Frankfort, KY: State Capitol Tour

We're now "collecting" state capitol buildings. See all the state capitol buildings we've toured here.



Quick Notes:
- Date: Wednesday, December 27, 2017
- Tour was: Guided for over an hour; free
- Has it burned down?: No, just replaced the 1830 building which still stands in downtown Frankfort.
- Most interesting thing: The building was originally wired for electricity and most is still the original wiring; the bulbs have been updated to LEDs and the dome has color-changing lights.
- Visited: dome area/rotunda, house of representatives, senate chamber, supreme court, state reception room, law library, first ladies exhibit, women of Kentucky watercolor paintings, rotating exhibits and Kentucky military history exhibit, outdoor clock
- Our 12th State Capitol building visited
Tour information website



There is a joke in Kentucky that goes like this: "How do you pronounce the state capital city, 'louie-ville' or 'lol-ville'?" The joke, of course, is that it's neither; the capital city is Frankfurt!

We successfully visited the capitol while visiting Eric's dad for Christmas. Last year we tried to go and found all the doors locked. This time, we were able to go in and even get a guided tour. (They do offer self-guided brochures as well, but you really get so much more with a guide.)



We started in the rotunda area where the dome above us was changing colors from its new LED lights. See the video below for a look at the color changing lights in action.



This was the first tour that we've had Christmas decorations. We missed the abundance of poinsettias by only a few hours.



The murals in the photo above were given to the state for its centennial celebration in 2009. The murals in the photos below were installed when the building opened in 1910, but the state ran out of money for the last four murals and had to wait 100 years for them.





The original light fixtures throughout the building are really beautiful. Below is one of the chandelier sconces in the rotunda area.


The elevators are original and tiny. There is no freight elevator in the building, so anything bigger than can fit through the doors must be hand-carried up the copious number of steps.


This little circular piece in the wall is a vacuum tube plug-in! It is no longer used, but one of these is on every floor.


The mail chute next to the elevator on the other side of the building was used until very recently when the lockbox broke and the postal service decided not to fix it.


Our first room stop on the tour was the law library, which was still decorated with a tree of library books. The library still has the original lead glass windows above the books to let light through to the underside of the stacks.






We went from the library to the state reception room, which was probably my favorite. I like old fancy stuff.



The table below weighs nearly 1000 pounds! It took 12 men to carry it up to the second floor here.


Two enormous mirrors in this room combine to make an infinity mirror and the effect is wonderful with the original chandelier.


The chandelier is Austrian crystal, but the guide thinks it might have been bought in New York.





In the supreme court, we learned that "passing the bar" is called such because only people who have done so may literally pass over the bar that divides the courtroom into two sections - lawyers and non-lawyers.


The court cases are live streamed and each of these cameras is voice activated to zoom in on the justice talking.


We noticed these letters and numbers on the underside of all the back stairs and the guide told us the building was basically put together like a giant puzzle, so these acted as identifiers.


They still have old-school phone booths, in case you need to use one.








The house of representatives has two screens where the votes and representatives will show up. This seems to be a trend with the capitols we've visited - the house uses technology to keep track of the votes.


A little behind the scenes -- the building is really red brick with marble facade everywhere. In some places you can see the red brick through windows.


Looking down into the rotunda from the third floor, you can see statues of Lincoln (of course, he was born in Kentucky) and some other famous Kentuckians.



The senate does not have any video screens and still takes votes by hand, which is also a trend we've seen at the other capitols.




The senate had very special marble surrounding its doorway. Both chambers had 50s-style pink water fountains embedded in the walls.





One of the rotating art exhibits in the building is from the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. The quilt on display was an intricate parrot design and looked very cool in person.






We were here on an extremely cold day (it was about 12 degrees F) so we didn't spend much time outside, although the grounds are really lovely if you get a chance to see them. We did swing by the giant clock which was decorated for the season. Eric's dad has seen it in spring and summer when it is all filled in with flowers, which sounds lovely.



The Kentucky state capitol building is beautiful and well worth a stop, especially if you need a break between Louisville and Lexington (Frankfort won the fight to be the capital city in 1904).
Frankfort, KY: State Capitol Tour Frankfort, KY: State Capitol Tour Reviewed by Maria on 10:29:00 PM Rating: 5

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