Old State House

Gideon Shryock

Note: These wonderful photographs were taken by my brother Doug Miller, who generously contributed them to this website. If you are interested in the photographs, please contact him directly: Doug Miller

The Main (south) entrance

Begun in 1833 and completed in 1842, the Old State House is the oldest standing state capitol building west of the Mississippi. The building was commissioned when Arkansas was not yet a state. (It became the 25th state in 1836.) Kentucky architect Gideon Shryock, who also designed the Kentucky State Capitol as well as the Jefferson County Courthouse in Louisville, chose a Greek Revival style. The design was somewhat altered by his assistant, George Weigart. The building was made of brick and timber, which was mostly cypress and could be harvested nearby. It had a tin roof covered in stucco.

Greek Revival style

The restrained Doric order adds to the stateliness of the building. Although the columns are fluted and the metopes decorated, the pilasters in the side wings are plain and several window and arch openings are blind (original?).

The State House complex

Originally, the State House was a complex of three separate buildings--the west building for the executive branch, the central structure for the legislative branch and the east building for the judicial branch. The walkways which connected the three buildings were covered, although later single story and then two-story "hyphens" were constructed. Later additions also included the wrought iron work on the balconies, as well as extensive remodelling to the interior. In 1911, the government moved into the current Arkansas State Capitol building and in 1947 the Old State House became a musuem.

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© 2004 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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