West Virginia State Capitol Complex Walking Tour

This walking tour gives detailed explanations to each building and monument on the West Virginia State Capitol Complex.

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Culture Center: West Virginia State Museum and Archives and History Library
The Culture Center is home to the West Virginia State Museum which offers a variety of programs and exhibits that preserve and share the culture and history of the Mountain State and its people. The complex is also home to the state's Archives and History Library, the state historic preservation office, and offices of the West Virginia Library Commission. The complex also holds the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater which hosts Mountain Stage and other cultural and educational events throughout the year.
West Virginia State Capitol
The West Virginia State Capital was originally Wheeling, WV, and became Charleston, WV, after a shift in political power during Reconstruction. The capital moved on a steamboat along the Ohio and the Kanawha River three times as the geographic transition back to Wheeling occurred once more before the permanent establishment in Charleston. The original capitol building in Charleston was razed to make way for a more prominent structure once West Virginian’s voted for Charleston as their choice for the state’s capital. The capitol in Downtown Charleston caught fire in 1921, and was quickly replaced by a Pasteboard Capitol while architect Cass Gilbert’s designs for a capitol complex were being brought to life along the Kanawha River. Cass Gilbert is most recognized for designing the Woolworth Building in New York, the George Washington Bridge, the Minnesota State Capitol, and the U.S. Supreme Court Building. The first three structures of the West Virginia State Capitol Complex were constructed from 1924 to 1932. Today the West Virginia Capitol Complex consists of four structures: the west wing, the east wing, the main building, and the Culture Center which was established in 1976.
Holly Grove Mansion - Ruffner Mansion
Holly Grove Mansion, also known as the Ruffner Mansion, is the oldest home in the city of Charleston, WV. The home was built in 1815 by Daniel Ruffner, brother of David Ruffner, Joseph Ruffner Jr., and Tobias Ruffner, (sons of Joseph Ruffner Sr.) who were largely instrumental in developing a thriving salt industry to the Kanawha Valley in the early 1800s. The Ruffner Mansion served as the home for the family who helped develop the Kanawha Valley while also being a center of industry and commerce during the early 19th Century. Holly Grove Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and now sits on the West Virginia State Capitol Complex.
West Virginia Governor's Mansion
The West Virginia Governor's Mansion symbolizes the state's distinguished past and present. The Georgian Revival mansion, completed in 1925 at a cost $200,000, was designed by Walter Martens, a Charleston architect who designed several other buildings on Charleston's East End.
Union Soldier Statue
The statue is a memorial to the Union Soldiers and Sailors from West Virginia who fought in the Civil War. Funded by the State of WV and placed on the Capitol grounds in 1930, it faces Kanawha Blvd. east of the Governor’s Mansion.
Lincoln Walks at Midnight
West Virginia sculptor Fred Torrey designed Lincoln Walks at Midnight based on Vachel Lindsay’s 1914 poem of the same name. The statue represents Lincoln's decision to grant West Virginia statehood during the Civil War.
Stonewall Jackson Statue
On the grounds of the WV State Capitol stands a statue to Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, The artist, Sir Moses Jacob Ezekiel, was commissioned by Daughters of the Confederacy to cast the high-plinth bronze sculpture while living in Rome. Ezekiel was a former Confederate soldier and VMI graduate.
Mountaineer Soldier Statue
In response to dedication of a statue honoring Clarksburg native and Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson at the old State Capitol in downtown Charleston, WV, veterans of the Union side received an equivalent statue by Henry Kirke Bush-Brown in 1912. The bronze statue depicts a pro-Union citizen militiaman carrying a flag, while the two reliefs on the base depict Mountaineer home life.
Liberty Bell Replica
This site houses an authentic replica of the American icon the Liberty Bell. The replica is said to be cast to exactly the same proportions and tone. It is located in Charleston, WV in the Capitol Complex directly at the front of the courtyard opposite the Kanawha Boulevard side of the Capitol. The bell can be visited alongside many other monuments at the Capitol Complex.
Booker T. Washington Memorial, West Virginia State Capitol
This memorial on the grounds of the West Virginia State Capital grounds pays tribute to Booker T. Washington, one of the most influential educators in American history. Washington was born into bondage just prior to the end of slavery and later moved to West Virginia with his father who worked in the salt mines around Malden, a small community near Charleston. Washington accompanied his father into the mines where he also labored as a young child. Upon learning of a nearby school, young Washington secured a deal with his father whereby he could work mornings and nights and attend school in the daytime. This ambition and thirst for knowledge became the hallmarks of Washington's life.
WV Coal Miners Memorial
This memorial is located on the grounds of the WV State Capitol Complex. It was designed by Burl Jones in 2002.
West Virginia Female Veterans' Memorial
Located at the State Capitol Complex, this statue is the first memorial to honor West Virginia’s female soldiers. It is also the only sculpture on the Capitol grounds depicting a woman. The work was sculpted by artist Joe Mullins to represent a female veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, yet her attire does not represent any particular branch of the service. The statue is symbolic of the sacrifices and commitment of all the women who have served in the US Armed Forces.
WV Veterans Memorial
The West Virgina Veterans Memorial was designed by P. Joseph Mullins, and constructed from 1990-1999 to honor the lives of over 10,000 West Virginian soldiers who passed away during the 20th century. The memorial itself is a section of the State Capitol Complex in Charleston.

This tour was created by Preservation Alliance of West Virginia User on 03/13/17 .

This tour has been taken 489 times within the past year.

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