West Virginia State Capitol
The current West Virginia State Capitol was constructed from 1924 to 1932 and is the tallest building in the state and fourth tallest domed capitol building in the United States. The building was designed in the Classical Revival style using Buff Indiana limestone for its exterior and various types of beautifully polished Vermont and Italian marble for the interior. The building is full of artifacts from around the state, oil portraits of former West Virginia governors, crystal chandeliers, and exquisite carvings. Statues commemorating figures of the state’s culture and history can be seen on the stunning campus. Wheeling served as the first capital city of the new state of West Virginia when it separated from Virginia during the Civil War. The transfer of the capital to Charleston in 1870 reflected the growing population of the western portions of the state and a shift in political power during the Reconstruction period. The change was not permanent at first, and the records and other items of the fledgling state government were transferred back and forth from Charleston and Wheeling via steamboat along the Ohio River and the Kanawha River a total of three times. The capital was moved from Wheeling to Charleston in 1870, from Charleston to Wheeling in 1875, and finally back to Charleston in 1885 when the state capital was permanently established in Charleston. The original structure that served as the capitol building in Charleston in the 1870s was razed to make way for a more prominent structure in hopes of convincing West Virginia voters to make Charleston their choice for the state’s capital. That state capitol building was located in downtown Charleston and construction began in 1880 when Wheeling once again served as the capital. The building was complete in 1885 when the government returned to Charleston. That capitol building caught fire in 1921 and was quickly replaced by a wood frame structure that served as temporary quarters for the government while architect Cass Gilbert’s design for the new capitol complex along the Kanawha River was coming to life. In addition to this building, Cass Gilbert is best-known for designing the Woolworth Building in New York, the George Washington Bridge, the Minnesota State Capitol, and the U.S. Supreme Court Building.