How many places can you visit two beautiful capitol domes piercing the sky? If you happen to ask for directions to the “Capitol” during your visit to Springfield, you’re likely to be answered with, “Which one?” We call them the “old” and “new”, and each unique and impressive building is definitely worth a visit. Here’s a quick history of these two Capitols in Springfield…
Illinois became a state in 1818, and Springfield became its capital in 1839, succeeding Kaskaskia and Vandalia.
In 1837, the first statehouse built in Springfield is a red-domed Greek Revival-style building made with limestone, sources locally from Sugar Creek. A window into Abraham Lincoln's legal and political career, who served in the state legislature, tried cases before the Supreme Court, and gave his famous “House Divided” speech in the Hall of Representatives. Barack Obama, who has a strong affinity for Lincoln, used the Old State Capitol steps to announce his own presidential campaign in 2007, securing the capitol's place in the history of two United States presidents. The Old State Capitol is located in the center of the city’s historic district and is open to the public for tours. (Currently due to COVID-19 individuals must reserve a entry time to visit the Old State Capitol)
In 1867, the ground was broken on the current Illinois and 6th Capitol Building, with the first general assembly held there in 1876. The capitol sits on the highest elevation in Springfield, and to this day, no structure in Springfield is allowed to be taller than its zinc-covered dome. The majestic French Renaissance style building serves as the center of Illinois politics and government. Spectators can watch the House and Senate proceedings from public galleries, see the Governor’s office, visit legislative offices and learn about both the history and current use of the building. (Currently due to COVID-19, the Illinois State Capitol building is still closed to public)
“Connect the Capitols” by finding the right spot downtown. Take a pic that will has both domes in it and share it with us, #VisitSpringfield. Can't beat an amazing red dome and a shiny zinc dome, all in one pic. Find it on the corner of 6th & Washington.