|Arkansas State Capitol|
|Architectural style||Classical Revival|
|Address||500 Woodlane Street|
|Town or city||Little Rock, Arkansas|
|Construction started||November 27, 1900|
|Completed||January 1, 1915|
|Client||State Capitol Commission|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||George R. Mann|
|Main contractor||Caldwell & Drake|
Arkansas State Capitol
|NRHP reference No.||74000494|
|Added to NRHP||June 28, 1974|
The Arkansas State Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the Arkansas General Assembly, and the seat of the Arkansas state government that sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the Capitol Mall in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In 1899, the St. Louis architect George R. Mann visited the governor of Arkansas Daniel W. Jones, and presented his drawings of his winning competition design from 1896 for the Montana State Capitol, which had not yet been built in their state capital of Helena. They were hung on the walls of the old Capitol to generate interest in a new building. The drawings' attractiveness eased the passage of the appropriation bills for the new building, and also drew attention to the architect. In 1899, Mann was selected as architect by a seven-member commission that included future governor George W. Donaghey. Donaghey opposed Mann's selection and advocated a national design competition, but the majority of the commission voted for Mann. After Donaghey was elected governor in 1908, he forced Mann off the project and selected Cass Gilbert to finish the Capitol.
Construction took 16 years, from 1899 to 1915. The Capitol was built on the site of the state penitentiary and prisoners helped construct the building. They lived in a dormitory that was left on the Capitol grounds while construction was taking place.
The Capitol foundations were aligned incorrectly by their original builder, future Governor George Donaghey. He centered the building on the centerline of Fifth Street (now Capitol Avenue), but he aligned the building north–south using the still-standing penitentiary walls as a guide without recognizing that Fifth Street was not aligned east–west; like other "east-west" downtown Little Rock streets, it runs parallel to the Arkansas River at a slight angle off true east–west. Therefore, the structure is in a north–south manner from end-to-end, which does not fit the grid street pattern of Little Rock's downtown. This also led to a slight S-curve in the formal entrance walkway between the foot of Capitol Avenue and the front steps of the Capitol.
Because of its monumental dome, the State Capitol has served as a filming location to stand in for the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The exterior of the Capitol is made of limestone, which was quarried in Batesville, Arkansas. Though it was initially stipulated a total cost for the envisioned capitol would not to exceed $1 million, total construction cost eventually was $2.2 million (or $320 million in 2014 dollars). The front entrance doors are made of bronze, which are 10 feet (3 metres) tall, four inches (10 cm) thick and were purchased from Tiffany & Company in New York for $10,000. The cupola/dome is covered in 24 karat gold leaf. The government was formerly located in the Old State House. The structure also used Yule marble.
The Arkansas State Capitol grounds has multiple monuments and memorials representing various parts of the state's past and present. They include the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial, Arkansas Medal of Honor Memorial, Bauxite and Granite Boulders, Confederate Soldiers Monument, Confederate War Prisoners Memorial, Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Liberty Bell replica, "Little Rock Nine" Civil Rights Memorial, Memorial Fountain, Monument to Confederate Women, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the controversial Ten Commandments Monument.
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