Explore Idaho

Idaho’s Capitol

Things to Do, What's New — By njensen on September 29, 2011 at 11:10 pm

The Idaho Capitol building is one of the most significant architectural works in Idaho. Not only as the seat of the state government, but as a representation of the history of the state. Idaho became a state in 1890, long after many states had been in the union for a century or close to it, and while the capitol may not be as old as some, it is distinguished and dynamic.

Here are some fun facts about the building at the heart of Boise:

  • Construction on the building began in 1905.

    Early construction, circa 1906

  • The facade is made of locally quarried sandstone.
  • John E. Tourtellotte was the architect, along with his partner Charles Hummel. The two are well known in the history of architecture around Boise.
  • The classic central dome rises 208 feet.
  • The sandstone is shaped to represent logs, as the early pioneers would have used to build their homes.
  • The central portico was finished in 1912.
  • The two wings of the building were begun in 1919. The formal dedication of the completed building took place in 1921.

Visitors come to Boise just to see their state’s capitol, and the building itself is a strong statement of architectural design. Even to an untrained eye, the attention to details, the brilliant natural light underneath the dome, and the beautiful marbled staircases are inspiring.

Central rotunda and columns inside Idaho's capitol

The capitol was expanded and renovated in 2010, bringing back the elegant gleam, highlighted by lighting at night and naturalized landscaping. Idahoans are proud of this magnificent building and happy to show it off to visitors.

The dome is a landmark throughout Boise

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