State Capitol History
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, four Capitol Commissions and six 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.
Historical Capitol Construction Acts