We all know the current Capitol building, but most of us don’t know the events that led up to what stands there today. The first Wisconsin state Capitol building was constructed in Belmont, Wisconsin. Wisconsin legislators met there for 42 days after Belmont was declared the capital of Wisconsin territory. The session then chose Madison as the capital. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the council house and the lodging house still stand as the first Capitol Historical Site. The second capitol was built on the current site and was made out of stone from Maple Bluff and locally cut oak. As the government grew, the building needed to be expanded.During 1882, a new addition of a North and South wing was added on for a cost of $900,000. The building stood strong until the night of February 26th, 1904. The Wisconsin Historical Society tells the story of the Capitol burning. Despite the state-of-the-art firearm system, the Capitol was destroyed. The water reserve was empty and Madison firefighters and two Milwaukee fire companies fought the blaze for eighteen hours. Many important objects and documents were lost, including Old Abe and the Civil War symbol. The North wing was the only wing left standing after the fire, and temporary repairs were made until the current Capitol building began construction in 1906. The architect of the Capitol was George B. Post & Sons from New York. As stated by the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs network, the outside of the Capitol building is constructed with 43 different types of stone. The current Capitol building houses the State Senate, State Assembly, State Supreme Court, Attorney General, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and their respective staffs, according to the Wisconsin Department of Administration. As you can tell, many capitol buildings have led up to the new and improved capitol that we are sitting in today.
- Naomi Ptak
- Volunteers Making all the Difference