Iowa State Capitol

Des Moines
Completed: 1886
Architect: John C. Cochrane and A. H. Piquenard

Photos: Robert Deering 8/25/2014

The interior of the State Capitol features an array of marble, works of art, fixtures and carvings in both wood and stone. One of the most commanding features of the building is the towering dome.

The dome, constructed of steel and brick, is externally gilded with 23-karat gold leaf. A belvedere on top of the large dome features a golden lantern at the top. In addition, four smaller golden lanterns are each attached to copper-covered domes at every corner of the building. These four domes are decorated with vertical lines of intermittent gold, giving each a braided look.


ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: From the Iowa River which was named after the Ioway Indian tribe


STATE MOTTO: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain

1857 PREAMBLE: We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.

ADDRESS:  1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319


Cheryl, Robert, and Ferdie Deering with the Iowa State Capitol
Photos: Ferdie & Mildred Deering 1950 

Old Capitol Building

Iowa City
Completed: 1842
John F. Rague
Photos: Robert Deering 8/25/2014

John F. Rague is credited with designing the Territorial Capitol Building, he had previously designed the 1837 capitol of Illinois and was supervising its construction when he got the commission to design the new Iowa capitol in 1839. He quit the Iowa project after five months, claiming his design was not followed, but the resemblance to the Illinois capitol suggests he strongly influenced the final Iowa design. One surviving 1839 sketch of the proposed capital shows a radically different layout, with two domes and a central tower. The cornerstone of the Old Capitol Building was laid in Iowa City on July 4, 1840. Iowa City served as the third and last territorial capital of Iowa, and the last four territorial legislatures met at the Old Capitol Building until December 28, 1846, when Iowa was admitted into the United States as the 29th state of the union. Iowa City was declared the state capital of Iowa, and the government convened in the Old Capitol Building.

The Iowa constitution was crafted in the Old Capitol Building. The first governor of the state of Iowa was inaugurated there, and the first six Iowa general assemblies met in the building. 59 days after being admitted into the union, the state of Iowa passed legislation in the Old Capitol Building authorizing the formation of the state's first public university, the State University of Iowa, which is known today as The University of Iowa.

After ten years of housing the government in Iowa City, the state decided to move the state capital to Des Moines, a city located more toward the center of the state. When the state government moved to Des Moines in 1857, the Old Capitol Building became the first permanent building owned by the University of Iowa.

ADDRESS:  21 N Clinton St, Iowa City, IA 52242