On our continued quest to visit all 50 capitol buildings, we decided to stop on our road trip to Billings, MT in May of 2021 to check out the Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne. We had been through the capitol many years ago (long before we moved her to CO 15 years ago) but recently it had been closed for renovations. It was actually closed for over four years. I had driven by it with my nephew when we went to Cody, Wyoming to show him, but it was still closed. They are still only doing self-guided tours thanks to the idiot in China XI Jinping, but at least we were able to take a tour ourselves. It is very beautiful inside and out.
Known as the People’s House, the Wyoming Capitol is the seat of Wyoming’s Executive and Legislative branches of government, and one of the twenty capitols that are designated as a historical landmark.
One thing I had to share while working on this post was the amazing Wyoming State Capitol seal. I love seeing the seals and how each one is so different, just like each capitol building. This seal is outside of the front steps, greeting everyone as they enter the capitol. It was completed in 2011 and features 782 pieces of granite from all over the world featuring a woman in front of a banner bearing the phrase equal rights. The seal aptly captures the legacy laid by the state’s earliest legislators 50 years before the United States Senate passed the 19th amendment. Wyoming’s territorial legislature recognized the inherent right of women in the territory to vote and hold public office, a first for our country. Thus their motto: The Equality State. I thought that was so cool. We tried taking many pictures of the seal, but it wasn’t easy as it was SO big.
We made our way inside eventually and grabbed a self-guided tour book. It was actually more like a magazine sharing about the renovation project still going on, and the future plans. It looks exciting, but we were immediately intrigued by the rotunda and seeing the dome from the inside. The outside of the dome was originally copper but was tarnished so badly by the 1900s that they started using gold leaf and it has been gilded five times since then. Inside, looking up at the base of the dome, you will see the beautiful stained glass imported from England. Underneath it, you can see that it sparkles with blue, purple, and green hues. For a bit of information, the dome is 146 feet high, and the base is 50 feet in diameter.
After taking many pictures of the dome and rotunda area, we made our way to check out the Governor’s office which is also on the first floor. One interesting thing to note is that up until the recent renovations, the Governor was the only elected official with an office in the capitol building. The other elected officials only had ceremonial offices. On this floor, you will now find the Governor’s Ceremonial Conference Room as well as the offices for the Secretary of State, the Treasurer, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Auditor, and the Attorney General. None of the offices were open to the public without a tour, but it was nice to take a look as we were walking around. Outside the ceremonial conference room and in the corridor is the governor’s portrait gallery with paintings of Wyoming’s former governors from territorial time to present. The gallery includes a portrait of Nelly Ross inaugurated in 1925 as the first female governor in the United States.
The second floor holds the Senate chamber which is in the west wing, and the House chamber which is in the east wing. Of course, I had to go and check out both chambers which is also a highlight of any capitol tour. The Wyoming State capitol’s chambers did not disappoint. Each chamber contains four large which depict various aspects of the culture, history, and industry of Wyoming. Both chambers are accessible to visitors by balconies on the third floor. You will also find the Historic Supreme Court / Territorial House Chamber on this floor as well as the Legislative Service Office Main Office.
Besides being able to see the House and Senate galleries on the third floor, you will also find the Historic Supreme Court/Territorial House Gallery, the Joint Appropriations Committee Meeting Room, as well as many more miscellaneous offices.
One more thing I had to share about this capitol is the beautiful black and white marbled tiles laid throughout the capitol, as well as their beautiful staircase. The checkerboard floors were constructed from black marble quarried in Tennessee, and the white marble was quarried from Vermont. I love marble and these are quite impressive.
On a historical note, contractors broke ground for the Wyoming State Capitol on September 9, 1886, and the cornerstone was laid with much fanfare on May 18, 1887. Wyoming became the 44th state when President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill on July 10, 1890. Then on May 4, 1987, the capitol was officially designated as a historical landmark. here is a link with more information if you want to plan your own visit.
Wyoming State Capitol Visitor Information
200 W. 24th Street Cheyenne, WY 82002
Monday- Friday 8 am – 5 pm
The Capitol is open for self-guided tours Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Parking is available on the street surrounding the Capitol. Be aware of timed parking limits in some areas. ADA parking is available in the front of the Capitol building and on the north side of the Herschler Building. The public may also use the state parking lot located at the corner of 25th Street and Pioneer Ave, which also has ADA parking available. Visitors can enter the building from the south off of 24th Street.
The Wyoming Capitol building is very accessible. There were elevators close to the governor’s office. There is also a tunnel that leads to the office buildings into the capitol where the house and the senate reside.
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5 thoughts on “Wyoming State Capitol – The Equality State”
Haven’t been to Cheyenne in some 30 years. Sounds like it’s time for a return visit.
Samantha, this building sounds really impressive. You probably know that the Arizona State Capitol Building dome is copper, with a statue that is actually a windvane on top. How interesting that the Wyoming Capitol dome is now covered in gold leaf.
Another great tour! I just read an article the other day about the dome being re-furbished in gold leaf.
I love this idea of visiting all the State Capitols!! So far, we have only done the one – our own state’s (California).. Well, there is time and I am going to keep this in mind.. It is wonderful to see this via your travels till then
I love this idea of visiting!