Oklahoma State Capitol

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Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma State Capitol.jpg

Front of the capitol
USA Oklahoma location map.svg
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Usa edcp location map.svg
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Location 22nd St. and Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Coordinates 35°29′32″N97°30′11″W / 35.49222°N 97.50306°W / 35.49222; -97.50306 Coordinates: 35°29′32″N97°30′11″W / 35.49222°N 97.50306°W / 35.49222; -97.50306
Area 5 acres (2.0 ha)
Built 1917 (1917)
Architect Solomon Andrew Layton
Architectural style Renaissance Revival, Neoclassical
NRHP reference # 76001572 [1]
Added to NRHP October 8, 1976

The Oklahoma State Capitol is the house of government of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It is the building that houses the Oklahoma Legislature and executive branch offices. It is located along Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City. The present structure includes a dome completed in 2002.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Legislature

The Legislature of the State of Oklahoma is the state legislative branch of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate are the two houses that make up the bicameral state legislature. There are 101 state representatives, each serving a two-year term, and 48 state senators, who serve four-year terms that are staggered so only half of the Oklahoma Senate districts are eligible in each election year. Legislators are elected directly by the people from single member districts of equal population. The Oklahoma Legislature meets annually in the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.


Oklahoma's first capital was Guthrie, Oklahoma, but it moved to Oklahoma City in 1910. Construction began on the Oklahoma State Capitol in 1914 and was completed in 1917. Originally, it housed the judicial branch of Oklahoma, but the state's high courts moved most of their operations to the Oklahoma Judicial Center in 2011, leaving only the Supreme Court Hearing Chamber in the capitol building.

Guthrie, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Guthrie is a city and county seat in Logan County, Oklahoma, United States, and a part of the Oklahoma City Metroplex. The population was 10,191 at the 2010 census, a 2.7 percent increase from the 9,925 at the 2000 census.

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 643,648 as of July 2017. As of 2018, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area.

The state capitol complex is the only state capitol grounds in the United States with active oil rigs.


Early capital of Guthrie (1889–1900)

State Capitol Building in Guthrie State-Capital-Publishing-Company-Bldg.jpg
State Capitol Building in Guthrie

Oklahoma's territorial capital and first state capital was located in the city of Guthrie. [2] The settlement of the first state capital began at noon on April 22, 1889, when cannons sounded the start of the Oklahoma land run. [3] The town was designated as the territorial capital in 1890. [2]

Land Rush of 1889 1889 land rush in the US

The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land rush into the Unassigned Lands. The area that was opened to settlement included all or part of the Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of the US state of Oklahoma. The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres (8,000 km2).

Entrance to Oklahoma State Capitol (1972 photograph) Entrance to OK State Capitol (1972).jpg
Entrance to Oklahoma State Capitol (1972 photograph)

Move to Oklahoma City and construction (1910–1917)

State government officials let voters decide on whether or not to move the capital to Oklahoma City. On June 11, 1910, the state seal was taken from Guthrie and moved south to Oklahoma City, where the Oklahoma State Capitol is located today. Lee Cruce, the second Governor of Oklahoma, commissioned the architectural construction of the present day structure. Prior to its construction, state government offices were housed in the Huckins Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. [4]

Lee Cruce 2nd governor of Oklahoma

Lee Cruce was an American lawyer, banker and the second governor of Oklahoma. Losing to Charles N. Haskell in the 1907 Democratic primary election to serve as the first governor of Oklahoma, Cruce successfully campaigned to succeed Haskell to serve as the second governor of Oklahoma. As governor, Cruce was responsible for the establishment of the Oklahoma Department of Highways and the Oklahoma State Capitol. He worked hard to enforce prohibitions on alcohol and gambling, going so far as to use the state militia to stop horse racing. He was succeeded by Robert L. Williams.

Construction on the Oklahoma State Capitol began after a groundbreaking ceremony on July 20, 1914. [5] Architects Soloman Andrew Layton and S. Wemyss-Smith were paid $75,000 to develop the architectural plans, while James Stewart & Company received the construction contract.

Solomon Andrew Layton American architect

Solomon Andrew Layton was an American architect who designed over 100 public buildings in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area and was part of the Layton & Forsyth firm. Layton headed partnerships in Oklahoma from 1902 to 1943; his works included the Canadian County Jail in El Reno, Oklahoma State Capitol, sixteen Oklahoma courthouses, and several buildings on the University of Oklahoma campus. Layton had a considerable influence on Oklahoma City architecture, and he became known as the "dean of Oklahoma City architecture"

The building's exterior is constructed mainly of Indiana limestone, with a base of local Oklahoma pink granite, and Oklahoma black granite for the grand staircase. The interior prominently features marble as well as fixtures from a variety of sources. While original plans called for a dome, it was omitted due to cost overruns discovered in 1915 when the original $1.5 million appropriated by the Oklahoma Legislature proved insufficient. The building was, however, designed to support a dome. [6]

The building was completed on June 30, 1917. [5]

Earthquake damage

In 1952, a 5.5-magnitude earthquake near El Reno caused several cracks to materialize in walls and ceilings of the Capitol, including one crack measuring about 50 feet in length. [7] [8]

Expansion and change (1998–present)

