A wonderful trip to the panhandle of Florida, lead us to stop in Tallahassee to tour the Florida State Capitol. It is an architecturally and historically significant building, having been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. What we found interesting is that there are actually two buildings. We eagerly decided to tour both, if we could. When we arrived, we found out that they do have guided tours, but we missed the last one for the day, but were able to pick up a self-guided tour brochure and found our way around this amazing capitol building.
Sometimes called “The Old Capitol,” the Historic Capitol, built in 1845, was threatened with demolition in the late 1970s when the new capitol building was built. Having been restored to its 1902-version in 1982, the Historic Capitol is located directly in front of the new Capitol building. Its restored space includes the Governor’s Suite, Supreme Court, House of Representatives and Senate chambers, rotunda, and halls. Its adapted space contains a museum exhibiting the state’s political history.
Since the construction of the New Tower behind the original building, the building is the third largest capitol building in the United States, after the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. and the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The Capitol is usually referred to as a twenty-two story building with a height of 345 feet. However, including the 3 underground floors, it is a 25 story building. The New Tower houses executive and legislative offices and the chambers of the Florida Legislature (consisting of the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives).
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 the nations and kingdoms that exerted sovereignty over all or parts of Florida. I have been fascinated with the state seals since the beginning of our quest to see the capitols, and always find it enlightening to see how each state’s is so different.
There is an observation deck on the twenty-second floor of the Florida State Capitol building. The deck is 307 feet above the Plaza Level and 512 feet 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. The views from up there were amazing. We were able to walk around and take pictures from all sides. We were even able to see our rental car down below, lol. It was a great place to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.
As you can see the Florida State Capitol is deep in history. We were very happy to be able to finally get to the Tallahassee area. We had been wanting to go for a while. We were only passing through to see the capitol, but it seems like a nice city to stay and visit someday.
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