State Capital Tour: Columbus, Ohio

There are 51 capitals to visit within the US.  Nope that is not a trick, there are 50 state capitals and 1 US Capital.  We plan on visiting on each one as we journey throughout the states.  We discovered this field trip idea when we were in Salt Lake City and since then we try to get to every state we visit.

We visited our 7th state capital in Ohio.  Located almost in the center of the state in Columbus, the statehouse is the 2nd largest capital building in the US.  The statehouse is the original.  Many of the other state capitals we have visited, the buildings are often the 2nd or 3rd building.  The Ohio Statehouse has had 2 other locations throughout the state.  The 3rd and final location in Columbus.  It’s location is close to the railroad, river and all major roads flow through it.

The state capital has some unique features that state out to others that we have visited.  First, the building used to have a stable in the basement area to house the horse and carriages that visited the capital.  This got the horses out of weather conditions throughout the year.  This space is now enclosed to greet visitors and tour groups and a gift shop that specializes in Ohio made products.  The basement also has the Ohio Museum Education Center. 

Second feature of the statehouse that makes it unique is that the statehouse does not have many art pieces about the buildings.  This is because that they did not want it to look like a palace.  A Greek revival feel and simple look is what the statehouse feels like on the inside. 

The third interesting feature is that after Abraham Lincoln died, on his way back to Springfield, he was laid in state in the rotunda.  This is because President Lincoln had given one of his most iconic speeches here.  He was highly respected by the state and was honored when they were able to have him lay in state.  There is also a large bust of Lincoln in the rotunda.  This bust is significant as  it is the only bust that was captured that he was present for.  Meaning that Lincoln sat long enough for the artist to take an actual rendering of himself to make a sculpture.  All other sculptors that are made of Lincoln are from photographs or drawings.

We also learned that women were not allowed to visit the house or senate rooms without a male escort.  But the male escort could be their husband, son, brother, father, etc…  When Lincoln came to do his speech on the house floor, the security detail could not keep all the people regulated on the floor, so women that were not escorted were finally allowed on the house floor.  Like many statehouses, there is a gallery for visitors to come watch the house and senate function.  In the house gallery, there was a special gallery built for non-escorted women to come be part of the politics in Ohio.

This is well worth a visit, with the tour and visiting the museum will take about 2-3 hours.  There is a parking garage below the building, $2 an hour.  There is a security checkpoint to enter the building.  There is a penny press machine and a gift shop. 

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