The Virginia State Capital Building After Hours.

Richmond Travel Blog

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Richmond skyline from the roof of the Virginia State Capital Building.
The Virginia State Capital Building after hours. I was part of a team that executed several renovations and upgrades. I will post a series of photographs taken during this time period. The photograph of the Richmond skyline are from the various roofs of the Capital Building.

The  Virginia State Capital is the seat of state government in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is located in Richmond. Richmond is actually the third State Capital of Virginia. The Richmond structure houses the Virginia General Assembly, the oldest legislative body in the United States. The original State Capital building was completed in 1788.

Interior of the Virginia Capital Building.
 The current State Capitol building is the eighth structure to serve as  The State House, due to fires in the Colonial period and the near lack of organize professional fire teams. The legislature met in a makeshift building near Shockoe Bottom on May 1, 1780. At that meeting it was decided to have plans drawn for a new building.

The original site selected for the new, permanent building was on Shockoe Hill not far from St. Johns Church, the site of Patrick Henrys "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death' speech. This site would have had a sweeping view of most of Richmond at that time and the falls of the James River. However, things did not work out and a new site was selected. Thomas Jefferson has been credited with the initial design of the new Capitol building.
Interior of the Virginia Capital Building.
It is said that Jefferson's design was modeled after the Maison Carree at Nimes in southern France.  It is said that Jefferson had Charles-Louis Clerisseau, substitute Ionic capitals. Governor Patrick Henry conducted the cornerstone ceremony held on August 18, 1785.  The General Assembly met there in October of 1792 prior to completion of all construction activities.

After the end of the  American Civil War, Richmond was held under Military Marshall Law until January of 1870. Soon after Marshall Law was lifted, a dispute developed over selection of leadership of Richmond  City government. The legal arguments found their way to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals that held a hearing on April 27, 1870 in the courtroom on the second floor of the Virginia State Capitol Building.

Richmond skyline from the roof of the Virginia State Capital Building.
Hundreds of people were said to have crowded into the balcony to observe the proceedings. Prior to the court official opening the balcony fell onto the courtroom floor. This structural failure cause the entire courtroom floor to give way, falling more than 40 feet onto the House of Delegates Hall. A make shift hospital and morgue was set up on the Capital lawn where 251 injured men were treated and 62 corpes were collected. There with no women involve. Apparently this was not considered woman work. Included in the dead was a grandson of Patrick Henry and 3 members of the Virginia General Assembly. All damages were swiftly repaired, In 1904 both wings were added to provide room for the growing political machine.

The Virginia General Assembly in 2003 approved $83.

Interior of the Virginia Capital Building.
1 million dollar renovation, restoration, and expansion plan for the Virginia Capitol building. Work began in 2004 and was completed on May 1st, 2007. Most major system were upgraded including the HVAC,  mechanical, storm water containment and  plumbing. The most significant and costly change was the addition of an 80,000 sq. ft.  located underground, beneath the hill of the south lawn. This expansion provided a new ADA compliant visitor entrance, office space, meeting rooms and better security management. Final price exceeded $104 million dollars.

spocklogic says:
Quite the interesting history lesson on public buildings in Richmond, VA.
Posted on: Jun 29, 2011
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