New Capitol

Historical Marker #1779 notes the location of the Kentucky state capitol building in south Frankfort. The new building replaced the previous one on Broadway, which had been used since 1830.

Kentucky's official capitol buildings have always been located in Frankfort. The first building was constructed in 1794 on Broadway, in the center of the city's downtown. It burned in 1813. A new building was finished three years later on the same location, but it burned in 1824. A third capital was constructed at the Broadway location in 1827 and was completed in time for the 1830 legislative session. That capitol building was used for eighty years. It, however, was replaced when a new building was completed in south Frankfort in 1910 that became the state capitol and is still in use today.

Plans to construct a new capitol building began around 1904, when the state learned that it would be receiving funds from the Federal government for claims that were made during the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Those funds amounted to approximately $1 million. At the prompting of Governor J.C.W. Beckham, the General Assembly matched the funds and a building commission was appointed. Beckham believed that the Old State Capitol building was totally unsuitable for the state's government. In his speech he claimed the building was "in almost constant need of repairs to make it safe and fit for use at all."

In 1905, $40,000 was appropriated to purchase the land in South Frankfort for the construction of the building. That year clearing, excavation and work on the foundation began. The following year, the cornerstone was placed. By 1909, the various governmental departments began moving into the building and the 1910 session was held in the new structure. It was constructed of Indiana limestone and Vermont granite. The vast majority of the work was done without power machinery. The total cost of the building came to $1,820,000.

Today, the Kentucky capitol building is as striking as it was in 1910. It remains one of the most impressive public buildings in the state.

Images

Kentucky's Capitol Building

Kentucky's Capitol Building

This photograph shows the state capitol building under construction. Note the dome structure. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Kentucky's Capitol

Kentucky's Capitol

This photograph shows the capitol building nearing completion. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Capitol Interior

Capitol Interior

This photograph shows construction on the interior of the capitol building. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Kentucky's Capitol

Kentucky's Capitol

This photograph shows the landscaping at the capitol building. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Old State Capitol

Old State Capitol

By the turn of the twentieth century the Old State Capitol was viewed as too outdated and small for the needs of Kentucky's state government. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Beckham Inauguration

Beckham Inauguration

Governor J.C.W. Beckham was a major promoter for a new state capitol building. This photograph shows Beckham's inauguration on the steps of the Old State Capitol in 1900. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tim Talbott, “New Capitol,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 25, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/510.

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