Sunday, October 1, 2023

Third Most Beautiful State Capitol Building: Atlanta, Georgia

Fall 2015-16 UM Enrollment for U.S. by U.S. State
Fall 2015-16 UM Enrollment for U.S. by U.S. State

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s no secret that the University of Mississippi has a diverse population of students from across the United States and around the world. In fact, there are students from every state in the nation, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico comprising the total of 20,827 (U.S. students) on the Oxford and regional campuses including UMMC, according to University of Mississippi Institutional Research. Mississippi holds the largest share (58.11 percent), but the remaining states share the other almost 42 percent. There are 1,092 Ole Miss students from Georgia (5.48 percent).

Photo by Wikipedia user connor.carey
Photo by Wikipedia user connor.carey

“Under the gold dome” is an expression often used by the Georgia media when describing legislative actions taking place in Georgia’s Capitol. In a 1958 renovation the present dome was gilded with native gold leaf from Dahlonega, Georgia where the first American gold rush occurred during the 1930s.

The State Capitol is both a state and national treasure that was built over a century ago following the close of the Civil War. The commission that oversaw the planning and construction of the building included former Confederate General Philip Cook.

The Capitol is constructed primarily of Georgia’s own natural resources which include marble, steel, iron and wood with an exterior of Indiana limestone. The floors of the interior are made of marble from Pickens County, Georgia which still produces marble today.

The Capitol stands at the gateway to Atlanta. The 75 foot round dome serves as both a beacon to travelers and a platform for the statue Miss Freedom whose sword and and torch commemorate Georgia’s war dead. Construction of the Capitol began in 1884 with the dedication taking place on July 4, 1889. The four story building rises more than 237 feet. The office of the Governor; Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State are housed on the second floor whereas the General Assembly meets on the third floor from January through April. The fourth floor features visitors’ galleries and a museum.

Atlanta City Hall previously occupied the current site of the Capitol. The city encouraged the state to relocate the capital city from Milledgeville by offering the land. The first Capitol in Louisville no longer stands.

The Capitol was designed to resemble the Classical architectural style of the United States Capitol. The facade features a four-story portico with stone pediment supported by six
Corinthian columns set on large stone. Georgia’s Coat of Arms with two figures on each side is engraved on the pediment. The open central rotunda is flanked by two wings each with a grand staircase and a three story atrium crowned by clerestory windows. In 1977, the House and Senate chambers were restored to their original 1889 appearance with replicated decoration and color schemes.

The Capitol was named a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Encircling the grounds and lining the interior walls and hallways are statues, busts and pictures of many of Georgia’s better known citizens including President Jimmy Carter; Martin Luther King, Jr.; James Oglethorpe (Georgia’s founder); Senator Richard Russell; and General John Gordon, the first governor to occupy the Capitol.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at or call him at 985-852-7745.

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