Montana State Capitol
The Montana State Capitol is the state capitol of the U.S. state of Montana. It houses the Montana State Legislature and is located in the state capital of Helena at 1301 East Sixth Avenue. The building was constructed between 1896 and 1902 with wings added between 1909 and 1912.

A design competition was conducted in 1896 to determine the best suitable design for the capitol building. The commission selected a design by George R. Mann as the winner. In 1897, after it was found that the Commission was planning to scam money from the building project, it was disbanded and a 2nd Capitol Commission was convened. The new Commission abandoned Mann's plans as being too costly, and held a 2nd design competition, won by Charles Emlen Bell and John Hackett Kent. While Mann's building was never built in Montana, it was however later selected as the base design for the Arkansas State Capitol. The winning design by Bell and Kent has been altered already during the construction phase, when in 1901 the commission asked for a more imposing structure, by raising the dome. Kent opposed the changes, as his original low spherical dome was meant to be "pure Greek", but Bell sided with the commission. Between 1909-12 the building has been extended through the addition of two new wings on the eastern and western sides.

The building, constructed of Montana sandstone and granite, is in Greek neoclassical architectural style, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The exterior of the dome is covered in copper. Atop the dome is a statue of a woman affectionately dubbed " Lady Liberty."

The most notable feature inside the center of the Capitol building is the massive rotunda, painted in gold with four circular paintings surrounding it. These paintings depict four important archetypes of people in Montana's early history: the native American, the explorer, the gold miner, and the cowboy. They were painted for the Capitol opening in 1902 by Charles A. Pedretti. The western arch of the rotunda features the semi-elliptical painting "Driving the Golden Spike", painted by Amedee Joullin. Directly in front of the painting is a large statue of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. The most significant piece of art in the Capitol is by Montana's famous Western artist Charles M. Russell. The painting, titled Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross' Hole, is 25 feet (7.6 m) long and twelve feet high. It depicts the scene where the explorers Lewis and Clark asked Montana's Salish Indians for the safest route to cross the mountains to the Pacific Ocean. It is now displayed above the Speaker's chair in the House of Representatives' chamber.


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