Conservation and Preservation of the State Capitol Historic Site
Help Preserve the State Capitol Building and Its Collections
The North Carolina State Capitol Foundation is instrumental in the preservation and conservation of the State Capitol Historic Site. The Planning & Properties Committee assists the Department of Cultural Resources in identifying the maintenance and collection needs of the site and finding the resources to meet those needs. Since 1976, the State Capitol Foundation has worked to protect and support the building and its collections.
After the first State House on the site was destroyed in a catastrophic fire in June 1831, the General Assembly ordered that a new Capitol be constructed on Union Square. Several architects worked on the seven-year project, including William Nichols, Jr., son of the architect who had designed the former building. Nichols was later dismissed and the commissioners appointed to oversee the building hired the nation’s most prestigious architectural firm, Town and Davis. The New York Custom’s House and the North Carolina State Capitol are widely acknowledged as his masterpieces. Supervising architect David Paton, who had trained in the prestigious London office of Sir John Soane, made many improvements to the design.
Paton is responsible for the cantilevered gallery on the second floor of the rotunda, the groined vaulting of the first floor offices and corridor ceilings, the interior arrangements of the East and West wings, and the incredibly fine masonry work found throughout the building. Paton’s attention to detail was well known. He patterned the moldings, ornamental plasterwork, and the honeysuckle crown atop the dome after features of ancient Greek temples such as the Parthenon, the Tower of Winds, and the Erectheum.
The Capitol housed all of North Carolina's state government until 1888. The Supreme Court and State Library moved into a separate building in 1888, and the General Assembly moved into the State Legislative Building in 1963. Today the Governor and her staff continue to occupy offices on the first floor of the Capitol.
The Capitol has been home to North Carolina’s seat of government for more than 170 years. It is the mission of the State Capitol Foundation Planning & Properties Committee to continue to preserve and conserve this important site for future generations. Won’t you join us?