Posted January 15, 2021
The Ohio Statehouse, a Symbol of Democracy
Robert D. Loversidge, FAIA
Architect and CEO, Schooley Caldwell
Architect of the Capitol
Amanda Schraner Terrell
Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, Ohio History Connection
Each state’s capitol building is a unique symbol of democracy and a gathering place for important events in history. Ohio’s capitol building, known as the Ohio Statehouse, is as significant as any. It was one of the first buildings to be constructed as a state capitol. While there are older buildings that serve a similar function, most of those were originally colonial assembly buildings.
Considered one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in America, construction of the Ohio Statehouse began in 1839. It wasn’t completed until 1861, a few months after the First Battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the Civil War. Imagine the irony of completing a long-awaited state capitol at the same time that our country went to war with itself—with the future of the country hanging in the balance.
The Ohio Statehouse is a National Historic Landmark, one of only 2,000 or so landmarks in the country. The Statehouse was given this designation because of its great historic and architectural significance on a national scale. Some changes have been made to the Statehouse over the years, including the Senate Building (1901); underground garage (1965); Capitol Atrium (1994) and Ohio Veteran’s Plaza (1996). The Statehouse underwent a complete restoration from 1989 to 1996.
One of many notable events at the Ohio Statehouse was then-candidate Abraham Lincoln’s 1859 campaign address on the East Terrace, where he reiterated his assertion that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Today as we are engaged in national turmoil, we turn to our important symbols and remember that it was Lincoln who continued this thought during his talk at the Statehouse with “I do not expect the house to fall.”
For more information on the Ohio Statehouse, see