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Iowa State Capitol

Quick Facts

Building Name, Address:

Iowa State Capitol, 1007 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines

Primary Occupants:

Governor's Offices, State Auditor's Offices, State Treasurer's Offices, Secretary of State's Offices, Department of Management, Legislative Branch (Senate and House of Representatives), Legislative Services Agency

Years Constructed:


Designers & Builders:

Cochrane & A.H. Piquenard
Bell & Hackney


Iowa boasts one of the most beautiful state capitols in the nation. Construction began in June 1871. The stone used for the foundation (and the original cornerstone) did not hold up well to Iowa weather, however, so the foundation and cornerstone were re-laid in 1873. Construction was completed in 1886 at a cost of about $2.9 million. The Capitol is 363 ft. 8 in. from north to south, and 246 ft. 11 in. from east to west. Twenty-nine different types of marble are used in the interior, and the iconic golden dome, gilded with 23-karat gold leaf, towers 275 feet above the ground floor.

Great pride and care was taken in the construction of the Capitol, which was built to stand "a thousand years," and also in the extensive restoration efforts that began in the mid-1980s. The restoration of the Capitol has restored much of the original grandeur of the 19th century construction and design, while also adding technological and safety measures to make it a functional building for the 21st century.

There are volumes of history surrounding Iowa's most famous building. To learn more, please visit the tour guides' desk on the first floor of the Capitol.

Green Features

  • Free cooling
  • Optimized steam heating
  • Air Handling Unit (AHU) economizers
  • Lighting schedules and Air Handling Unit (AHU) occupied/unoccupied schedules are programmed through the building automation system
  • Fluorescent lighting upgraded to efficient T-8 lamps with electronic ballasts
  • Incandescent bulbs replaced with energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs
Capitol 1 Capitol 2 Capitol 3
The interior of the Capitol's dome can be seen from the rotunda of every floor. Since the early 1920s, a large banner suspended by piano wire has hung as a reminder of Iowa's valiant efforts to preserve the Union during the Civil War. The banner, painted on canvas by Joseph Czizek, depicts the emblem of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Photo by: Quality Automation Graphics

The mural between the first and second floors at the east end of the Capitol is "Westward" by Edwin H. Blashfield. The 14-foot by 40-foot painting depicts the migration of early pioneers traveling through Iowa.

Photo by: Quality Automation Graphics

The Iowa State Law Library in the Capitol contains approximately 200,000 volumes, making it one of the largest combined law libraries in the country.

Photo by: Carolann Jensen