Wisconsin Capitol 100th Anniversary logo

Welcome to the 100th Anniversary State Capitol Commemorative Commission website marking the 100th anniversary of the Wisconsin State Capitol building. The Wisconsin State Capitol is one of the state’s most valued treasures. We are proud to recognize and celebrate this milestone, and to remember the events and people who have served over the past ten decades.

Virtual Tour

Tour the rooms of the Capitol with a mobile device and Google Cardboard

View Virtual Reality Tour with Google Cardboard

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November 9th-30th 2017

The Capitol Centennial Commission K-12 Art and Essay Competition

Wisconsin students were invited to take part in an art and essay contest to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wisconsin State Capitol building. All entries were required to detail or symbolize the importance of the Capitol building and what it means to Wisconsin. Of those submissions, the following students were selected as winners for their grade. Winning entries will be recognized by the Governor and retained by the Wisconsin Historical Society. All entries received a certificate acknowledging the submitted work.

Winning entries will be displayed on the first floor of the State Capitol building November 9th to 30th and online.

November 9, 2017

Capitol 100th Anniversary Open House

Self-guided tours of the capitol, including unique areas not usually available on the regular tour. Winning submissions of the Capitol 100th Anniversary Art and Essay contest will be on display on the 1st floor of the Capitol Rotunda with historical slide shows on display in rooms 411 South and 412 East. Maps and information may be picked up at the Tour Desk on the ground floor as well as in the following rooms: the Assembly Chamber, Senate Chamber, Supreme Court Chambers, Governor’s Conference Room, North Hearing Room, 411 South, 412 East (Joint Finance Room).


Historical Society offers 2017 Wisconsin State Capitol Ornament

The 2017 Wisconsin Capitol Ornament celebrates the Centennial of the fourth Capitol building. Portrayed on this dual-sided commemorative ornament is the Capitol dome under construction, as the remainder of the north wing of the third Capitol looms in the distance. The reverse shows the Capitol as it appears today. Support the Capitol Restoration Fund with your purchase of the 15th ornament in the Wisconsin Capitol Ornament series, available from the Wisconsin Historical Society


Photo Tour

An informational tour of the rooms in the Capitol

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda

Capitol Rotunda

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol Lantern Balcony

Lantern Balcony

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol Exterior

Capitol Exterior

Image of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court

Supreme Court

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol Governors Conference Room

Governor's Conference Room

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol Senate Chamber

Senate Chamber

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chamber

Assembly Chamber

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol North Hearing Room

North Hearing Room

Image of the Wisconsin State Capitol Governors Office

Governor's Office


The History of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building

  • First Capitol Building


    A Capitol in Madison

    In 1837, construction begins on the new Madison Capitol. Stone for the first Madison Capitol is from Maple Bluff and is ferried across Lake Mendota to the foot of North Hamilton Street. Also, oak used in the building is locally harvested from Gilman Street in Madison. The first Madison Capitol is of substantial size and compares favorably with contemporary capitols of adjacent and older states and territories. The cost of Wisconsin's first Madison Capitol is $60,000.

  • A fire at the capitol building


    Rising from the Ashes

    A February 27, 1904 fire destroys a large part of the interior of the Capitol building. A new and larger Capitol becomes a necessity. Read the Historical Essay Up in Smoke: The Story of the 1904 Wisconsin State Capitol Firefrom the Wisconsin Historical Society.

  • First Capitol Building


    A New Capitol

    In 1906, the Legislature directs the Building Commission to select an architect, secure plans and proceed with construction of a new Capitol. Financial limitations and the need to house government extend the project timeline. The Capitol is built one wing at a time. Construction is completed in 1917 at a cost of $7.2 million. Dedication of the Capitol is deferred due to World War I.

  • Wisconsin Statue


    Wisconsin Statue

    The statue "Wisconsin" is cleaned and re-gilded at a cost of $444.

  • Governor Knowles holds the Capitol's dedication ceremony


    Capitol Dedication

    On July 7, 1965, forty-eight years after its completion, Governor Knowles holds the Capitol's dedication ceremony.

  • Rotunda Renovation


    Rotunda Renovation

    The Capitol rotunda is renovated, including the cleaning of the inner dome's mural and the interior walls. This is accomplished by using an expanded telescope scaffold. The scaffold is suspended from the oculus of the inner dome and is raised or lowered on cables. Other projects include painting over the rotunda dome stencils, the cleaning and varnishing of the rotunda mural and the cleaning and repair of the glass mosaics.

  • Forward Conservation


    Forward Conservation

    The "Forward" statue is removed from the North Hamilton walkway due to deterioration. The statue is conserved and put on permanent display in the lobby of the State Historical Society. In August 1996, a bronze replica of the statue "Forward" is installed on the State Street steps on the seventy-sixth anniversary of the women's suffrage movement.

  • New Capitol Building Construction


    Historic Landmark Status

    The exterior of the Capitol is conserved using a sponge jetting process. After sponge jetting, the granite is repaired and the tuckpointing and caulking of joints is also done. The process is completed in November 2001at a cost of $5.3 million. In 2001 the Wisconsin State Capitol is designated a National Historic Landmark.

  • 2017


Read historical newspaper articles about the four Wisconsin capitols
from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Schedule a Tour

We are pleased to make arrangements for your tour of our beautiful Capitol. If there are fewer than 10 people in your tour group, no reservation is necessary. On weekends and on holidays we are only able to accomodate up to 130 people per hour. For questions or comments regarding on-line Capitol tour reservations, please contact us by email at Capitol Tours or by telephone at (608)266-0382. Enjoy your tour!


Information on the people that made this possible