While in New York in October 2015, we were able to see the New York State Capitol in Albany. Then later that afternoon, we were also able to see the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford. I thought it was fun that we were able to see two capitol buildings on the same day 🙂 Then again, they are only about 100 miles apart.
The current building is the third capitol building for the State of Connecticut since the American Revolution and is one of the largest Eastlake-style buildings. The exterior is made of marble from East Canaan, Connecticut, and granite from Westerly, Rhode Island. Roughly rectangular, the interior spaces of the building are 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.
There are five stories to the building which include east and west wings. Between these stories are courtyards that look down from balconies attached to some of the sixty rooms apparently used for offices for state officials and members of the General Assembly. It was interesting to find out that the floors are all made of marble and one of the most noted parts of the design is the stenciling that can be seen on the beams as well as on various parts of the interior.
The inside frames of the windows are made of marble and many of the windows themselves are stained glass. I love both marble and glass, so this was so exciting to see. The main entrance has marble piers and polished granite columns. The hallways of the building are also made of marble and brass with railings completely adorned with carvings; the staircases are interrupted with allegoric statues.
They do offer guided tours, but we got there after their last tour of the day, so we just picked up a self-tour guidebook, and made our way around the building. Like I said, one of the most amazing things I noticed, besides the building itself, was the floors. Inlaid with white marble and red slate from Connecticut and colored marble from Italy, they are very beautiful. The stained-glass windows and light fixtures mentioned earlier were designed by Boston interior decorator William James McPherson.
I also enjoyed their distinctive dome. The dome itself is 32 feet tall; on top of that is a cupola 55 feet in height, and the drum below is 75 feet, making the drum taller than the 70 feet height of the main walls. The overall height of the tower is 257 feet. The building’s dome originally had a large statue on top of it, named The Genius of Connecticut, which was taken down in 1938 after being damaged in the great hurricane of that year. The statue was cast in bronze from a plaster original, was 17 feet tall, and weighed 7,000 lbs. Today, at the exterior base of the dome are 12 statues in six pairs representing Agriculture, Commerce, Education/Law, Force/War, Science/Justice, and Music.
Like most other capitols, the Connecticut State Capitol has two chambers. The House of Representatives, and the senate. I always enjoyed checking them out. They were not in session while we were there, but it was nice to see where their State Representatives and Senators sit and make laws. It’s nice to catch them when they are in session, and hopefully, we can if we are back in Connecticut with some free time.
The Connecticut State Capitol is really beautiful and I enjoyed seeing its amazing stairs, the Hall of Flags, their State Seal, their Liberty Bell, and many statues in the capitol and on the grounds. I am very glad we were able to visit and explore this intriguing state capitol. Hope you are able to take a tour one day. Below is some important information. If you have more questions, make sure to check out their website.
Connecticut State Capitol Visitor Information
200 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT
Free one-hour guided tours of the State Capitol and Legislative Office Building follow this schedule:
Monday – Friday
9:15, 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, 1:15
During July and August
9:15, 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, 1:15, 2:15
Weekday tours leave from the League of Women Voters Capitol Information and Tours Desk, first floor, west entrance of the Legislative Office Building, located on Capitol Avenue near Broad Street in Hartford.
Tours may be subject to change. Please call (860) 240-0222 for current schedule.
Self-Guided Tours are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Self-guided tour booklets about the State Capitol, Capitol statuary and the Legislative Office Building are available at these locations and may be used during regular business hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed for all State Holidays, the day after Thanksgiving and December 24 through January 1.
Going East on I-84: Take the Capitol Ave. Exit 48B. The Capitol is on the left and the Legislative Office Building (LOB) is on the right.
Going West on I-84: Take the Asylum Street Exit 48. Turn right at the light, then immediately take the left fork, which is Farmington Avenue. Turn left at the next light onto Broad Street. After one light and the State Armory, turn left into the Legislative Office Building driveway and continue left to the LOB Garage. To park at the Capitol (which has very limited space) – from Broad Street, turn left at the second light onto Capitol Avenue. Turn left onto Trinity Street at the third light, and left onto the Capitol Grounds.
From I-91, Northbound and Southbound: Take the Capitol Area Exit 29A. Follow the Whitehead Highway; go halfway around the rotary onto Elm St., left onto Trinity St., and bear right onto Capitol Ave.
The Capitol and the Legislative Office Building (LOB) are on the right.
Limited free parking is available in the Legislative Office Building parking garage (weekdays only) accessible from both Capitol Avenue and Broad Street and on the north Capitol grounds off Trinity Street. On-street metered parking and commercial parking lots are also nearby.
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