Iowa State Capitol

by Fiedler Law Firm

Iowa State Capitol

Are you looking for a stunning piece of architecture that also holds great historical significance? Look no further than the Iowa State Capitol. Located in Des Moines, this building is not only the seat of government for the state of Iowa, but it is also a beautiful example of Beaux-Arts architecture.

The Iowa State Capitol building has a rich history, dating back to the early 1900s. It was designed by renowned architect John R. Cochrane and completed in 1886. Since then, it has been the site of many important events, including the inauguration of governors, legislative sessions, and protests.

With its grand rotunda, lush gardens, and intricate marble carvings, the Iowa State Capitol is a must-see for any history or architecture enthusiast.

History of the Iowa State Capitol

Let’s delve into the fascinating backstory of the iconic building that’s stood tall and proud at the heart of this state’s legislative hub.

The Iowa State Capitol was first built in 1857, but it was destroyed by fire in 1904. The state legislature then commissioned a new building, which was designed by renowned architect John R. Cochrane and completed in 1886.

The building was renovated in 1988, and it now stands as a stunning example of 19th-century architecture. The Iowa State Capitol is a symbol of the state’s rich history and political heritage.

It has witnessed the signing of countless laws and played host to many important political events over the years. The building’s impressive dome is one of its most recognizable features and has become an iconic symbol of the state.

If you’re ever in Des Moines, be sure to take a tour of the Iowa State Capitol and discover the fascinating history behind this magnificent building.

Architecture and Design Features

You’ll love the stunning architecture and design features of this magnificent building. The Iowa State Capitol is a true masterpiece that features a unique blend of historical and contemporary architectural styles.

The building’s central dome is one of the most impressive features, standing at an impressive 275 feet tall and made up of 23-karat gold leaf. The building’s interior is equally breathtaking, with intricate marble floors, grand staircases, and ornate chandeliers.

The rotunda is particularly impressive, featuring a stunning mural that depicts the history of Iowa, as well as a skylight that allows natural light to pour in. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply appreciate beautiful design, you’ll be blown away by the Iowa State Capitol’s impressive features.

Exploring the Iowa House of Representatives

Now it’s time to explore the House of Representatives and see where the action happens.

The Iowa House of Representatives is located on the first floor of the Iowa State Capitol building. The chamber has a capacity of 100 members, with each member having their own desk and microphone. The chamber is decorated in a blue color scheme, with blue carpeting and blue curtains. The walls are adorned with portraits of Iowa governors and other notable figures.

During a legislative session, the House of Representatives is where bills are introduced and debated. The Speaker of the House presides over the proceedings, and members are recognized by their district number. The House has a strict set of rules for debate, including time limits for speeches and restrictions on certain types of language.

Visitors are welcome to observe the proceedings from the gallery above, but are not allowed to participate in the debate. If you’re interested in politics, a visit to the Iowa House of Representatives is a must-see.

Discovering the Iowa Senate Chambers

As you step into the Senate Chambers, you’ll notice the intricate details of the room’s architecture and the rich history embedded within.

The room features beautiful marble floors and columns, complemented by the intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings. The walls are adorned with portraits of former Iowa senators, reminding visitors of the historical significance of the room.

One of the main features of the Senate Chambers is the large, ornate desk at the front of the room. This is where the Senate President presides over meetings. The desks for each senator are arranged in a semicircle around the President’s desk, creating a sense of unity and community among the senators.

The room also features a balcony where visitors can watch the proceedings below. This adds to the sense of transparency and openness that is essential to a functioning democracy.

Visiting the Governor’s Office and State Offices

If you’re interested in exploring more of the building, don’t forget to check out the Governor’s Office and other state offices located within the Capitol.

The Governor’s Office is located on the first floor, and it’s an impressive space with historic furniture, artwork, and decorations. The office is open to the public during regular business hours, and you can take a self-guided tour or schedule a guided tour with a staff member. You can also learn about the history of the office and the role of the governor in Iowa’s government.

In addition to the Governor’s Office, there are other state offices in the Capitol that you can visit. These offices are located on the upper floors, and they’re where the state agencies and departments conduct their business.

You can learn about the different functions of the state government, and you can also get information on services and resources that are available to the public. Some of the offices have exhibits and displays that showcase the state’s history, culture, and natural resources, so it’s definitely worth taking some time to explore them.


Overall, visiting the Iowa State Capitol is an enriching experience that offers a glimpse into the state’s political and cultural history. The Capitol building is truly a sight to behold, with grand architecture and intricate design features.

Exploring the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate Chambers allows you to witness the democratic process firsthand and learn about the state’s legislative branch. Don’t forget to stop by the Governor’s Office and State Offices to gain a deeper understanding of the state’s executive branch.

In short, whether you’re a history buff, a political junkie, or simply curious about Iowa’s past and present, a visit to the Iowa State Capitol is well worth your time. So next time you’re in Des Moines, make sure to add this iconic landmark to your itinerary. Discover the rich history and culture that make Iowa such a unique and fascinating state.