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Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison (must see)

The Wisconsin State Capitol, in Madison, Wisconsin, houses both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature along with the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor. Completed in 1917, the building is the fifth to serve as the Wisconsin capitol since the first territorial legislature convened during 1836 and the third building since Wisconsin was granted statehood during 1848. The streets surrounding the building form the Capitol Square which is home to many restaurants and shops. The Wisconsin State Capitol is the tallest building in Madison.

The first capitol was a prefabricated wood-frame council house without heat or water that had been sent hastily to Belmont. Legislators met there for 42 days after Belmont was designated the capital of Wisconsin Territory. The session chose Madison as the site of the capitol, and Burlington, Iowa as the site of further legislative sessions until Madison could be ready. The council house and an associated lodging house still stand and are operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society as the First Capitol Historic Site. The second capitol was constructed during 1837 in Madison of stone cut from Maple Bluff and oak cut locally. Located on the site of the present capitol, it was a small but typical frontier capitol that cost $60,000 to build. Growing government needs forced the state to construct a new capitol, also on the site of the present capitol. This structure, with a similar U.S. Capitol-inspired dome, was built between 1857 and 1869. During 1882, it was expanded at a cost of $900,000, with two wings to the north and south. During 1903, however, a commission began researching replacement of the structure.

On the night of February 26, 1904, a gas jet ignited a newly-varnished ceiling in the third capitol building. Although the building had an advanced fire-fighting system, the nearby University of Wisconsin–Madison's reservoir which supplied the capitol was empty, allowing the fire to spread substantially before the switch to alternate city water supplies could be made. As a result, the entire structure, except the north wing, burned to the ground. Numerous records, books, and historical artifacts were lost, including the mount of Old Abe, a Civil War mascot. However, by the efforts of university students, much of the State Law Library was saved.

Construction of the present capitol building, the third in Madison, began during late 1906 and was completed during 1917.The architect was George B. Post & Sons from New York. Because of financial limitations and the need for immediate office space to house state government employees, the construction of the new building was extended over several years and emphasized building one wing at a time. The Capitol is 284 feet, 5 inches tall from the ground floor to the top of the statue on the dome, making the building 3 feet shorter than the nation's capitolin Washington D.C. The "Wisconsin" statue on the dome was sculpted during 1920 by Daniel Chester French of New York. Its left hand holds a globe with an eagle on it and her right arm is outstretched to symbolize the state motto, "Forward." It wears a helmet with the state animal, the badger, on top. It is made of hollow bronze covered with gold leaf.
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Madison, Wisconsin within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Wisconsin State Capitol on Map

Sight Name: Wisconsin State Capitol
Sight Location: Madison, USA
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Madison, Wisconsin

Create Your Own Walk in Madison

Create Your Own Walk in Madison

Creating your own self-guided walk in Madison is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Architecture Tour

Architecture Tour

Madison boasts of some great architectural masterpieces. There is something for everyone who is into stunning past and present structures. Take this walking tour to the most significant buildings Madison has to offer.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Museums and Art Galleries Walk

Museums and Art Galleries Walk

If you are planning a trip to Madison, it cannot be complete without exploring the city's most important museums and art galleries. Madison is home to many great museums, including the Geology Museum, Chazen Museum of Art, as well as some nice galleries. Take this tour to the best museums in Madison.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Madison Introduction Walk

Madison Introduction Walk

Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin, has no shortage of landmarks notable in terms of architectural, historic, and cultural importance. The city's skyline is dominated by the Wisconsin State Capitol dome modeled after the U.S. Capitol. Linking the Capitol Square with the University of Wisconsin campus is State Street, Madison's main thoroughfare, running across Downtown and lined with...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles