The Oklahoma State Capitol building is located at 2300 North Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City where the state’s Senate and House of Representatives draft and pass legislatures. The Capitol campus is also combined with other Government office buildings such as the Jim Thorpe Complex. The old Capitol building was in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Solomon Layton has been acclaimed as the chief architect of new State Capitol building which was constructed between 1914 and 1917 by Manhattan Construction Company at an estimated cost of $1. 5 million. The Capitol building was built on a land of 400,000 square feet and consists of six floors.
The original construction plans of the Capitol with dome remained as an unfulfilled dream for about 86 years due to budget constraints and material shortage during World War I. The dome measuring 157 feet high and 80 feet in diameter constructed at a cost of $21 million crowned the Capitol building on 20 June 2001 when Frank Keating was the Governor of Oklahoma. A 17-feet native American bronze statue popularly known as ‘The Guardian Statue’ created by artist Enoch Kelley Haney was placed on top of the dome on 7 June 2002. Kelley Haney was a State Senator in Oklahoma and is presently the Chief of the Seminole Nation.
The dome symbolizes the first 100 years of the State’s growth and its prospective future. The Oklahoma State Capitol is loaded with excellent works of art such as sculptures, murals, portraits and paintings that attract thousands of tourists and school children every year. The works of art are a repository of Oklahoma history and they reflect the rich and diverse heritage of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State Capitol is open every day between 8. 30 A. M and 5. 30 P. M. and the Oklahoma Arts Council maintains the art works in the public areas of the State Capitol.
Walking inside the Capitol building commends awe and respect, and every piece of art inside the building is breathtaking. However a few sample art works to mention here are, The Earth and I are One – the mystical painting of a meditating Native American by artist Enoch Kelley Haney in the first floor, the exuberant ambience of the Hall of Governors in the second floor, the Pro Patria mural dedicated to the brave soldiers by artist Thomas Gilbert White in the fourth floor, and We Belong to the Land mural by Jeff Dodd in the fifth floor.
Oklahoma is the only state in the United States to have active oil wells on its grounds. The history of oil wells can be traced back in 1872 when the first oil company Chickasaw was started. Wayne Cooper’s painting ‘The Magic of Petroleum’ with traces of oil cropping up, transports our imagination to the 19th century. The native Americans used petroleum for medicinal purposes also. Oklahoma State Capitol was designed to have a dome but was left without a dome for long. Now that the dome has been added, it has brought pride for the city and the people of Oklahoma.