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Kentucky State Capitol
Kentucky State Capitol Front Exterior
Location700 Capital Avenue, Frankfort, Kentucky
Coordinates38°11′12″N 84°52′31″W / 38.1867°N 84.8753°W / 38.1867; -84.8753Coordinates: 38°11′12″N 84°52′31″W / 38.1867°N 84.8753°W / 38.1867; -84.8753
Built1905–1909[2]
ArchitectFrank Mills Andrews
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
NRHP reference No.73000804 [1]
Added to NRHPApril 13, 1973
The south view of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort Kentucky; photographed with an ultra wide-angle 8mm fish-eye lens
The south view of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort Kentucky; photographed with an ultra wide-angle 8mm fish-eye lens
The north view of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort Kentucky with the moon above
The north view of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort Kentucky with the moon above

The Kentucky State Capitol is located in Frankfort and is the house of the three branches (executive, legislative, judicial) of the state government of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

History

Previous buildings

See also: Old State Capitol (Kentucky)

Kentucky state capitol marble staircase
Kentucky state capitol marble staircase

From 1792 to 1830, two buildings were used as the capitol, both of which burned completely.[2]

In 1830, another capitol was built and was used until 1910. During a bitterly contested 1899 state governor election, Democratic Party claimant William Goebel was assassinated at the capitol on his way to be inaugurated. The need for a larger building for a growing state government resulted in the replacement of that capitol building, which is now a museum operated by the Kentucky Historical Society.[3]

Current 1910 building

In 1904, the Kentucky General Assembly chose Frankfort (rather than Lexington or Louisville) as the location for the state capital and appropriated $1 million for the construction of a permanent state capitol building, to be located in southern Frankfort. The official ground-breaking was August 14, 1905 and construction was completed in 1909 at a cost of $1,180,434.80.[2] The building was dedicated on June 2, 1910.[4]

The capitol was designed by Frank Mills Andrews, a distinguished and award-winning architect. He used the Beaux-Arts style and included many classical French interior designs. The staircases, for example, are replicas of those of the Opéra Garnier in Paris.[5]

the south-east facade of the Kentucky State Capitol building located in Frankfort, Kentucky
the south-east facade of the Kentucky State Capitol building located in Frankfort, Kentucky

Between 1912 and 1963, five statues of historical figures from Kentucky were erected in the rotunda of the capitol.[6] The first was a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, which was donated in 1912. Statues of Henry Clay and Dr. Ephraim McDowell were added in 1930. Both of these are the bronzed plaster models used for the bronze statues that represent Kentucky in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.[7] In 1936, a marble statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, was placed in the rotunda. The statue of Davis was paid for by both donations and public funds, and erected under the auspices of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.[7] The Kentucky General Assembly voted to fund a bronze statue of Alben Barkley, former Vice President of the United States, and it was added to the rotunda in 1963.[7]

In 2018, a plaque in front of the statue of Jefferson Davis, which referred to Davis as a "patriot" and a "hero", was removed by the Kentucky Historic Properties Commission.[8] On June 4, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear stated that he believed the statue of Davis should be removed.[9] On June 13, 2020, the Kentucky Historic Properties Commission voted 11-1 to remove the statue from the Capitol. The Davis statue was to be moved to the Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site situated in Fairview, Kentucky, the birthplace of Davis.[10]

Layout

the Capitol Dome of the Kentucky State Capitol building located in Frankfort, Kentucky; photographed at dusk looking south-east
the Capitol Dome of the Kentucky State Capitol building located in Frankfort, Kentucky; photographed at dusk looking south-east

The main part of the Capitol has three floors. The first floor contains the offices of the governor (and his or her staff), lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. It also features a rotunda with statues of famous Kentuckians and other exhibits, including Kentucky Women Remembered.

The rotunda contains four statues of notable historical figures from Kentucky.[7] In the center of the rotunda stands a bronze statue of President Abraham Lincoln. Three more statures line the walls of the rotunda: bronze statues of Henry Clay, Vice President Alben Barkley, and Dr. Ephraim McDowell.

The second floor contains the courtroom of the state Supreme Court, as well as the chambers of the justices. The state law library is nearby. The State Reception Room is also located on the second floor.

The chambers of the House of Representatives and Senate face each other on opposite ends of the third floor. Some high-level legislative offices (such as for the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate) are also located there.

The Capitol also has a partial fourth floor which houses the galleries of the House and Senate, as well as a few offices for legislative committee staffers.

In addition, there is a partially buried basement level with mostly offices for clerks and maintenance personnel. However, it also contains a small gift shop and lunch counter as well as a tunnel to the neighboring Capitol Annex building. The Annex houses General Assembly committee rooms, General Assembly members offices and a cafeteria.

Security

The Capitol used to be completely open during normal business hours, and local residents often used the marble hallways for exercise (the Frankfort equivalent of "mall walking"). Currently, anyone without proper state credentials must go through a metal detector. Security for the complex is provided by officers from the Facilities Security Branch of the Kentucky State Police along with specifically assigned state troopers.

See also

Gallery

  • Kentucky State Capitol Dome seen from the US 60 lookout
    Kentucky State Capitol Dome seen from the US 60 lookout
  • Kentucky State Capitol seen from the Daniel Boone grave site
    Kentucky State Capitol seen from the Daniel Boone grave site
  • Capitol dome illuminated at night
    Capitol dome illuminated at night
  • Capitol Dome, seen from outside main entrance
    Capitol Dome, seen from outside main entrance
  • Main Entrance to the Capitol
    Main Entrance to the Capitol
  • The rotunda
    The rotunda
  • One of the marble staircases
    One of the marble staircases
  • The main corridor
    The main corridor
  • Office of the Governor of Kentucky
    Office of the Governor of Kentucky
  • Senate Chamber
    Senate Chamber
  • House of Representatives
    House of Representatives
  • Supreme Court Chamber
    Supreme Court Chamber
  • State Reception Room
    State Reception Room

References

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Buchta, David L. (2010). Kentucky's State Capitol. United States: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9780738585789. Retrieved on 2013-08-08
  3. ^ Kentucky State Capitol Timeline Retrieved 2013-08-08
  4. ^ Kentucky State Capitol: The Commonwealth's Magnificient [sic] Edifice Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine Kentucky Division of Historic Properties. Retrieved 2013-08-08
  5. ^ Architecture of Frankfort Archived 2013-05-08 at the Wayback Machine City of Frankfort. Retrieved 2013-08-08
  6. ^ "Stop #14 State Capitol Pediment, Statuary & Murals". Frankfort Public Art. 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d "Capitol Rotunda Statuary". Historic Properties. 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  8. ^ Novelly, Thomas (March 29, 2018). "A plaque calling Jefferson Davis a 'patriot' was removed from his Kentucky Capitol statue". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  9. ^ Aulbach, Lucas (June 4, 2020). "Jefferson Davis statue needs to be removed from Kentucky Capitol, Andy Beshear says". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  10. ^ 'Sins of our past': After 84 years, Jefferson Davis statue removed from Kentucky Capitol.
Preceded by
Mother of God Roman Catholic Church
Tallest Building in Kentucky
1910–1912
Succeeded by
Kentucky Home Life Building