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Old State Capitol, Frankfort

4.6
#2 of 6 in Museums in Frankfort
The Old State Capitol, also known as Old Statehouse, was the third capitol of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The building is located in the Kentucky capital city of Frankfort and served as home of the Kentucky General Assembly from 1830 to 1910. The current Kentucky State Capitol was built in 1910. The Old State Capitol has served as a museum and the home of the Kentucky Historical Society since 1920. It has been restored to its American Civil War era appearance and was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
The Kentucky legislature voted for its construction in 1827. The building was designed in the Greek Revival style by Gideon Shryock, an early Lexington, Kentucky architect. The Old State Capitol was his first building and he was only twenty-five years old. Shryock chose the Greek Revival style to symbolically link Kentucky, a young republic, with ancient Greece, the prototype of popular democratic government. He wanted the front of the building to duplicate the Temple of Minerva Polias at Priene. Greek temples had no windows, therefore the front of the capitol is devoid of fenestration. Other architectural features include a self-supporting stone stairway and a domed lantern above it to bring in sunlight.
A bitterly contested 1899 state governor election came to a climax when Democratic claimant William Goebel of Covington, Kentucky was assassinated at the capitol on his way to be inaugurated. A plaque reading "William Goebel fell here, Jan. 30th, 1900" exists near the front entrance of the building.
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Old State Capitol Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
113 reviews
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4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Arrived too late for the tour. But fortunately a gentleman exited the building nextdoor. He gave us directions to the new capital building. We did tour the new capital building. Also he told us the ol...  more »
  • We were lucky! When we decided to visit this Historic Site we did it as a fallback because it was the weekly closing day for visits to the State Capitol of Kentucky; luckily for us we found a big party celebrating a historic occasion and this party took place right in the garden in front of the Old State Capitol, picnics, barbecues, music and dancing, great atmosphere. It must be said that, however, it would have been equally a nice visit because this old building deserves to be visited; you can see that it is a construction of other times, in some respects even modest compared to similar buildings built later but it remains a beautiful construction with beautiful interiors.
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  • Wonderful grounds and well-kept cold state capitol. Tours are very nice. We used to hold the annual KY Folklife Festival on these grounds, and along the KY River. It was a beautiful and well-attended event.
  • Surprisingly it was worth going a tour. I think there were only four people including myself. I enjoyed the history of the building and the stories that went along with it. I enjoyed the history about the one piece of furniture that they have on display.

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