The Ohio Statehouse
This is a must-see for any visitor. The statehouse has seen much history and drama throughout its existence. Tours can be taken daily.
Built between 1839 and 1861, the land on which the Ohio Statehouse stands was donated by four prominent land owners in what was then known as Franklinton. Prison labor was used to construct the foundation and ground floors. Union workers were then employed to complete the construction of the rest of the structure.
The Statehouse was designed in the Greek Revival style. At this time in the early half of the ninetieth century, America had only recently declared in independence from Britain and there was an attempt to differentiate themselves and their architecture from that of Britain. There was no trace of Greek style architecture in Britain. Americans sought to associate themselves with Greece, being the one of the earliest democracies, therefore most of early American architecture was an imitation of Grecian design.
The Statehouse's center rotunda and cupola areas are nearly exact replicas of the Greek Parthenon. The large colonnades, or columns, adorn the front entrance of the Statehouse, similar to those on the front of the White House.
Another feature of interest in Statehouses architecture is the ventilation system designed by Nathan B. Kelly. He was only one of the seven architects to work on the project during the twenty two years it took to complete. Kelly noticed that a ventilation system had been overlooked in the original design. It was Kelly's idea to built brick walls on the inside of the limestone external walls. By doing this, he allowed air to flow freely through the entire building. Years later, during renovation, these ducts were sealed off. However, the air flowed so strongly through these ducts that it would blow the seals off.
Landmarks, statues and monuments.
The Statehouse is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It boasts a collection cannons from the Civil War era. There are two six-pounders and two 12-pound Napoleons. Cast in bronzed, these cannons were built in Cincinnati at the Miles Greenwood foundry. The two six-pounders are two of only three left in existence from the Greenwood foundry. Each of the cannons weigh about one ton.
The Ohio Veterans Plaza is located on the eastern grounds of the Statehouse's 10 acre Capitol Square. It pays tribute to all the men and women of Ohio that have served the nation since World War II. The plaza was dedicated in August of 1998 and was the first veterans memorial planned for the Capitol grounds in more than sixty years.
The Plaza features two great curved limestone walls that are inscribed with actual correspondence sent home to families, friends and loved ones from soldiers over seas. There are plaque designations from all the branches of the armed services. There is also flag poles each featuring the name and flag of each of the eighty-eight counties of Ohio. All this surrounding an expansive lawn to commemorate the traditional parade ground atmosphere of a military post.
Along the north side of the State house there is an enormous statue simply referred to as "Peace". Atop this statue stands the lady of peace. It was erected in 1923 by the Women's Relief Corps or commemorate Civil War soldiers.
The oldest monument on the Statehouse grounds is the "These Are My Jewels" statue. Designed and built by Levi Tucker Scofield, from Cincinnati, it was built for the Worlds Colombian Exposition of 1893. In the following year it was moved to the Capitol grounds near where it stands today.
On west side of the Statehouse, you can see from High Street, the statue built in memory of former Ohio governor and assassinated President, William McKinley. He stands as the lone figure of the west lawn
For the World War I enthusiasts, there is, along the steps of the west entrance, a statue in honor of the "Doughboys". It was erected in 1930 and designed by Arthur Ivone.
Tours are led seven days a week free of charge. All tours begin at the Third Street entrance at the information desk. Pre-scheduled tours are Monday through Friday from nine thirty to three fifteen, every 15 minutes. Walk-in tours begin, on weekdays, at 10 a.m., 11:30, one, and three. Weekends at 11:15, 12:30, and three. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes. It may be a good idea to visit the Education and Visitors Center before or after your tour. There is also a Statehouse Museum shop where can purchase souvenirs and t-shirts.
To guarantee a tour guide, you may want to make a reservation about two weeks in advance. The larger the group the farther in advance you should schedule. The Statehouse asks that you make reservations for groups larger than 10.
On your tour you will see the ceremonious home of both the governor and Ohio General Assembly. The Statehouse is one of the oldest functioning statehouses in the United States. It is considered one of the best expressions of American Greek Revival Architecture. Famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright was one of its most notable fans. On the tour you will see some of the greatest landmarks and symbols of Ohio's history, as well as the history of our nation as a whole.