In 1998, state legislators and the governor enacted legislation to create the Oklahoma Centennial Act, which formed the Oklahoma Capitol Complex and Centennial Commemoration Commission. [5] The commission worked to fund a dome, which was in the initial plans in 1914, for the Oklahoma State Capitol and construction of the dome began in 2001 and was completed in 2002. It included a 22 feet (6.7 m) bronze sculpture called The Guardian. [5] During exterior restoration work in 2014, engineers discovered significant cracks in the precast panels that comprise the dome, but not in any of the supports, contrary to what some think. The building was designed and built to support the dome. When the Layton and Smith firm (the firm selected to design the building) presented its preliminary drawings to the commission in 1914, the plans did not include a dome. However, the building was designed to allow for a weighty dome to adorn the central square rotunda. The original commission was split on the desirability of the dome due to the high cost, and as completed, the capitol was not domed [9]

In 2006, plans were made to move the judicial branch into the old Oklahoma Historical Society building, as the agency was moving into the Oklahoma History Center. [5] The court offices moved to the new Oklahoma Judicial Center in 2011. [10]

Ten Commandments Monument controversy

Exterior and Capitol complex

The north facade of the Capitol building. Oklahoma State Capitol April 3, 2007.jpg
The north façade of the Capitol building.

The Oklahoma State Capitol, located at 2300 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City is composed primarily of white limestone and Oklahoma pink granite. [11] However, the building's dome is made of steel-reinforced concrete and reinforced plaster casts. [12]

The state capitol complex is famous for its oil wells and remains the only state capitol grounds in the United States with active oil rigs. [13] The capitol building is directly atop the Oklahoma City Oil Field.

The state capitol building and the surrounding government buildings, non-government agencies, museums, libraries, and tree lined streets and boulevards form the Oklahoma State Capitol Complex [14] or Capitol Campus. The complex includes the State Capitol Park, the Oklahoma History Center, the Oklahoma Judicial Center, and the Oklahoma Governor's Mansion. The 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) mansion has a limestone exterior to complement the Oklahoma State Capitol's exterior. The surrounding neighborhood is home to numerous restaurants and bars.

The Oklahoma History Center opened in 2005 and is operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society. It preserves the history of Oklahoma from prehistoric Native American tribes to the present day.


The west wing of the Capitol houses the Oklahoma House of Representatives chamber and offices. The east wing houses the Oklahoma Senate chamber and offices. The ceremonial office of the governor is located on the second floor. Elected state officials such as the state auditor and inspector, state treasurer, and state attorney general have offices on the first floor. The building also contains a museum, a cafeteria, and a barber shop.


Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen's mural Flight of Spirit, honoring the Five Moons, notable 20th-century Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma is on display in the Capitol rotunda. Several large paintings by Wayne Cooper are on display in the building. Many of them depict the early heritage and oil history of the state. Seminole artist Enoch Kelly Haney's painting "The Earth and I are One" is on display on the first floor of the building.

The Senate lobby includes a 6 by 10 feet (1.8 m × 3.0 m) oil-on-canvas painting of the "Ceremonial Transfer of the Louisiana Purchase in New Orleans - 1803" by Mike Wimmer. The Senate Lounge displays a watercolor painting entitled "Community of Boling Springs" by Sonya Terpening. [15]

The "Ring of Honor"

The base of the Capitol dome is decorated, in six-inch gold letters, with the names of donors who contributed at least $1 million to the dome's construction, referred to as "the ring of honor". [16] Donors so named include Halliburton, Hobby Lobby Stores, "the People of Oklahoma", and General Motors. This design decision attracted some criticism at the time, and in 2011 state representative Eric Proctor attempted to pass legislation replacing the names with those of Oklahomans who had received the Congressional Medal of Honor. [17]

See also

External video
Oklahoma State Capitol - Dome (2522081817).jpg
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Oklahoma Capitol Building (15:23), C-SPAN [18]

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  1. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 Wilson, Linda D. Guthrie. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  3. Hoig, Stan. Land Run of 1889. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  4. "Our History". Guthrie Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Savage, Cynthia. Oklahoma Capitol. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  6. http://www.okhistory.org/research/capitol100
  7. Luza, Kenneth V. (2009). "Earthquakes". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  8. Allen, Sally (February 25, 2004). "Oklahoma shakedown: The 1952 earthquake". NewsOK. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  9. Green, Rick (23 December 2014). "Oklahoma's 12-year-old Capitol Dome is significantly cracked". The Oklahoman . Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  10. Hoberock, Barbara (31 July 2011). "Oklahoma high courts move out of Capitol into Judicial Center". Tulsa World . Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  11. "Oklahoma State Capitol Art Collection". Oklahoma Arts Council. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
  12. "Introduction". Oklahoma State Capitol Dome. Archived from the original on January 14, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  13. "State Capitol Archived December 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine .," Oklahoma County Website. (accessed May 3, 2010)
  14. "Oklahoma State Capitol Complex Maps". Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  15. "Senate Artwork". Oklahoma Senate. Retrieved 2015-03-13.
  16. The Associated Press (2002-09-30). "Donors' names inscribed on base of new capitol dome". Amarillo Globe-news. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  17. Michael McNutt (2011-02-11). "Lawmaker wants donors name removed from Oklahoma Capitol dome". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  18. "Oklahoma Capitol Building". C-SPAN. April 12, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2013.