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A Structure That the Future Will Be Proud Of
State Capitol Construction, Part I 

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The California Constitution of 1849 stipulated that the first session of the new legislature be held in San Jose. In subsequent years, both Vallejo and Benicia served as the state’s capital, but the legislature found the accommodations of both locations inadequate. Legislative proceedings moved to Sacramento, which became the permanent state capital on February 25, 1854.

Sacramento County allowed the state legislature to convene in the county courthouse for the next fifteen years, while a permanent state capitol building was constructed. The floor plan and front elevation shown here comprise one of the many proposals submitted to the legislature, but ultimately, in 1860, the Board of State Capitol Commissioners chose to adopt the plans of M.F. Butler. The Board appointed Reuben Clark to the position of Supervising Architect, and construction began. Unfortunately, the plans created for the present-day state capitol building are no longer in existence, having been destroyed in a fire.

"In a young state like our own, poor in comparison to what its future promises, the conviction has become strong in my mind that coming generations should share with the present in the erection of any great and permanent building. And while thus calling upon the future for aid an edifice should be constructed that will be satisfactory to the grandeur of the coming time."

Governor Leland Stanford, calling for the issuance of bonds to fund the construction of the State Capitol, December 9, 1863.


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Proposed State Capitol, Front Elevation, Board of State Capitol Commissioners Records, California State Archives.

Proposed State Capitol, Front Elevation

Board of State Capitol Commissioners Records, California State Archives


Proposed State Capitol Floor Plan, Board of State Capitol Commissioners Records, California State Archives

Proposed State Capitol Floor Plan

Board of State Capitol Commissioners Records, California State Archives



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