Iowa State Capitol Building


The Iowa State Capitol Building is located in Des Moines, Iowa.  The public is able to tour the building either on their own or in a tour group Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm or Saturdays 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  I remember visiting the capitol building once, when I was much younger.  I don’t really remember the age, but I am sure that my mom would remember.  This is a very beautiful building and well worth the time to tour.  I do wish that I could have been there when either the senate or house was in session, as it would have been very educational to observe our elected officials at work. By the way sorry about the blueish spot on the picture, not sure what was happening there.


This is a picture of the outside of the building above what used to be the main entrance, before 9/11.  As you can see from the picture above you will need to climb quite a few sets of stairs to get into the building from the parking lot.  According to Wikipedia, the building was constructed between 1871-1886, has 5 domes (one on each corner and the one in the middle) and was built using a modified Renaissance style.


Once inside the capitol you are able to look up and enjoy the scene at the top of the middle dome.  While there, I learned that whenever they need to refurbish something, it is taken down and repainted/replicated to match the original.  P1010525

This picture is just an example of some of the artwork you will see throughout the building and the 3 floors that you are allowed on as a tourist.  P1010543

Here you are looking into the right side of the Senators chamber.  P1010530

This is the left side of the House of Representatives chamber.  As you can see in both pictures, most of the desks are fairly empty, however I did see a couple of desks that had pictures and other items to make it seem more personable to the elected officialP1010537

Of course, one of the rooms that I fell in love with was the Law Library.  This room was huge, with many different levels and books all over.  I would love to have this room, but would like to replace the law books with classics, young adult literature, children’s lit, and cozy mysteries etc. Not sure my husband would agree with me however.


While visiting I was able to view the Constitution of the state of Iowa.  It was fun to learn that this is actually the third draft.  The first draft had the northern boundary drawn around the twin cities in Minnesota. The second draft outlawed banks, but according to the person working in the office, they finally got it right the third time around.  (third time’s a charm I guess)

. P1010549


These two pictures are from inside the vault.  There is a three floor vault located inside the treasurer’s office.  Inside here they keep all of the signed oaths from all elected officials from around the state, school board and higher in this area.  I could have asked to see the signed oaths from the elected officials from my home town, they also keep all of the laws that are published.  I was informed that what is in the vault is from the past 5 years and everything else, has been moved to the Iowa Archives Building.  That makes sense, I can’t image the amount of paper that they would have to store after all of these years.  P1010555

I was also able to see the Governor and LT. Governor’s offices.P1010551


One of the many displays was a collection of dolls representing each of the first ladies of the state with a replica of the dress they wore when their husband was sworn in as the governor.  It was fun to see how the dresses have changed over the years.  Also on display is the bell from the U.S.S. Iowa battleship and a replica of the battleship.P1010505

Another fun fact that I learned is that the building is made out of 29 different types of granite.  I didn’t even know that there were that many different types of granite.

Over all I really enjoyed my time spent touring the capitol.  Everyone you met was very helpful and willing to talk about what was in their office.  My self guided tour only took me about 1 hour and was well worth the time.  I would recommend that if you are in our state’s capital city, Des Moines, that you take the time to tour this building.


Iowa State Capitol. (2016, May 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:55, June 5, 2016, from


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