Florida State Capitol
The Florida State Capitol, in Tallahassee, Florida, USA, is the state capitol of the U.S. state of Florida. The building is an architecturally and historically significant building, having been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The capitol houses executive and legislative offices and the chambers of the Florida Legislature (consisting of the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives). The capitol is located at the intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe Street in downtown Tallahassee, Florida, the state capital. The Capitol is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding state holidays).

Tallahassee was named Florida's capital in 1824, midway between the then-largest cities in the state, St. Augustine and Pensacola. The first territorial government met in log cabins. A capitol building was constructed in 1826 but never completely finished. It was torn down in 1839 to make room for the erection of the present structure, which was completed in 1845, just prior to Florida’s entry into the United States as the 27th state. Several additions to the historic capitol have been made throughout the years. Frank Millburn made the first expansion in 1902 by adding the classical style dome. In 1923, Henry Klutho additions included two new wings and a marble interior. Finally large wings for the House and Senate chambers were added to the north and south ends of the building in 1936 and 1947, respectively. Threatened with demolition in the late 1970s when the new capitol was being built, the historic capitol was saved through citizens’ action led by Secretary of State Bruce Smathers and then wife Nancy McDowell. The efforts were successful and the building was restored to its 1902 appearance. Architectural highlights include the elaborate art glass dome, red and white striped awnings, and a representation of the Florida State Seal over the entry columns. A drawing of the building is used in the logo of T-Pain's label, Nappy Boy Entertainment. as Waller Park, for Curtis L. Waller, Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2003, the dolphin statue “Stormsong” was added within Waller Park’s Florida Heritage Fountain.

The Capitol was built using:
  • 3,700 tons of structural steel
  • 2,800 tons of reinforcing steel
  • 25,000 cubic yards (19,000 m³) of concrete (the equivalent of 16 football fields, each one foot thick).
  • It also has 12,000 square feet (1,100 m 2) of walnut paneling
  • 12,000 gallons (45,000 L) of paint
  • 62,000 square feet (5,800 m 2) of Italian marble (about 1.5 acres).
In addition, there were:
  • 60,000 square feet (6,000 m 2) of carpet
  • 92,000 square feet (8,500 m 2) of terrazzo flooring
  • 30 miles (48 km) of telephone cable
  • 250 miles (400 km) of electrical wire
For the 1,016 days it took to build the New Capitol, an estimated 3.2 million man-hours of labor were expended. The total area is 718,000 sq ft (66,700 m 2), which is equal to approximately 400 homes. Inside the Capitol, there are 66 public restrooms, 40 sets of stairs, 14 elevators, 360 underground parking spaces, and over 2,000 doors. The cost for the Capitol was $43,070,741. An additional $1,957,338 was committed to landscaping and to the plaza, fountains, and steps on the west front. The grand total was $45,028,079. Approximately 1,500 persons work in the Capitol during a large part of the year. However, when the Legislature is in session, an estimated 5,000 persons occupy the building. The architects and engineers who designed and built the Capitol estimated its working life at a century.

Points of interest

Capitol grounds
On the northeast corner of the Capitol Complex is the Florida Sri Chinmoy Peace State Marker. East of the House Office Building is a replica of the Liberty Bell. The replica was a gift to the citizens of Florida as symbol of the 1950 United States Savings Bonds Independence Drive. Within the Capitol Courtyard is a memorial in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., dedicated in 1984. South of the King Memorial is The Florida Fraternal Order of Police Law Enforcement Memorial (dedicated in 2000). The memorial has the names of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Outside of the Senate Office Building is a monument dedicated to Floridians who have received the Purple Heart medal. On the lawn of the Old Capitol sit two marble obelisks. The northern one is dedicated to the men of Leon County who perished in the Civil War. The other is a monument to Capt. John Parkhill. Capt. Parkhill was killed at Palm Hammock, Florida leading the Leon Volunteers in chase of members of the Seminole Nation. Slightly northwest of the Civil War obelisk is Old Capitol Historical Marker. A plaque designating the legislative act naming this area after Judge Curtis L. Waller is on the south wall of the west park entrance. The Florida Heritage Fountain (and Stormsong) sits in the center of Waller Park.

The Capitol
The Plaza Level holds several items of note besides the offices of the Governor and the Cabinet. In the Rotunda, a copy of the State Seal cast in bronze and mounted on terra verde marble sits. This is not current seal, but one in use when building was completed. It is surrounded by five smaller seals representing major sovereign nations who controlled Florida ( France, Spain, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the United States). North of the Rotunda is the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame and the Fallen Firefighters Wall of Honor. To the south are the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and a memorial for Florida's Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Southwest of the Rotunda is the Heritage Chapel, an area designed to serve as a meditative space. Opposite of the Chapel is a plaque that states “This plaque is dedicated to Senator Lee Wisenborn whose valiant effort to move the Capitol to Orlando was the prime motivation for the construction of this building.” The west Plaza Level is the Florida Welcome Center and the "Images of the Sunshine State" murals by Florida artist James Rosenquist. The Florida Welcome Center offer maps, brochures including a self-guided tour pamphlet, and related information. The public viewing galleries for the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate are on the fifth floor. A series of murals on Florida’s history by Christopher Still encircle the House chamber floor. Outside of the Senate galleries is the Five Flags Mural by Renee Faure depicting people from the Florida history. The Observation Deck is the top or twenty-second floor of the Capitol building. The deck is 307 feet (94 m) above the Plaza Level and 512 feet (156 m) above sea level. In the east wing is an art gallery featuring a rotating display of artwork by Florida resident artists and a series of bronze plaques on the inductees of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. The southern side is the Freedom Shrine.

Florida Legislative Research Center & Museum
The capitol is home to the Florida Legislative Research Center & Museum, which features exhibits about Florida’s legislative history. The archives include art, historic photographs, documents and oral histories. The Gallery at the Historic Capitol features changing exhibits of photographs from the museum.

The View and Legends
As visitors to and residents of Tallahassee have noticed over the years, from a direct view from the front, the new capitol building looks somewhat phallic, an impression aided by the delicate placement of the domed wings on either side of the base. as it looms over the old capitol building. All official photos seem to be taken from the South West or North West as it gives the best view of the building while de-emphasizing its masculine qualities. Local legend has it, when the newer road, Apalachee Parkway, was built leading to the front of the capitol building it was designed to prevent viewers from finding a good spot to view this edifice head on. (However, the road in question was constructed twenty years before the New Capitol's completion.) From the only places you could see it, large trees have been planted to prevent the view. This architectural edifice has been the brunt of jokes for years, including the sale of boxer shorts with the silhouette of the building silk screened over the fly under the brand name "legislative briefs." There has been a long time Tallahassee joke, that the original plans for the building called for a fountain in the center of the roof garden on top of the building. There is no evidence that this is true. In the mean time, it has won a contest due to its appearance .

Building Activity

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