June 11 Architeaser: Arkansas State Capitol

IMG_5768The dome of the Arkansas State Capitol Building is generally thought to be smooth – but as this photo shows, there are quite a few flourishes and architectural touches on the dome.   Built over 16 years (from 1899 to 1915) it had two architects of record (George R. Mann and Cass Gilbert) and was both championed and reviled by various Arkansas governors during the design and construction.

The cornerstone was laid on November 27, 1900. Since this was to be a “pay as you go” project, that slowed progress considerably.  When completed, it measured 440 feet along its north-south axis, and just over 195 feet from east to west.  From the ground to the top of the dome is 213 feet.  The building has nearly 287,000 square feet of offices.

The majority of the exterior of the Capitol is made of Batesville limestone.  The curved portions of the dome, however, are made of softer Indiana limestone.  Total construction cost was $2.2 million with today’s value of the building being $320 million.  The cupola is covered in 24 karat gold leaf.

Tomorrow there will be a lecture on the construction of the building.  More information on this will be in another entry.