Ohio State House in Columbus – The Buckeye State

Ohio State House - Capitol BldgEarlier this year Gene and I were in West Virginia checking out their state capitol building and exploring the area. While in the area, we also decided to take a tour of the Ohio State House as they call it. It is located in the city of Columbus, OH and was a very interesting capitol.  It is situated on a 10 acre parcel of land in the Franklinton area on the west side of the Scioto River.

Construction actively began on July 4, 1839 with the ceremonial laying of the cornerstone. Interestingly enough, prison labor from the Ohio Penitentiary was used to construct the foundation and ground floors of the building. Designed with a Greek Revival style, the broad horizontal mass of the building and the even and regular rows of columns resemble such buildings as the  . The Statehouse was opened to legislators and the public in 1857 when the House and Senate began meeting in their respective chambers and most of the executive offices were occupied. It was completed in 1861. This amazing building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 31, 1972, and was designated as a US National Historic Landmark on December 22, 1977.

Ohio State House - Liberty BellSadly we came in between tours and only had some much time that day. Thus we grabbed a self-tour guide and made our way into the building.  The first thing you can’t help but notice is their huge liberty bell. I love how they have it showcased so proudly to welcome guests and visitors. Of course we had to take a few pictures and made our way to where the tours start (even though we weren’t doing a guided tour, we thought it would be a great place to start). This remarkable room is stated to be one of the most popular elements of the Ohio State House. On the floor in this room you will find a large map of Ohio which illustrates Ohio’s 88 counties. This true-to-scale map allows visitors to pass through all of Ohio’s counties during one visit to the Statehouse in less than 30 seconds. Much quicker than driving through them, lol. It was such an entertaining way to show all the different counties in Ohio. Not to be overshadowed by the flooring, the room itself is constructed of five different types of marble from around the world. It is a truly beautiful room.

Ohio State House - Map Room

One thing that most capitols buildings have is a rotunda, and I wanted to share a little bit before I moved onto the cambers and such. The Ohio State House does indeed have a rotunda, and it is very unique. To start with, the floor of the Statehouse rotunda is composed of almost 5,000 individual pieces of marble, which were cut and fitted by hand. Can you imagine how long that took? Anyway, what is so unique is that the design at the center of the floor traces the development of the United States. There are 13 stones in the center which represent the original colonies and there are three rings symbolizing areas of territory that enlarged the nation. Surrounding the rings is a star burst with 32 points, one for each of the states in the Union when the floor was laid down. Surrounding the entire design is a gray band representing the U.S. Constitution. I thought this was so wonderful and impressed with all the thought that went into the floor of the rotunda.

Ohio State House - Hall Floor

Of course, while in the rotunda you have to look up and check out the dome from the interior. In the middle of the dome is a hand-painted Great Seal of Ohio, a reproduction of the Seal that was in use in 1861 when the Rotunda was completed It is also quite impressive. It is not just a dome, but it is also what they call a cupola. The cupola is 70 ft. tall and 64 ft. wide and acts as an observation deck for viewing the surrounding city. A note of history, this area is the last original unrenovated area of the Ohio Statehouse. If you want to climb about 300 steps I think, tours are available by special request and visitors traditionally sign their names on the cupola’s walls. We didn’t know about this, thus didn’t go up there, but apparently the oldest signature reads “J. Cook 1870”. Wow, so amazing.

Ohio State House - DomeI always love checking out the Senate and House of Representatives at capitols so we decided ot head upstairs and see if we were able to get in without a tour guide. Before I share a little about the chamber, I have to share some information about the grand stairs at the Ohio State House. They are truly amazing and beautiful. They are a matching pair of staircases  that were built in 1901 and lead to the second floor. At the top of the stair is an equally amazing stained glass seal which is surrounded by murals which depict some important Ohio themes: art, justice, agriculture, and manufacturing. Lighting made it difficult to get a good picture, but it was so beautiful.

Ohio State House - Seal

We finally made it to the Senate and the House of Representatives Chambers. The Senate Chamber is approximately the same size as the House Chamber and accommodates Ohio’s 33 Senators, while the House of Representatives accommodates Ohio’s 99 Representatives. The desks on the Senate floor are reproductions of the originals, with the exception that these desks are wired for microphones, telephones and computers. The representatives’ desks rest on a raised platform, which was added at the turn of the twentieth century. This platform now provides representatives with disabilities easier access to the floor and creates space for computer, telephone and microphone wiring. From what it looks and sounds like the color scheme in the Senate and House Chamber is the same as it appeared in 1861 and features approximately 25 different colors of paint, mostly French blue, straw yellow and salmon.

Ohio State House - Chambers

If you are at the capitol try to take some time and check out the grounds. There are a lot of them, but I would be amiss to not mention the statue of Christopher Columbus, the namesake of the Ohio capital city. As the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage approached in 1892 many Americans sought ways to recognize what many felt was the beginning of the nation’s history. Thus one resident had a statue of the Italian explorer made which is now a fixture of Capitol Square. The base upon which the statue is mounted was created in 1992, the five hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s voyage, and was rededicated on Columbus Day of that year.

