Old Capitol Building
Originally built as the Thurston County Courthouse, the Old Capitol Building is now the home of the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction. It is located at 600 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA 98504. It is an outstanding example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Capitol building has undergone several changes throughout its history. The building is open for special events and visitors are welcome to visit the museum. The museum is open on Wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 2 pm. There are rotating exhibits and a gift shop.
The construction of the building was supervised by the architect Henry Hamilton. The building was originally built with four conical towers, a 150-foot-tall clock tower, and decorative stonework. This building was also remodeled in 1828 and 1834. The building is now used for educational services, including public elementary and secondary schools.
The construction of the Capitol was a laborious and costly project. The building took three years and 10 months to complete. The third floor rooms still weren’t completed when Congress occupied the building in late 1800. The construction of the building was delayed for a number of reasons. One reason was that the contractor had trouble obtaining workers for the project. Another reason was that there was inadequate funding for the project. The building was also damaged by an earthquake in 1949. This damage caused the building to be put into a state of disrepair.
The building was purchased by Washington State in 1901. The Thurston Country Courthouse was originally built with Chuckanut stone from Whatcom County. The west wing was constructed in Richardson Romanesque style, featuring a 150-foot-tall octagonal clock tower. The west wing served as the Thurston County Courthouse for thirteen years. It was then remodeled into the Capitol building.
The Old Capitol building was damaged by an earthquake in 1949. When the building was renovated, two exhaust towers were added and the building was renovated with seismic reinforcement. The building was also restored to its 1902 appearance in 1982. A new heat-recovery chiller was installed in the building. The sandstone walls of the building were buttressed. The building was also cleaned and restored.
The interior of the Capitol Building is decorated with rich wood paneling and stained glass. It also features a cast iron spiral staircase. The building is open for special events and is available for rentals. Learn more.
The Old Capitol Building is open for visitors on Wednesday and Friday. The Old State Capitol building tour takes visitors on a journey through the politics of the early 20th century. The tour starts at the front desk of the Thomas D. Clark Center for History. It lasts 30 minutes. The tour can be arranged through the center. Visitors can also attend special events at the Old State Capitol building.
In the 1970s, there was a debate over whether the Capitol building should be moved. Washington real-estate investors were concerned about the loss of value in the land and decided to prevent this. The debate never made it to the ballot, but in the late 1970s, concerned citizens took action to save the building. Next article.