The Arkansas State Capitol
The Arkansas State Capitol is equally rich in history, craftsmanship and architectural excellence. Visit today and you’ll not only see lawmakers at work, but you’ll also enjoy a glimpse of the historic events and people who shaped Arkansas.
Today, over 100 years later, this structure still serves as the heart of state government and lawmaking. The building houses six of the seven constitutional offices and the House and Senate Chambers, which offer public galleries where you can watch legislators at work when in session. Other public areas include the restored Governor’s Reception Room, Old Supreme Court Chamber and the towering rotunda, all of which offer the best examples of the Capitol’s original glory.
Reflecting the state’s illustrious history and its hope for the future, the State Capitol is a great source of pride for the citizens of Arkansas. It is a symbol not just of government but also of the state and its people. Walk through this architectural treasure and discover the heritage embodied here.
The Arkansas State Capitol was constructed between 1899 and 1915 on the site of the old state penitentiary using prison labor. Designed by architects George Mann and Cass Gilbert, the original construction cost was not to exceed $1 million. After two general contractors, six Capitol Commissions and three governors, the completed Capitol cost almost $2.3 million. In 1911, the General Assembly convened in the unfinished building for their first session at the new State Capitol.
The neo-classical style of the building is a common example of monumental architecture of the early 20th century. The marble on the floors and walls came from Vermont, the columns from Colorado, and the grand staircases from Alabama. The exterior limestone was quarried near Batesville, Arkansas while a softer Indiana limestone was used for the dome. The Capitol contains 247,000 square feet. The distance from ground level to the top of the cupola is 213 feet. The cupola is covered in gold leaf.
Caring for the century-old State Capitol and its surrounding landscape is the focus of the Capitol Facilities Division of the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office. A variety of tradesmen maintain and preserve the Capitol itself, as well as the Capitol Hill Building and features around the campus. Housekeeping staff attend each of the offices located in the building while others nurture the 51 varieties of roses found in the Capitol’s test gardens.