Ohio State House - Columbus StatueI enjoyed learning a little bit about Ohio history and touring this amazing capitol. You can feel how much work and thought went into all the details to make the capitol as beautiful and meaningful as it is today. If you are even in the area, or passing through, it is worth the time to stop and visit, even if it’s just a quick tour. You will not be disappointed. Here is a link to their website with more information.  If you have been to this capitol, please drop a line a comment and share your experience. I am interested in what you thought of the building and the grounds. Happy Travels.

Ohio State House Visitor Information

Ohio Flag


1 Capitol Square  Columbus, Ohio 43215




Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m
Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m


Guided tours are available every day, except on state holidays.  Walk-in tours start on the hour, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays in the Map Room, and on the hour, 12 to 3 p.m. on weekends.  Please call 614-728-3726 for more information or to schedule a tour for groups of more than 10 people.  Visitors are also welcome to take a self-guided or cell phone tour.




Ohio Statehouse visitors are invited to park in the facility’s underground parking garage. This convenient and affordable parking solution offers direct sheltered access to the Ohio Statehouse and Senate Building. There are fees depending on where you park.


The Ohio Statehouse is handicapped accessible and senior friendly.

There are designated barrier-free Ohio Statehouse entrances. Accessible entrances are located:
*East side of the CS on Third Street
*Underground Parking Garage South Sliders




West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston – The Mountain State

West Virginia State Capitol - Front

We finally made it to our 45th state and a new capitol in the city of Charleston, West Virginia! We were there late in the day so there wasn’t a whole lot going on. However we were still able to do a self-guided tour and learn a little bit about the building and its history.

West Virginia State Capitol - Flag with Gene

I will start with a bit of that history. The West Virginia State Capitol building is actually the third for the state, and was officially dedicated on June 20th, 1932 by their current Governor William B. Conley happily on the state’s 69th birthday. What a day that must have been. It had taken 8 years, and three construction projects before it was ready for public usage. The west wing was built first between 1924 and 1925. Once that was finished, the east wing was constructed in 1926 and 1927. Between 1930 and 1932 the rotunda was completed which connected the west and east wings.

West Virginia State Capitol - Dome

Atop the capitol is the 293-foot gold dome which is stated to be five feet taller than the dome of the United States Capitol.  Either way, it is covered in copper and gold leaf, and was originally gilded by Mack Jenney and Tyler Company in 1931. The dome was later restored to the original plans of Cass Gilbert in 2005, which included the reconstruction of the eagle at the top of a 25-foot bronze spire built on a 34 and a half-foot lantern.


West Virginia State Capitol - Chandeller

Most rotundas in the state capitols are amazing, and this state house was no exception. Suspending 180 feet from the floor of the building on a 54-foot brass and bronze chain is a 4000-pound chandelier. It is made of 10,000 pieces of Czechoslovakian crystal, is eight feet in diameter, and is illuminated by 96 light bulbs. It is quite impressive.

West Virginia State Capitol - Us Inside

I love marble and was also impressed with how much of it was at the West Virginia State Capitol. They state the two thirds of the interior consist of marble. The walls are made of Imperial Danby, and the floors are a combination of white Vermont marble and dark Italian travertine. It was very beautiful. I think it even had more marble than the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre.

Ground Floor

West Virginia State Capitol - Rotunda1

On the first floor of the west wing side of the capitol you will find the Governor’s Offices, the Governor’s Reception room, as well as the Secretary of State’s Offices. On the east side, you will find the Attorney General offices, the Agriculture Commissioner office, as well as the Bill Drafting and Legislative Services office.

Second Floor

West Virginia State Capitol - Chambers

On the west wing side of the building you will find the Senate Chamber, the Senate Majority leader’s office, and many other Senate related offices. On the east wing side of the capitol you will find the House of Delegates Chamber, the House Speaker’s office, the House Majority Leaders office, as well as many House related offices. Couple of interesting things to note, that while the chambers are similar, there are quite a few specific differences. Two rows of coffers grace the arches above the Senate chamber, while the House has only one. There are carved eagles in each of the chambers which are also a little different. The ones in the Senate have their wings spread, while the ones in the House are closed. Another unique difference between the two chambers is their ceilings. The Senate is dome shaped, while the one in the House is flat.

West Virginia State Capitol - Side

I was very happy to be able to see and explore the West Virginia State Capitol. I have to say we had a nice time walking around the building while getting a little turned around at times, lol (it is actually WAY bigger than it looks) but everyone we spoke with was very friendly and quick to answer any questions we had.

