Explore the Capitol's Ground Floor
Plain and unadorned, the ground floor provides little hint of the splendors above. Never intended for the public, Architect Elijah Myers originally located store rooms and an armory here. However, during the Capitol's recent restoration, the building's main entrance was relocated to the ground floor in order to enhance public safety and improve accessibility. An Information Desk is located here, where you can inquire about tours, Capitol history, and the locations of legislators and other state government offices.
Originally the walls on the ground floor were plastered and painted to resemble the exterior's sandstone facade. To enhance the illusion, even the joints between the stone blocks were recreated in plaster and paint. Here, as in most of the Capitol, the wood wainscot which covers the lower portion of the walls was painted to look like walnut. Simple pine strip flooring covered the floors. Arched doors with glass side panels let light into the corridors to augment the dim illumination characteristic of gas lighting.
During the restoration every effort was made to accurately return the Capitol to its original appearance.
The ground floor was no exception, and great attention was paid to detail. For instance, an original gas cock found during the restoration was copied and used in the replicated lighting fixtures on this floor. However, a few changes were made to enhance utility and safety. Durable gray tile was substituted for pine flooring and lighting fixtures are electric rather than gas.
In the center of the building, where the corridors intersect, is a glass ceiling -- actually the glass floor of the rotunda on the next floor. Here you can see the cast iron columns which support the floor and the massive walls which support the dome. The Capitol's walls are built of solid brick and -- except for the rotunda's glass floor -- even the ceilings and floors are brick.