|Old State Capitol
Baton Rouge, LA
|This photograph above of the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge was taken in 1862,
after the interior was destroyed by fire. The fire was started accidentally while the
building was being used as a prison and garrison by Union troops.
The capitol was designed by James Dakin and construction had been completed in
1852. After the fire, the building stood empty until 1882, when the interior was
completely reconstructed by architect and engineer William Freret.
The legislature continued to use the building until 1932, when a new capitol was
constructed. In 1936, the Works Progress Administration moved into the building
and occupied it until the early 1940's.
The Old State Capitol stood empty and neglected for decades. But, in 1991, a group
of citizens and politicians saved the building from demolition and the overwhelming
task of restoring the building started. In 1994, Phase I, the restoration of the
interior, was completed; in 2006, Phase II, restoration of the exterior was finished.
Phase III, completed in 2008, involved the restoration of the fence which
surrounds the 5 acre tract of land on which the old capitol was built. The cast-iron
fence was cast and erected in 1855 by the John Hill Foundry. The design is unique,
in that the fence is constructed by interlocking parts, the only bolts that are used
secure the posts to the base plates. The project required that each section of the
fence be sent to an ironworks in Alexander City, Alabama for restoration.
|The Old State Capitol today.
|Above, the rotunda; above, right, the
house chamber during restoration; right,
portion of the fence before restoration.