Then and Now: February 2011

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WisconsinCapitol Dome

This Month's Statehouse Photo

The detail photo in the February 2011 issue of State Legislatures shows a part of the dome of the Wisconsin  Capitol in Madison.

The Capitol was completed in 1917 and is the fifth building to serve as a statehouse since the first territorial legislature convened in 1836. Construction began in 1906 and the final price was $7.25 million. It was designed by the architectural firm of George B. Post & Sons from New York. The building is just over 284 feet from the ground floor to the top of the bronze "Wisconsin" statue on the dome, sculpted in 1920 by Daniel Chester French. A globe with an eagle on it is in her right hand, her right arm is outstretched and the figure wears a helmet with the state animal, the badger, atop it.

The building includes 43 types of stone, including white granite from Vermont for the exterior. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001. It's the tallest building in Madison.

25 Years Ago

Articles from the February 1986 issue of State Legislatures:

  • DE FACTO NEW FEDERALISM: “Domestic policy initiatives are no longer originating in Washington; today they are the responsibility of the states.”
  • TEENAGE PREGNANCY: PASSING CONTROVERSIAL LEGISLATION: “The United States has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion in the Western world.”
  • MORE POSSIBLE WASTE SITES: “The DOE earlier chose locations in Nevada, Texas and Washington as finalists for the first such repository, with a presidential decision as to which one to use scheduled for 1991.”

Did You Know?

Vermont flag

Desks from Vermont’s first Capitol, built in 1808, were made of pine. Lawmakers, while totally engaged in proceedings, would whittle away at the soft wood with their jackknives. In only about 20 years they all needed to be replaced, as they were too whittled to be workable.


—From A Celebration of State Capitols, by Richard R. Gibson