At the heart of downtown Madison, perched in between the vast waters of Lake Mendota and Lake Manona, stands Wisconsin’s majestic State Capitol building. Built there between 1906 until 1917, the Wisconsin State Capitol is an integral part of Madison’s breathtaking skyline and is the only Capitol building standing on an isthmus. The building towers up to 284 feet high and is just a few feet shorter than the Washington State Capitol building. In fact, the Wisconsin Capitol was patterned from the Nation’s Capital in Washington D.C. with a huge dome and four sprawling wings facing its surrounding streets diagonally.
The entire building has been styled to reflect the rich history and ethnic heritage of Wisconsin. From its architecture to the pieces of art and furniture adorning its interiors, the Wisconsin State Capitol is heavily influenced by Italian, French, and German aesthetics. The Senate Chamber, for example, is designed with French and Italian marble, as well as a circular skylight. It is also adorned with a mural by Kenyon Cox called “The Marriage of the Atlantic and the Pacific”.
Perhaps the centerpiece of the Wisconsin State Capitol is the towering 200-feet dome that is topped by the gilded bronze “Wisconsin” statue created by prolific American sculptor Daniel Chester French. From inside, this majestic dome serves as the building’s rotunda. Visitors shouldn’t forget to check out the mural by Edwin Blashfield called “Resources of Wisconsin” decorating the rotunda’s ceiling. Up above, the dome also has an observation deck called Lantern Balcony. From there, visitors can take in the breathtaking view of the Madison isthmus and the two near-by lakes.