West Virginia State Capitol - Gardens

However, a tour is not complete without checking out some of the statues on the Capitol Grounds.  Below is a list of some of these statues you might like to see:

  • West Virginia Veterans Memorial
  • The West Virginia Female Veterans statue
  • Spirit of West Virginia
  • Booker T. Washington
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Mountaineer Solder
  • “Stonewall” Jackson
  • Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument
  • The Coal Miner Statue

West Virginia State Capitol Visitor Information


1900 Kanawha Boulevard East Charleston, West Virginia


304- 558-4839


The Capitol is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday and Holidays.




State Capitol tours, and tours of the Governor’s Mansion are available for guests, school groups, etc., by calling Capitol Tours & Information – (304) 558-4839

Individuals and groups may also tour the nearby Culture Center and West Virginia State Museum – (304) 558-0220


From points North: Take I-77 South to the Greenbrier Street/ State Capitol Exit (Exit 99), turn right off the exit ramp onto Greenbrier Street, then turn left at Washington Street into the State Capitol parking lot.

From points East: Take I-68 West to I-79 South, then to I-77 South. Take the Greenbrier Street/ State Capitol Exit (Exit 99), turn right off the exit ramp onto Greenbrier Street, then turn left at Washington Street into the State Capitol parking lot.

From points South: Take I-77 North to the Greenbrier Street/ State Capitol Exit (Exit 99), turn left off the exit ramp onto Greenbrier Street, then turn left at Washington Street into the State Capitol parking lot.

From points West: Take I-64 East to the Greenbrier Street/ State Capitol Exit (Exit 99), turn right off the exit ramp onto Greenbrier Street, then turn left at Washington Street into the State Capitol parking lot.

Parking & Shuttle:

Shuttle service is provided between the Capitol Complex and the Laidley Field parking area in three shifts, a morning shift, a midday shift and an afternoon shift. The shuttle departs from Laidley Field starting at 6:45 a.m. All other shifts the shuttle starts at Building 3. The last run of the day begins at 5:15 p.m. Each complete run of the shuttle is approximately 10-15 minutes depending on traffic lights and traffic.

The shuttle does not operate typically between 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m. The Schedule also includes a number to call if more information or assistance is needed. The stops include: Laidley Field, Capitol Parking Garage {North Side}, Building 3 {North Side}, Building 5, Building 6, Capitol Building East Wing, Capitol Building West Wing & Cultural Center Entrances. The shuttle bus is handicapped accessible.


All public entrances to the State Capitol are wheel chair accessible.


The Capitol Complex Food Court is located in the basement of the main capitol building. It is open Monday-Friday – 7:00am – 1:30pm. Menus, contact information and more are available through the Food Court’s website: https://www.wvcapitolfoodcourt.com/

The Walker Art Gallery Museum – Liverpool, England

Walker Art Gallery - FrontI love art as you can probably tell from some of my posts such as  The Musée d’Orsay Museum,  Art Institute in Chicago, and many more. You may also notice that I really enjoy impressionism art, and had to visit the Walker Art Gallery when we were in Liverpool, England. I had never heard of it until we were talking to some locals in Manchester who told us we had to visit if we liked art. Thus, we took some time one day to explore the museum. PSA, make sure to talk to locals when traveling. They have the best advice! Continue reading “The Walker Art Gallery Museum – Liverpool, England”

South Dakota State Capital in Pierre – The Land of Infinite Variety

South Dakota State Capitol - FrontWhile in South Dakota for the LWMS Convention, we decided to check out the South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre. It is a wonderful capitol and I really liked all the marble. The capitol features a copper dome, Corinthian columns, rusticated walls of granite and Bedford limestone, and a decorative interior with English and Italian Renaissance features. It was constructed between 1905 and 1910. The plans for the building were designed by the Minneapolis architectural office of C.E. Bell and M.S. Detwiler, who gave the building similar features to the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Montana. The planning and construction cost was almost $1,000,000. I have to say, it was well worth it.

Continue reading “South Dakota State Capital in Pierre – The Land of Infinite Variety”

Stephen A Schwarzman New York Public Library – Manhattan. NY

New York Public Library FrontOn our first trip to New York in October 2015, we were able to stay at the Andaz Hotel in Midtown which is literally steps from the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. Its actual name is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building and is the flagship building in the New York Public Library system, as well as a prominent historic landmark in Midtown Manhattan. The branch, which was officially dedicated on May 23, 1911,  is one of four research libraries in the library system. It currently contains an area of 646,680 square feet and 4 stories open to the public. It is located on Fifth Avenue at its intersection with 42nd Street. Continue reading “Stephen A Schwarzman New York Public Library – Manhattan. NY”

Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines – The Hawkeye State

Iowa State Capitol Front

On a road trip through Nebraska and Iowa in May of 2010 we made sure to stop and check out the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln and the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. Not sure what number capitol these were that we visited, but we were very to be able to see it and explore a little bit of Iowa while we were at it. One of the first things we learned about the Iowa State Capitol was that it was constructed between 1871 and 1886, and is the only five-domed capitol in the country. I found that quite interesting. Continue reading “Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines – The Hawkeye State”