Utah State Capitol — Then and now

Dedicated - 10/09/1916 and Rededicated - 01/04/2008

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3 2008 12:00 a.m. MST

1915: Utah Legislature meets for first time in unfinished Capitol.

Photo courtesy Ronald L. Fox

More than 91 years ago, Utah's white-columned Capitol was dedicated in a ceremony open to all the people of this state. There were speeches, music and a late-night grand ball, as officials formally dedicated the building designed by architect Richard K.A. Kletting as a home for the state.

Now we do it again. The Capitol, which has been closed the past three years, torn apart and then rebuilt, will be dedicated a second time this week as the people's house of Utah. It's a brighter, cleaner building that embraces its past through restored artwork and lighting. Yet it is also prepared for the future with modern technology and a new foundation that is designed to keep the Capitol intact and strong for another century or more.



• The interior Capitol dome is 165 feet above the rotunda floor.

• There are 14 lions' heads and 10 beehives inside the chamber of the Utah House of Representatives.

• Gavin Jack sculpted the lions that originally stood at the east and west entrances of the Capitol in 1915. New lions were sculpted in 2007 by artist Nick Fairplay.

• The rotunda was left unfinished for nearly 20 years until artwork could be funded.

• The monolithic columns inside the Capitol are about 26 feet tall.

• There are 29 desks in the Senate chamber for each Utah senator.

• There are 75 desks inside the House chamber for each Utah


• John C. Olmsted, son of the man who designed New York City's Central Park, designed the landscaping for the Utah Capitol.


Lighting: Redesigned to be more energy efficient. Historic lighting fixtures kept in historic rooms in Capitol. New skylights added to east and west atriums.

Cleaning: Exterior stone cleaned and repaired. Drum of dome restored with old and new terra cotta.

Visitor Services: New visitors center on first floor of Capitol. New gift store nearby.

Rotunda: Painting of sea gulls with 5-foot wingspans enhanced and cleaned.

Governor's suite: Silk wall fabric in ceremonial office replicated to match historic design. Original wood floor cleaned and repaired. Reception and waiting areas have new rugs created to match historic designs.

Supreme Court chamber: Repainted and wood fixtures restored. Newly restored skylight.

House and Senate chambers: Paint schemes restored to original design. Senate wall aisles have been expanded. New murals added to walls.


• 200 different colors of paint used to rec-reate historic paint schemes

• 6.5 million pounds of concrete reinforcing steel used in restoration

• About 4,771 construction workers helped with project

• Two years to plan reconstruction, more than six years of design and construction

• 5,022 pieces of new terra cotta placed in drum and dome in Capitol

• 76 miles of audio visual wire and cable installed

Architect then

Richard Karl August Kletting

Get The Deseret News Everywhere