Tennessee State Capitol History

On July 4, 1845, the cornerstone for the Tennessee State Capitol was laid. William Strickland designed the building and looked after its construction until passing away in 1854. Two architects picked up the slack to ensure the project was completed, including Strickland’s son Francis. The rest is history

The final stone in the tower cupola was laid on July 21, 1855. Francis designed the cast-iron roof decorations, which were created by a local blacksmith. In 1857, the younger Strickland was dismissed from the project in favor of Harvey Akeroyd, who designed the State Library.

Construction was officially finished in 1859, but landscaping work continued until the beginning of the Civil War. Two gasoliers for the east lobby and the stairs were never ordered because of the conflict. 

The Interior Was Designed to Be Practical for Its Era

The goal of the Tennessee State Capitol was to create a space that everyone could use for governing purposes. On the ground floor, you could find offices for the governor, secretary of state, treasurer, and the land register.

Space was created for the Tennessee Supreme Court, the State Archives, and a federal district court. Even the official weights and measures repository got a spot.

For the main floor, you could find the assembly halls for the house and senate, along with the legislative committee rooms. The State Library is considered the most pleasing space in that area, with its iron stacks, spiral staircase, and decorative work.

Until the 1880s, the State Library also housed the region’s historical society. You can still find portraits of some famous locals, from Gerard Troost to James Priestly.