Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Old Kentucky State Capitol,Frankfort,Kentucky
Completed in 1830, this national historic landmark introduced Greek-Revival architecture to the United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. The building served as the capitol of the Commonwealth of Kentucky from 1830 to 1910. Here Kentucky's leaders decided the course their state would take through the tumultuous nineteenth century.
Gideon Shryock, an early Kentucky architect, designed the Old State Capitol when he was only twenty-five years old. Shryock used architectural symbolism to connect the vigorous frontier state of Kentucky with the ideals of classical Greek democracy. The building is widely recognized as a beautiful masterpiece of nineteenth-century American architecture.
This was the only pro-Union state capitol occupied by the Confederate army during the Civil War. Plans to swear in a Confederate governor and establish a Confederate state government were ruined by the approach of the Union army just days before the Battle of Perryville in 1862.
In the aftermath of the bitterly contested gubernatorial election in 1899, the state legislature met here in 1900 to decide the winner. An assassin, hiding in an office in the Old Capitol Annex next door, shot the Democratic claimant, William Goebel, as he approached the capitol. Armed citizens and State Guard soldiers occupied the grounds, and here for a time Kentuckians threatened to fight their own miniature civil war.
Replaced by the New Capitol in South Frankfort early in the twentieth century, the building has served as the home of the Kentucky Historical Society since 1920. The subject of extensive restoration work since the early 1970s, the Old State Capitol looks today much as it did in the 1850s.
Unique architectural features include a famous self-supporting stone stairway within the Old State Capitol, re-created to bring to life the building as it was in the 1850s with fine paintings, sculpture, prints, and furniture.
Goebel’s Assassination Site
Outside the Old State Capitol is the site of the assassination of William Goebel, the only governor in United States history to die in office as a result of assassination.