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 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.
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.
The statue "Wisconsin" is cleaned and re-gilded at a cost of $444.
On July 7, 1965, forty-eight years after its completion, Governor Knowles holds the Capitol's dedication ceremony.
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.
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.
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.
Read historical newspaper articles about the four Wisconsin capitols
from the Wisconsin Historical Society.