Standing atop one of the highest points in Leon County is the old Florida Capitol Building. Noted for its unique architecture and elegant style it has been a symbol of the states government for nearly 200 years. At one time, this historical place feared demolition with the construction of the new government building in the 1970s, but after some fought to keep the structure it serves as a museum today.
While Tallahassee was designated as Florida Territory’s capital in 1824, the first government officials met in log cabins in the area. Working in these small spaces was not adequate to their needs and instead began to work on a new building. In 1839, construction and approval for this historic building was commenced. Just as Florida was entering statehood in 1845, this elaborate house for the government was completed.
Carved into the pediment of the building is a classic picture of early Florida life. The art even includes a sidewheeler steamboat.
The building served its purpose for many years but as with the expansion of government and increased departments it was voted to remodel and add on to the existing building in 1902. It was then that the iconic dome atop the highest point was erected. In fact one of the first people to climb to the top of the dome was a 90-year old Civil War veteran!
Later in 1923, two more extensions were added before the final additions in 1936 and 1947 which established actual chambers for the Florida House and Senate.
The new capitol building which stands 22 stories tall was finished in the late 1970s. After its completion some thought that the old building should be demolished. Instead, the building was preserved and is used as a museum. Today people can visit the Old Florida Capitol Building which is open for tours and events. For current hours and admission please visit http://flhistoriccapitol.gov/.
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