Bismarck, ND: The North Dakota State Capitol Building

It's been a while since I last regaled you with thoughts and photos from our big trip last summer (Indiana to Montana and everything in between). I had just left you in Jamestown, ND, at the Frontier Village and World's Largest Buffalo. There's a lot (lot) more to show, so come along as we head farther west.

We traveled from Jamestown over to Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, in the evening. It is straight west and took about an hour and a half (102 miles); we didn't stop anywhere along the way because we were getting hungry. We ate dinner at the most expensive Mexican restaurant of our lives (it's in an old train station downtown, which was cool, especially because really loud trains tumbled by outside the window every so often, but the food and cost was not worth it), and grabbed a hotel room a few minutes from downtown.
The next morning we woke up early to make it to a free morning tour of the North Dakota Capitol Building! (See the link for times and dates, as they change between summer and the rest of the year.)

You may be thinking that we are crazy to take a tour of a capitol building of a state that isn't ours, but the building in Bismarck is actually really interesting -- it is the largest building in North Dakota (241 feet), it is the 3rd largest capitol building, it is the only state capitol building that is asymmetric, and it's only of only a handful of capitol buildings in the country that doesn't have a dome (it's Art Deco style). And the tour was very well done. We were pleasantly surprised about just how much we enjoyed it and how interesting it all was.

We started off the tour in the basement of the building, next to portraits of people in the North Dakota Wall of Fame.

Then we headed upstairs. I wish I could remember all of the cool architecture the tour guide spoke about (I would have needed a recorder to do so, because there's so much!).

This is where the House of Representatives sit. How cool is the ceiling? Those are lights.

And this is the Senate. Not quite as big as the House, but still with the same circular shape.

The metal detailing on the elevators was so cool.

The limestone in this area is all from Indiana.

The Supreme Court gets a really cool entrance.

Perhaps the favorite room of many on the trip, our tour guide called this the Monkey Room.

Do you see the monkey in the wood?

I see lots of other animals, too.

After the Monkey Room, we got whisked up to the penthouse. Our tour guide had to do something special with the elevator to get us that high.

The view from the top of the capitol building is pretty great!

The top floor is a circular layout, and you can see something different from each window. There are lots of photos of the previous version of the building (it burned down) and the building of this building. Our tour guide told us the stories behind several of the photos.

This is the library. I think all libraries should have columned entrances.

The women's restroom had even more photos. The men's restroom does not. So, sorry guys, you get to learn less. (It was a fun conversation to have with Eric -- "Are there lots of photos in your bathroom?")

If you happen to be in Bismarck and have a couple of hours to spend checking out a cool building with a very informative tour guide (and it's all free), I recommend seeing the ND Capitol Building. Super random, but we had a good time and learned a lot there.
Bismarck, ND: The North Dakota State Capitol Building Bismarck, ND: The North Dakota State Capitol Building Reviewed by Maria on 3:19:00 PM Rating: 5


  1. Didn't the House of Representative only meet every other year? Such pressing issues North Dakota has...


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