Jefferson City, Missouri: State Capitol Building


The constant rain finally slowed to a drizzle when I arrived in Jefferson City, Missouri, for a quick look at the state’s capitol building. Missouri’s capitol building is built on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River.  The structure itself is quite impressive: 238 feet tall, with 48-foot columns on the south side and 40-foot columns on the north side.  The capitol’s bronze front doors are 13×18 feet–making them the largest doors cast since the Roman era.

Before heading indoors, I spent a few minutes exploring outdoors.

There are several statues and a fountain in a plaza area, in between the capitol’s north side and the Missouri River.  This relief sculpture depicts the signing of the Louisiana Purchase.

There’s also an exact reproduction of the Liberty Bell, cast in France in 1950.

I couldn’t find an open door on the river side of the capitol building, so I strolled around to the south side…

… where some beautiful, large statues are positioned around the capitol’s front doors.

Standing in the middle of the entryway, in between two of those 48-foot tall columns, is a statue of Thomas Jefferson (as you might guess, judging by the name of the city, he’s pretty popular around here).

Inside, the Missouri State Capitol building is elaborately decorated, as you would expect.  This chandelier hangs in the middle of the capitol dome.  It weighs 4,500 pounds, and during maintenance in 2006, it came crashing to the ground.  Fortunately, it had already been lowered most of the way, so it only fell about 5 feet.

Take a few minutes to appreciate the architecture of the capitol.

The present Missouri State Capitol building was completed in 1917, at a cost of about $4.2 million.  In addition to the legislative bodies, you’ll find the State Museum on the first floor.

Walk around the north side of the capitol on your way back to the car, and you get a nice view of St. Peter’s Church.  The catholic church was completed in 1883, with a rectory added two years later.  In constructing the two buildings, 907,500 donated bricks were used.

Missouri’s Capitol building is easy to see for miles around.  From US 50/63 or 54, look for Missouri Boulevard.

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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