Architecture and History banner featuring stained glass California Seal on left, a detail of the California Poppy Mosaic, and the original carved wooden knoll post.
A symbol of Democracy
Centuries before California became a state, Greek philosophers were debating the merits of a new form of government—democracy. In Greek, democracy literally means the rule of the people. It's fitting that California's Capitol has stylistic roots in architecture from
democratic antiquity.



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Icon Learn Architectural  Architectural Tour
A common feature found in many state capitols, including California's, is a portico opening into a central rotunda that rises into a dome. This architectural convention, borrowed from the Romans, creates an inspiring and majestic entrance. Learn other interesting facts about the design of the capitol in this section.
- Take the Tour
  California State Capitol History
Icon Many Capitols 

Part I: Planning
At the 1849 Constitutional Convention, plans to establish a capital for the 31st state in the union were conceived, years of ongoing controversy over location gave way to a final site selection, architectural plans were finalized in 1856, but was construction ready to begiin?
- Selecting Sacramento
- Architectural Ancestors
- A Capitol for California

Icon Floods Fires 

Part II: Construction
Four years following the approved architectural designs, the construction of the Capitol building began. Floods, politics, labor issues and other problems made completing the massive undertaking a formidable task
- Concept to Reality
- A Tale of Two Stones 

Icon Growing Pains Part III: Growth
The rapid growth of the state and expanding government responsibility soon created the need for additional space at the Capitol, after several major expansion efforts and three-quarters of a decade issues arise concerning the structural integrity of the building. California had to make an important decision--rebuild or restore?
- Apse and East Annex
- Rebuild or Restore?
Icon A Closer Look  Part: IV: Restoration
The decision to restore the historic Capitol created one of the largest restoration projects in California's history, artisans relearned arts long forgotten, the Senate and Assembly Chambers would regain their glory and the building was incorporated with modern technology while maintaining the splendor of the Capitol's original appearance.
- Restoring a Legacy
- Lost Arts
- Fine Details
- Legislative Chambers

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