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Explore the Capitol

The First State Capitol
Completed in 1828, was known as the Territorial Courthouse until Michigan became a state in 1837. Designed by Obed Wait and constructed of red brick, the Courthouse/Capitol was one of the earliest Greek Revival buildings in Michigan with a fine Ionic portico and a tower which rose to a height of 140 feet.

Capitol Building Statistics
Height: 267 feet from the ground to the tip of the finial above the dome.
Length: 420 feet, 2 inches
Width: 273 feet, 11 inches
Perimeter: 1,520 feet

Did You Know? The Michigan Senate owns the only known portrait of Elijah E. Myers, architect of the Michigan Capitol. This large portrait hangs in one of the nicest rooms in the Michigan Capitol, the Elijah Myers Room. This room is near the Senate Chamber and is used for Senate Majority Caucuses.

Elijah E. Myers: The Michigan State Capitol was the first of three designed by architect Elijah E. Myers in the 1870s and 1880s. The successful completion of Michigan's statehouse established Myers as the premiere capitol-builder of the post-Civil War period, and secured his career as one of the nation's most prolific architects of public buildings.

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.

Explore the Capitol's 1st Floor: At one time the Capitol housed all branches of state government, including the supreme court, the legislature, the governor and various state administrators, such as the attorney general and the secretary of state. Here on the first floor are offices where some of these agencies were located.

Explore the Capitol's 2nd Floor: On the second floor rotunda is the Gallery of Governors, where portraits of former Michigan governors line the rotunda on the second and third floors. By tradition, each governor selects the artist, pays for the portrait, and donates it to the state after leaving office.

Explore the Capitol's 3rd Floor: The restoration of this chamber was completed in April 1990. Original 1878 desks were refinished, the curving rostrum at the head of the chamber reconstructed, and historic lighting restored or duplicated from photographs.