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State Capitols
A Never-ending Hobby





The images and information on this page were gathered by
Valerie Mockaitis during a trip to Springfield in June of 2010.


Illinois Welcoming the World
The pedestal is shown at right.

Illinois Welcoming the World
In the center of the rotunda on the first floor stands a bronze statue. She was originally created for the 1893 Columbian Exposition and later re-created in bronze for the capitol. She stands under the dome (right).

Illinois Welcoming the World

Inner dome
The inner dome from the first floor rotunda


More views from the first floor rotunda


First Floor Rotunda

June at the Capitol
On the day we toured the Illinois capitol in Springfield, the Legislature was not in session. The building was quiet with few people inside, and it seemed dimly lit in most areas. The windows under the dome lit the upper levels of the rotunda fairly well, and the stained glass barrel skylight over the Grand Staircase lit that area very well. The Grand Staircase goes from the second floor to the third, and can be seen behind the rotunda statue in the image at left.

  Upper rotunda   Inner dome  

The Grand Staircase



Grand staircase from second floor View across rotunda, second floor


An extensive restoration of the West Wing was started in 2009. These photos from June, 2010 show the Grand Staircase, located in the West Wing, before its alteration was completed.

Grand staircase landing
Landings viewed from the third floor

The doors on the landing shown in the photos at left were removed, as was the mezanine level they led to. The West Wing restoration was completed in 2013.


Grand staircase from third floor View across rotunda, third floor


Strange Location
Why would something as spectacular as the Grand Staircase lead up from the second floor instead of the first? Because the main entrance used to be on what is now the second floor.

Skylight over Grand staircase Grand Staircase barrel skylight, bottom edge


A new main entrance was constructed into what had been the basement and is now the first floor. Then, the 37 exterior steps to the old main entrance were removed. The old entrance doors remain, and outside them is a balcony.

Grand staircase detail Detail of area below the skylight edge


Grand staircase from the side Stair railings and columns




Lunette, Second Floor

Eagle Lunette

Left: Fourth floor mural over an entrance
Above: One of the fourth floor eagle murals
Right: Washington portrait on the second floor

Like many of our capitol buildings, Illinois' contains numerous artworks. There are many statues, friezes, hung paintings, murals, and more. The works shown here were gracious enough to present themselves nicely in my photographs.

  George Washington portrait  

The Inner Dome from the Third Floor


Inner dome

Around the base of the inner dome is a ring of plaster frieze scenes (below). They are painted bronze. In the center of the stained glass oculus (right) is the state seal.

One frieze scene
  Stained glass oculus  

The House Chamber


House chamber
Skylight in the House

The House of Representatives meets in the chamber shown at left. It is on the third floor, as is the Senate Chamber. Its stained glass skylight is shown at right, and two of its four grand chandeliers are at far right.

  House chandeliers  

The House Chamber has balconies on both sides, the left one shown below and at far right.

House balcony

Detailed partial medallions surround the skylight above. You can see the golden edge of the skylight at the bottom of the image below.

House ceiling partial medallion
House balcony

Room 309


Room 309 ceiling detail

Room 309 ceiling cherubs

The House of Representatives and Senate Chambers occupy two opposite wings of the third floor. Between them is Room 309, a space that has had many uses over the years. The two images at left are examples of the ceiling details in that room.

Below is a carved wooden door frame in Room 309. I wish I could remember the significance of this doorframe. It was mentioned during the capitol tour, but I didn't take notes, and now I can't find anything about it on the Internet, either.

Room 309 carved doorframe
Room 309 carving

Above is an enlargement of the carved head from the picture at left. The doorframe seems to me to be very unlike carvings in the rest of the capitol. I guess I'll have to visit again and take notes!


The Senate Chamber


Senate ceiling panel
Senate ceiling
Senate ceiling detail

Below is an enlargement cropped from the image above and rotated to the best viewing angle.

Senate ceiling angel
Senate chamber

The ceiling of the Senate Chamber, like the majority of the capitol, is rich in ornamentation as shown above.

At right is the Senate Chamber as seen from the gallery.

While the House Chamber has balconies on both sides, the Senate Chamber does not, as is shown at far right.

Senate chamber side

More on Illinois:
Telling Them Apart, Unique Architectural Components
What's On Top, Flagstaffs (on domes)
Favorites, Just Because
Favorites, Nature
Favorites, Night Shots
Favorites, Photographic Art
Illinois Postcard & Image Gallery
Capital & Capitol History
Old & New Capitol Timeline

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Page Last Updated: May-02-2017

Site Author: Valerie Mockaitis     ©2005 - 2017 Valerie Mockaitis