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Oklahoma Boasts a One-of-a-Kind State Capitol

July 12, 2019

Oklahoma State Capital building.Located at 23rd and N. Lincoln in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma State Capitol contains 650 rooms and 452,508 square feet of floor space. Constructed from 1915 to 1917, it didn’t have a dome until one was added in 2002. Although included in the building’s original blueprints, the dome wasn’t added when the capitol was first built due to budget shortages, politics and material shortages during World War I. Famous for its oil wells, Oklahoma has the only state capitol grounds in the United States with active oil rigs. In fact, the capitol building sits directly atop the Oklahoma City Oil Field. The house of government for the state of Oklahoma, the capitol holds the Oklahoma Legislature and executive branch offices. The west wing houses the Oklahoma House of Representatives chamber and offices. The east wing is home to the Oklahoma Senate chamber and offices. The ceremonial office of the Governor is on the second floor. Such elected state officials as the state auditor and inspector, state treasurer, and state attorney general all have offices on the first floor. Built-in Greco-Roman style the state capitol is composed primarily of white limestone and Oklahoma pink granite. The newly added dome is made of steel-reinforced concrete and reinforced plaster casts. Standing atop the dome is The Guardian, a bronze sculpture of a Native American. The figure itself is 17 feet tall, but the staff it holds reaches to 22 feet, 9 inches. A 9-foot replica stands in the second-floor rotunda. Noted for its restored stained glass, marble floors and stairs, hand-painted ceilings, portraits of famous Oklahomans, murals and changing art exhibits, the capitol is a popular tourist spot. The art in the capitol is curated by the Oklahoma Arts Council. One of the building’s most noted pieces is Chickasaw artist Mike Larsen’s mural Flight of Spirit, which honors the Five Moons, notable 20th-century Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma. This piece is on display in the capitol rotunda. Several large pieces by Wayne Cooper, which depict the early heritage and oil history of Oklahoma are also on display. Oklahoma State Capitol Tours are operated by the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation Monday through Friday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Trained volunteers take visitors on a 45-minute tour of the complex and impart fascinating pieces of Oklahoma history along the way. The guided tours can be scheduled in advance by calling 405-521-3356. Scheduling is requested for parties of 10 or more. Visitors also have the option of taking a self-guided tour using brochures designed to assist and direct them along the way. These can be taken Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.