ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Old Capitol Building, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Old Capitol Building, Georgia
Georgia's Historic Old Capitol
The Old Capitol Building in Milledgeville is the
oldest public building of the Gothic revival style in
the United States.
Georgia's Old Capitol Building
The beautiful old structure
now houses a museum as
well as offices of the Georgia
Military College.
Sherman and the Old Capitol
Federal troops damaged the
building and held a mock
legislative session during
Sherman's March to the Sea.
Lafayette and the Old Capitol
The Marquis de Lafayette
visited the historic Old Capitol
Building in 1825.
Historic Old Capitol Building - Milledgeville, Georgia
Georgia's Old Capitol Building
The Old Capitol Grounds
A brick pathway leads across
Statehouse Square to the
historic Old Capitol Building
from downtown Milledgeville.
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Georgia's Historic Old Capitol Building,
located in
Milledgeville, is the oldest public
building of its type in the United States. It is
now more than 200 years old.

For the first years after Georgia became a
state, its capitol was located in Louisville. But
on December 12, 1804, the state legislature
voted to designate Milledgeville as the
permanent capital of Georgia. The following
year $60,000 was appropriated to build a
capitol building.

A new and carefully planned city, with
elements of both Savannah and Washington,
D.C., in its design, Milledgeville was centrally
located to much of the growing state. It had
been founded in 1803 around a series of
beautiful squares and featured wide streets
and a high, healthy location.

The highest point in the city was reserved for
Statehouse Square, where construction
began on the new capitol building in 1805.

Jett Thomas and John Thomas were the
general contractors for the building, which
required 1,377,266 bricks, 65,000 shingles,
44 windows and 200 feet of window glass.
All of the bricks were made in Milledgeville
and the massive structure featured walls that
were three feet thick.

Although the capitol building was not yet
complete, the Georgia Legislature met there
for the first time in 1807. A train of 15 wagons
brought the archives and treasury from
Louisville, with troops providing an armed
escort for the entire distance.

The Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the
American Revolution, visited the building in
1825 while on his tour through the United

Significant expansions were added to the
building with north and south wings were
built in 1828 and 1834 respectively. The work
was directed by architect Henry Hamilton,
who added the crenellations and a plaster
skin to give the Old Capitol its unique Gothic
revival appearance. Hamilton also directed
repairs made necessary by a fire that burned
party of the roof in 1833.

The beautiful east and west porticoes with
their granite steps were added in 1835,
completing the building to the appearance it
maintains today.

As the State Capitol of Georgia, the building
hosted the state's Secession Convention in
early 1861 and it was here that the delegates
voted in favor of seceding from the Union on
January 19, 1861. It subsequently became a
center of political and military power during
the Civil War. Governor Joe Brown directed
the affairs of the state militia and waged his
ongoing war of words with C.S. President
Jefferson Davis from within its halls and from
the nearby Governor's Mansion.

Brown and other state officials fled the capitol
ahead of General William Tecumseh
Sherman's army, which occupied the city of
Milledgeville on November 23, 1864. While
the Old Capitol Building was left standing,
armories and magazines on Statehouse
Square were destroyed.
Led by Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick,
Union soldiers convened a mock legislative
session in the building and "repealed" the
state's Ordinance of Secession. They also
inflicted heavy damage on the building and
its contents. Fortunately for the people of
Milledgeville, the March to the Sea continued
after a pause of only one night.

The post-war legislature approved $$8,000
to repair damages to the building caused by
Sherman's men. The building's days as
State Capitol were numbered, however, and
the Reconstruction legislature voted to move
the capitol to Atlanta in 1868.

The building was used as courthouse of
Baldwin County from 1871 until 1879, when it
was turned over to what was then called the
Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural
College. The school changed its name to
Georgia Military College in 1900 and remains
a thriving educational institution today.

Among the presidents of the college was
Confederate Lieutenant General D.H. Hill,
who held the post from 1886 to 1889.

The Old Capitol Building survived two more
fires, but is beautifully restored. The grounds
are open daily and form a beautiful oasis in
the center of the campus of Georgia Military

The historic Old Capitol Building is located at
201 East Greene Street in Milledgeville,
Georgia. The museum is open Tuesday -
Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays
from 12 noon until 4 p.m.
Please click here
for more information.
The Lafayette Monument
A monument placed by the
D.A.R. commemorates the
visit the Marquis de Lafayette,
French hero of the American
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