Ohio Statehouse 1865

This is a view of the Ohio Statehouse and grounds, circa 1865–1875.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published on Jan. 15, 2021 by the Ohio History Connection. Knox Pages has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Ohio History Connection to share content across our sites.

COLUMBUS -- 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.

Lincoln plaque at Ohio Statehouse

A plaque at the Ohio Statehouse commemorates future president Abraham Lincoln’s 1859 campaign address in Columbus.

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:

http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/about/capitol-square/statehouse and https://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/OH-01-049-0023.

Ohio Statehouse 1940-49.

An American flag hangs at the Statehouse, circa 1940-1949. Three girls feed birds in the foreground.

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