Friday, May 4, 2007

The Old State Capitol

This Gothic castle was the first Louisiana State Capitol building, designed in 1847 by architect James Harrison Dakin and completed in 1849. The Legislature held sessions and governors sat in office here from 1850 until 1862, when Baton Rouge was captured by the Union during the Civil War. An accidental grease fire at the end of 1862 destroyed the interior, but left the outer walls standing. Post-war restoration enabled the Legislature to meet in session here again from 1882 until the early 1930's, when the new State Capitol was completed.

One American writer had misgivings about rebuilding: "Pathetic enough that a whitewashed castle, with turrets and things...should ever have been built in this otherwise honorable place; but it is much more pathetic to see this architectural falsehood undergoing restoration and perpetuation in our day, when it would have been so easy to let dynamite finish what a charitable fire began..." But what does Mark Twain know about architecture?

Now known as the Old State Capitol, it serves as a museum for political and governmental history, with exhibits on governors, campaigns and elections, the Louisiana Purchase, and the assassination of Huey P. Long.

3 comments:

Dan said...

wonderful architecture, beautiful photo.

RamblingRound said...

What a beautiful and unusual building! Interesting history as well.

ICE_Molly said...

Gorgeous building... but then again, it is a castle! I love the Goth look of it! I enjoyed the history to it...