At first glance, you might think that Washington had gone beyond all bounds when they painted the bell shaped dome gold. But those of you familiar with our capitol know better. It is the home of the Colorado Legislature. Our capitol building is a one of the key features in the memorable Denver skyline. It is a memorable sight to remember on your first visit to Denver. It can also be seen from one of Denver’s famous horse carriage rides in downtown. A round brass cap embedded in the west entrance stairway reads as follows: Elevation: 5280 feet, One Mile High, 5-12-69.
Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver
When visiting the capitol, you may see a resemblance to our nation’s capitol, including famous street names such as Pennsylvania and Lincoln Avenue. That’s because it was designed and built with the our nation’s capitol in mind. The building is composed of Colorado white granite, with large pillars at each entrance supporting a ceramic style roof. Pillars along the west entrance are topped with carved stone statues. Mostly depicting early life in Denver. The tall entrance doors are embedded with copper and glass. Each entrance landing has early 19th century light posts, which also surround the grounds.
The capitol building was built in the 1890’s and in 1908 they used 24 karat gold to plate the dome. The gold plated dome commemorates Colorado’s Gold Rush days, and the early pioneers and miners who helped build our great state. The Colorado Gold Rush was begun In 1859 when John Gregory discovered “The Gregory Lode” in a gulch near Central City. Within two weeks, the gold rush was on and within two months the population grew to 10,000 people in search of their fortune.
As you stroll the grounds, you will find the surrounding area has ample memorials dedicated to the Civil War Veterans, the men who served aboard the U.S.S. Colorado & Gettysburg, and other Coloradoans who have died on foreign soil.
Inside is a cacophony of brilliant brass and stained glass. The dome towers 180 feet above, and contains stained glass dedicated to the 16 initial founders of the city of Denver. The interior of the capitol was built with the rare and priceless Colorado Rose Onyx or what is commonly called Beulah Red Marble, named after the city in which it was found. The rose marble was quarried at Yule Creek in Gunnison County at the foothills of the Greenhorn Mountains. The mauve marble is so rare that its known supply was completely used up in the process of beautifying the capitol. The Cutting, polishing, and installing of the marble took six years, from 1894 to 1900.
Also inside you’ll find hand painted originals of each of the U.S. presidents, from George Washington to Bill Clinton.
There are three main rooms where the actual legislating takes place, the House Gallery, the Senate Gallery, and the House of Representatives. All three rooms are magnificently decorated, with stained glass and the by now familiar, embedded brass. You’ll find comfortable theater seating there as well.
The best time to visit is in the morning before the larger tour groups arrive.
The Colorado State Capitol is open to the public Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.