Arizona State Capitol

Located in downtown Phoenix, the Arizona State Capitol draws on several architectural styles, including federal and classical elements. Its symmetry, windows, roofline, and center entrance call forth architecture from the so-called Federal era of the 1780s through the 1930s. The dome and column reflect classical stylings of ancient Greece and Rome. The materials for the building are largely indigenous to the region, including locally-sourced copper and granite.

Completed in 1901, the State Capitol served as the center for territorial government before statehood. In 1912, the building then became the main hub of state government for many years until the State Legislature moved to an adjacent building in 1960 and the Governor's Office relocated in 1974. In 1978, the Capitol was opened as a museum with the inauguration of Governor Bruce Babbitt.

Lack of funding shaped the development of the Capitol building. The original plans called for making the it a replica of the US Capitol building in Washington DC. The territory planned for an elaborate dome and a larger footprint. The cost of constructing an extensive dome exceed the budget of the territory, so the territorial government commissioned a smaller copper dome instead. The plans changed several times before the building was finally completed.

Curiously, the Arizona State Capitol is the only state capitol that lacks a cornerstone. Cornerstones are usually the first stone set in construction of a building's foundation. The cornerstone is typically a symbolic masonry stone that stands out from the rest of the building. This ceremonial stone is largely a Judeo-Christian tradition that traces its roots back to the Old Testament.

Images

Front view of state capitol
Front view of state capitol The Arizona state capitol houses a museum open to the public.
Front View of State Capital
Front View of State Capital Arizona State Capital in the 1960s. Source: NRHP nomination form
Police Working Dog Memorial
Police Working Dog Memorial Entitled "Guardians of the Night" this monument in front of the Arizona State Capitol commemorates law enforcement dogs and their hard work and dedication to society.
Battle of the Bulge
Battle of the Bulge A memorial dedicated to veterans of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II sits peacefully in front of the state capitol. It is among the many monuments in Wesley Bolin Memorial Park that sits in front of the main entrance to the Arizona state capitol.
Peace Officers Memorial
Peace Officers Memorial This statue and memorial is dedicated to all Arizona Peace officers that came from across the country and state to serve. The State Capitol is seen in the background.
Enduring Freedom
Enduring Freedom Entiled "Enduring Freedom Memorial" this monument commemorates and honors Arizona citizens who have lost their lives in the conflicts in the Middle East post-9/11.
Freedom Is Not Free
Freedom Is Not Free This memorial houses both a 9/11 memorial and Korean War memorial. It sits in a grass field in front of the State Capitol.
9/11 Memorial
9/11 Memorial The words shown here capture the events on the morning of September 11, 2001.
WTC
WTC A piece of the one of the World Trade Center towers is displayed to remember the attacks on September 11, 2001.
Arizona Memorial
Arizona Memorial At the Eastern most end of the State Capitol lawn sits the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial mimics the deck of the USS Arizona and displays all the names of the servicemen who lost their lives on the ship during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Front entrance to Arizona State Capital Building
Front entrance to Arizona State Capital Building This photograph from the 1970s shows the front entrance of the State Capital Building. Source: NRHP nomination form
1970s Downtown Phoenix
1970s Downtown Phoenix This 1970s photograph of downtown Phoenix shows the parking lot in front of the State Capital Building. Early plans for the building had instead of the parking lots, a reflecting pool and palm trees. Source: NRHP nomination form
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Location

Metadata

Thomas Black, “Arizona State Capitol,” Salt River Stories, accessed May 23, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/91.