HistoryThe current building is the third capitol building for the State of Connecticut since the American Revolution. The Connecticut General Assembly, General Assembly of Connecticut (state legislature) met alternately in Hartford and New Haven since before the American Revolution. When in Hartford, the General Assembly met in the Old State House (Hartford, Connecticut), Old State House, designed in 1792 by Charles Bulfinch, and when sitting in New Haven, in a State House designed in 1827 by Ithiel Town. After the Civil War, the complications of this plan began to be evident, and both Hartford and New Haven competed to be sole state capital. Hartford won, and the new sole capital needed one central capitol building. The General Assembly authorized a million dollar project, and two competitors, James G. Batterson and Richard M. Upjohn, vied to be awarded the project. Upjohn won, but Batterson, a stone importer and merchant and not an architect, was named the building contractor. Batterson then continually revised the Upjohn plan to more and more closely resemble his own plan. The central tower, for example, is Batterson's, not Upjohn's. Batterson's extensive elaboration of Upjohn's plan ended up more than doubling the cost to over $2,500,000. Richard M. Upjohn, Richard M. Upjohn's design is in the Eastlake movement, Eastlake style, with French and Gothic Revival architecture, Gothic Revival styled elements. Construction of the building began in 1871. The building was completed in 1878, and it opened for the session of the Connecticut General Assembly, General Assembly of Connecticut in January 1879."Sites, Seals & Symbols," CT.gov. Retrieved 5 Jan 2007.
ArchitectureThe building is one of the largest Eastlake movement, Eastlake style buildings. The exterior is of marble from East Canaan, Connecticut and granite from Westerly, Rhode Island. The building is roughly rectangular, the interior spaces organized around two open interior courts that run vertically to large skylights. In the center is a third circular open rotunda beneath the dome. The larger hall of the House of Representatives forms an extension on the south side. The building's ornately decorated facades display statuary and include several statues, medallions and carved tympanum (architecture), tympana over the doors (except the west, which only has statues). The statues are of politicians and other people important to the state's history, such as: the Reverend Thomas Hooker (1586–1647), Major John Mason (c. 1600–1672), John Mason (1600–1672), Governor John Winthrop the Younger, John Winthrop Jr. (1605/1606–1676), Roger Sherman (1721–1793), Revolutionary War Governor Jonathan Trumbull (1710–1785), Noah Webster (1758–1843), General Joseph Roswell Hawley, Joseph Hawley (1826–1905), Civil War Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles (1802–1878), and United States Senator Orville Hitchcock Platt (1827–1905). There are 24 niches for sculpture, eight of which are still empty. The last one added was that of Ella T. Grasso (b. 1919), the first female governor of the state, who died in 1981 of cancer shortly after resigning her office. There are high relief scenes from the state's history in the 16 tympana above the doors, except for the carving above the main north door, which is of the state seal. The typanum of the main east door holds ''The Charter Oak'' by Charles Salewski, the first piece of sculpture created for the Capitol. The interior floors used white marble and red slate from Connecticut, and some of the colored marble is from Italy. The statues, medallions, and tympana are grouped by period. The north facade has six statues, five tympana, and two medallions, and the carvings are of pre-Revolutionary War figures. The east and west facades contain people from the American Revolution, Revolutionary War or government service, and the south facade's figures are from the American Civil War, Civil War and onwards. The central domed tower is distinctive. The dome itself is tall; on top of that is a cupola in height, and the drum below is , making the drum taller than the height of the main walls. The overall height of the tower is . The building's dome originally had a large statue on top, named ''The Genius of Connecticut'', which was taken down in 1938 after being damaged in the 1938 New England hurricane, great hurricane of that year. The statue was cast in bronze from a plaster original, and was tall, and weighed . It was executed in Rome and was cast in Munich, Germany. During World War II, the piece was donated to the federal government and melted down as part of the war effort to make ammunition and machine parts. The original plaster statue is now at the capitol, and has been coated in bronze. In 2002, Proposed Bill No. 5273 before the General Assembly sought authorization to make a new casting of the statue to restore the design for the capitol dome. The project finally passed in 2009, and a new bronze cast has been made. It has not yet been mounted on the summit of the dome, awaiting an additional $200,000 in funding. At the exterior base of the dome are 12 statues in six pairs representing Agriculture, Commerce, Education/Law, Force/War, Science/Justice, and Music. The interior has two matching ornate open stairwells and all of the building interior is painted in a multi-colored scheme continuing the 1870s Eastlake design aesthetic throughout. The Capitol Building is open to the public, with self-guided and guided tours available on weekdays. Guided tours begin inside the West Entrance of the Legislative Office Building.
See also*Connecticut State Capitol Police *Jesse Hall *List of National Historic Landmarks in Connecticut *National Register of Historic Places listings in Hartford, Connecticut *List of state and territorial capitols in the United States
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