Fascinating state capital, from 17779, surprised to see references inside to the House of Burgess and the paintings and statues of our founding fathers. Capital is in the center of capital square on a hill with the new and modern entrance on Bank Street. Capital now has a visitor center, cafe & gift shop with a ramp, steps & elevator up & into the old building.
In 1785, Thomas Jefferson was Ambassador to France, he agreed to design Virginia’s Capitol from afar.
Inspired by the Maison Carrée in Nimes, France, and based on classical Roman temple design, Mr.
Jefferson’s Capitol, atop Shockoe Hill, is made of brick and covered with stucco. The Ionic columns on the South Portico contain the original pine tree center posts. The cornerstone was laid in 1785 when Patrick Henry was the Commonwealth’s seventh governor. Henry also served as Virginia’s first non-Colonial governor in 1776.
In the center of the Capitol stands the two-story Rotunda, featuring likenesses of the eight Virginia-born presidents, crowned by an interior dome and skylights that illuminate Houdon’s life size marble statue of George Washington. He coated Washington’s face with oil and covered it in plaster to make a
life mask. The completed life-sized statue stands 6’2” and is considered the most perfect likeness to George Washington.
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson-commissioned a model of the Capitol with a Scale of 1:60, Fouquet’s plaster model, which is one of many artifacts still on display daily, was the working prototype for Virginia's State Capitol. Jefferson’s Capitol design marked the birth of the Classical Revival movement in America and has influenced the design of public buildings constructed in other cities throughout the United States and beyond. Its cornerstone laid in 1785,
the virginia state capitol has been in continuous use since 1788 and is the second oldest capitol building in america. the virginia state capitol was designed by thomas jefferson and was inspired by the maison carre in nimes france. during the civil war the virginia state capitol was the second capitol of the confederacy. the virginia state capitol is listed on the national register of historic places. this beautiful building is open to the public by guided and self guided tours. for more information see the attached web site.
hunter holmes mc guire was a famous virginia physician and educator. during the civil war he was chief surgeon for thomas "stonewall" jackson's forces in northern virginia. after jackson was shot at chancellorsville mc guire amputated jackson's arm in an effort to save his life. after the civil war mc guire became chair of the medical college of virginia.
the executive mansion also known as the governor's mansion is located next to the virginia capitol in downtown richmond. the executive mansion was built in 1811 and was designed by architect alexander parris. during the civil war the executive mansion was used for offices of the confederacy. the executive mansion is listed on the national register of historic places. the executive mansion is open by tour. for more information see the attached web sites.
edgar allan poe was a famous american author, poet, and literary critic. poe was born in boston and was taken in by john and frances allan of richmond after the death of his mother. poe attended the university of virginia and in 1827 enlisted in the U.S. army. poe served at fort independence in boston and fort moultrie in south carolina. edgar allan poe is best known for his poems, "the raven" and "annabell lee". he also wrote the novels, "the pit and the pendulum" and "the murders in the rue morgue".
thomas "stonewall" jackson was a famous confederate general during the civil war. jackson was a general in the army of northern virginia and was best known for his defeat of union forces in the battle of manassas. jackson was killed by "friendly" fire in may 1862 during the battle of chancellorsville.
harry f. byrd was a decendant of william byrd II, the founder of richmond and robert "king" carter one of the richest planters in colonial virginia. byrd was the 50 th governor of virginia and a U.S. senator. byrd was a vehement segregationist and was best known as a signer of the "southern manifesto" in 1956. harry f. byrd is an interesting character in U.S. history.
located on capitol square is the massive washington statue. george washington was a revolutionary war general and the first president of the united states of america. the base of the statue is flanked by the statues of thomas jefferson, patrick henry, andrew lewis, george mason, john marshall, and thomas nelson. the washington statue was cast in germany and was erected in 1858.
The western part of the Capitol Square was dominated by this large monument of Washington on my picture. This 60 ft (18 m) tall composition was completed in 1850-1869 and still looks... very classical. It was the largest and oldest monument on the Capitol Square. Warning: this part of the Capitol Square may be temporarily closed for pedestrian traffic soon because of renovations, but it's big enough to snap from a distance.
This equestrian image of George Washington was placed on the pedestal in 1858 and became symbol of Richmond for at least two reasons. First, it served as the main feature of the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America (details here). Second, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederacy just under this statue on Feb. 22, 1862.
I was curious whose figures were standing in lower part of the Washington monument but I didn't find any info right there. I do hope they add information for visitors after the upcoming renovations.
This famous monument was changing during and after the Civil War: more and more figures of the most famous Virginians were added. Statues on the monument are:
1. Patrick Henry - representing revolution;
2. Thomas Jefferson - independence;
3. George Mason - Bill of Rights;
4. John Marshall - Justice;
5. Thomas Nelson - Finance;
6. Andrew Lewis - Colonial Times.
My two random thoughts.
1. I am surprised how many famous people were born and acted in and for Virginia in the past. And their list is longer... George Washington, the first president of the United States was Virginian as well. Was Virginia magical earth?
2. In my part of the world monuments important to natives were usually destroyed by order of occupant powers. Soviets destroyed many monuments of Polish patriots (as their enemies) after WWII. Well, maybe not the best analogy. But, anyway, I am a little bit surprised that this monument survived Northern victory in 1865.
I could only see it from the outside... more in my tourist trap tip. Anyway, later on during my trip I saw and visited a few state capitol buildings and I must admit that Virginia state capitol was unique. It consisted of three similar, white, classical buildings put in symetrical way with the main, oldest and largest structure placed in the middle. They look like classical ancient temples.
The main building was completed in 1788. Thomas Jefferson selected the Maison Carree (Square House) at Nimes in southern France as a model for the capitol building. This Roman temple was built... at the end of the first century BC and survived till now.
The wings were added to the capitol in 1904: western for a new Senate chamber and eastern as new quarters for the House of Delegates.