Colorado State Capitol

Coordinates: 39°44′21″N 104°59′06″W / 39.7392321°N 104.9848677°W / 39.7392321; -104.9848677 (Colorado State Capitol)
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Colorado State Capitol
The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
Colorado State Capitol is located in Colorado
Colorado State Capitol
Colorado State Capitol is located in the United States
Colorado State Capitol
Interactive map showing the location of Colorado State Capitol
Location200 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, Colorado, United States
Coordinates39°44′21″N 104°59′06″W / 39.7392321°N 104.9848677°W / 39.7392321; -104.9848677 (Colorado State Capitol)
ArchitectElijah E. Myers
Architectural styleneoclassical style
Part of
Significant dates
Designated NHLDCPOctober 16, 2012
Designated CPFebruary 27, 1974
The statue The Closing of an Era at the Colorado capitol.[1]

The Colorado State Capitol Building, located at 200 East Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, United States, is the home of the Colorado General Assembly and the offices of the Governor of Colorado, Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, and the Colorado State Treasurer.


The building is intentionally reminiscent of the United States Capitol. Designed by Elijah E. Myers, it was constructed in the 1890s from Colorado white granite, and opened for use in November 1894. The distinctive gold dome consists of real gold leaf, first added in 1908, commemorating the Colorado Gold Rush. The building is part of Denver's Civic Center area. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Civic Center Historic District in 1974,[2][3][4] and became part of the Denver Civic Center National Historic Landmark District in 2012.[5]

A major safety upgrade project, funded by the Colorado State Historical Fund, was started in 2001 and completed in 2009.[6] The design by Fentress Architects added modern safety features, like enclosed stair towers, that blended in with the original architecture.[7] The Colorado Capitol Building is featured on many of Denver's architectural tours.[8][9]


Serving as the beginning of the Capitol Hill district, the historic building sits slightly higher than the rest of downtown Denver. The main entrance hall is open 180 feet (55 m) to the top of the dome, about the height of an 18-story building. Additionally, the official elevation of Denver is measured outside the west entrance to the building, where the fifteenth step is engraved with the words "One Mile Above Sea Level". From this step, at 5,280 feet (1,609 m), the sun can be seen setting behind the Rocky Mountains. A second mile high marker was set in the 18th step in 1969 when Colorado State University students resurveyed the elevation. In 2003, a more accurate measurement was made with modern means, and the 13th step was identified as being one mile (1.6 km) high, where a 3rd marker was installed.[10]


The superstructure of the building was constructed using granite from the Aberdeen Quarry near Gunnison, Colorado. Approximately 280,000 cubic feet (7,900 m3) or 24,000 tons of the granite were quarried for the building. This gray granite forms the exterior of the building. The interior of the building uses a large amount of Colorado Rose Onyx, a rare rose marble from a quarry near Beulah, Colorado. The amount used in the building consumed the entire known supply. White Yule Marble from the quarries near Marble, Colorado was also used throughout the capitol for the floors. Many designs have been found in the marble including an image resembling George Washington and another of Molly Brown.[11][12]

Many of the windows are made of stained glass, depicting people or events related to the history of Colorado. The halls are decorated with portraits of every president of the United States, with all the presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush being painted by Lawrence Williams. Painter Sarah A. Boardman took over from Williams, and has since painted Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden as well.[13] One of the contractors for the construction of the Colorado State Capitol building was Illinois building contractor William Douglas Richardson, who was the president of the W. D. Richardson Construction Company.[14] Richardson had participated in numerous major building contracts throughout the United States, and was interconnected with the Jacob Bunn and John Whitfield Bunn network of corporations.[15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Closing Era statue". Public Art Around the World. Archived from the original on March 1, 2010. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  2. ^ Barbara Norgren; Cynthia Emrick (December 10, 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Civic Center" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  3. ^ Barbara Norgren; Cynthia Emrick (December 10, 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Civic Center Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved October 22, 2022. With accompanying 51 photos from __
  4. ^ Barbara Norgren; Cynthia Emrick (December 10, 1973). National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Civic Center Historic District. NARA. Retrieved October 22, 2022. Includes __ photos. (Downloading may be slow.)
  5. ^ "Weekly list of actions taken on properties: 10/22/12 through 10/27/12". National Park Service. November 2, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  6. ^ History Colorado Archived 2008-05-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  7. ^ Fentress completes work on Capitol's safety project - Denver Business Journal. (2009-02-01). Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  8. ^ "Denver Architectural Scavenger Hunt". Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Rocky Mountain Cultural Tour=2020-01-14".
  10. ^ "Mile High Marker". 2004. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  11. ^ Everett, Derek R. (2005). The Colorado State Capitol: History, Politics, Preservation. Louisville, Colorado: The University Press of Colorado. ISBN 9780870817908.
  12. ^ "Archives |". Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  13. ^ Joella Baumann (August 1, 2019). "A Gallery Complete: Portrait Of President Donald Trump Now Hangs In The State Capitol". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "Archives |". Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  15. ^ William Douglas Richardson was the father of Jacob Bunn's daughter-in-law.

External links[edit]