The Arkansas State Capitol was constructed between 1899 and 1915 on the site of the old state penitentiary using prison labor. The original construction cost was not to exceed $1 million. After two architects, two general contractors, six Capitol Commissions and three governors, the completed Capitol cost almost $2.3 million. In 1911, the General Assembly convened in the unfinished building for their first session at the new State Capitol.
The neo-classical style of the building is a common example of monumental architecture of the early 20th century. The marble on the floors and walls came from Vermont, the columns from Colorado, and the grand staircases from Alabama. The exterior limestone was quarried near Batesville, Arkansas while a softer Indiana limestone was used for the dome. The Capitol contains 247,000 square feet. The distance from ground level to the top of the cupola is 213 feet. The cupola is covered in gold leaf
It features Arkansas granite, plus six bronze doors and three chandeliers crafted by Tiffany’s of New York. Guided or audio tours available. Fifty-one varieties of roses are found in the Capitol’s test gardens.