Capitol timeline


1836: The first legislature of the Wisconsin Territory meets in Belmont in a two-story, white-framed building - Wisconsinís first Capitol - rented from John Atchinson .

1837: Construction begins on the Capitol in Madison. The cost of Wisconsinís second Capitol is $60,000.

1857: Construction begins on the third Capitol as the state government outgrows the original Madison capitol building. Work is completed in 1869.

1882: Two wings are added to the Capitol building, allowing additional space for the State Historical Society, the Supreme Court, the State Library and increased legislative staffs. The total cost of the third Capitol, including the additions, is $900,000.

1903: The Legislature appoints a building commission to consider constructing a new and larger Capitol.

1904: The Capitol building is destroyed by fire.

1906: The building commission approves the plan of George B. Post and Sons of New York. Work is started to rebuild the west wing. Completed in 1909.

1908: The east wing construction begins, finished in 1910.

1909: The legislature meets for the first time in the new quarters.

1910: The south wing construction begins, finished in 1913.

1911: Construction on the rotunda and dome begins, finished in 1915.

1914: The north wing construction begins.

1917: The final phase of the Capitolís construction is completed. The total cost of the construction of Wisconsinís fourth Capitol is $7.3 million. The dedication of the Capitol is deferred due to World War I.

1923: The Nativity Pageant is held for the first time at the Capitol. The pageant is held outdoors the first year, but is moved inside the following year.

1925: Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette lies in state in the Capitolís rotunda. The Wisconsin State Journal reports, "Home from the wars of politics, Robert M. La Follette rests today in a magnificent sepulchre which he himself conceived - the $7,000,000 state house high above the dark blue lakes of his homeland."

1931: Due to crowded conditions in the Capitol, the state constructs an office building on Wilson Street. This marks the first time where the Capitol is not the home for all of state government.

1942: A large red, electric "W" is removed from the dome of the Capitol. The illuminated "W" is taken down during World War II for energy conservation efforts.

1965: Forty-eight years after its completion, the Capitolís dedication ceremony is held. The Capitol is given an "acid bath" to clean the pollution stains from the granite exterior. The cleaning damages some of the stone in the process.

1967: The legislature creates the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board, making it responsible for setting standards for designs, repairs and additions.

1967: The Department of Public Instruction is removed from the Capitol, marking the first time a constitutional officer did not have an office in the Capitol.

1968: The Capitol rotunda is renovated, including the cleaning of the dome mural and the interior walls.

1969: Welfare marchers, led by James Groppi, occupy the state Assembly chambers for nearly 11 hours. Groppi is arrested on charges of legislative contempt.

1977: The secretary of stateís office is moved out of the Capitol.

1980: The department of Administration issues the "State Capitol Restoration Guidelines."

1981: The state treasurer is moved out of the Capitol.

1987: The Capitol Master Plan is approved which calls for a single, large-scale renovation. The Capitol is rededicated as part of the stateís celebration of the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

1988: The Assembly chambers are renovated as a pilot project in the Capitol Master Plan. The Assembly finishes its session in another area of the Capitol.

1988: Two men damage 32 windows in all four wings of the Capitol.

1989: The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Museum is moved from its Capitol location to temporary quarters at the state Historical Society. It reopens in 1993 as the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

1990: The North Wing is closed for renovation, causing Assembly members to relocate their offices. The renovation is completed in December 1992 at a cost of $13.6 million.

1993: The West Wing is closed for renovation, forcing the state Assembly to relocate for the two-year legislative session to the former Guardian Insurance Building on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The renovation is completed in July 1995 at a cost of $16.2 million.

1996: The South Wing is closed for renovation, moving the state Senate to its two-year temporary quarters at the Guardian Insurance Building. The renovation is completed in January 1999 at a cost of $24.5 million.

1997: The renovation of the rotunda begins and is completed in October.

1999: Renovation on the East Wing begins. The governorís office moves to temporary quarters in the south wing. The attorney generalís office and the Supreme Court are temporarily located in nearby office buildings. The Supreme Courtís law library is moved from the Capitol permanently. The East Wing renovation is completed in September 2001 at an estimated cost of $ 38.4 million.

2000: The exterior of the Capitol is cleaned and restored, completed in 2001.

2001: The Capitol is designated a National Historic Landmark. The cost of the entire renovation project is $143 million.