are tied back along the columns. High arched windows run along the bottom below rectangular pane windows. Behind the rostrum, there are two chairs with red velvet cushions, reserved for the president pro tempore of the senate and the speaker of the assembly, but are never used.

The California Assembly chamber is located at the opposite end of the building. Its green tones are based on those of the British House of Commons, the lower house. The dais rests along a wall shaped like an "E", with the central projection housing the rostrum. Along the cornice appears a quotation from Abraham Lincoln in Latin: legislatorum est justas leges condere ("It is the duty of legislators to pass just laws"). Almost every decorating element is identical to the Senate Chamber.

Image gallery

See also


  1. ^ a b "California (CA), Sacramento County: California State Capitol". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  2. ^ California State Capitol at Emporis
  3. ^ California State Capitol at SkyscraperPage
  4. ^ California State Capitol at Structurae
  5. ^ "California State Capitol". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  6. ^ "California Landmark 872: State Capitol Complex in Sacramento, California:". Noehill. 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 

External links

  • California State Capitol Museum