In 1863, Lewiston, Idaho was the original Idaho State Capitol site until Boise was made the capital in 1890 which is also when President Benjamin Harrison signed Idaho into statehood. A few years after Idaho gained statehood the construction on the original capitol building began in the summer of 1906. The architects who developed the building were John E. Tourtellotte and Charles Hummel. The architects used several different materials to construct the building and their architecture was inspired by various sources and cultures.
Construction of the Original Building
Tourtellotte and Hummel used four different types of marble from various locations: red marble from Georgia, gray marble from Alaska, green marble from Vermont, and black marble from Italy. The architectural inspirations for the capitol’s design were Roman based, and a few examples are St. Peter’s in Rome, St. Paul's in London, and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The most distinguishable feature to the capitol building is the dome. On top of this dome is a bronze Eagle, 5 feet 7 inches (1.7 m) high. The capitol building is 208 feet (63 m) high and takes up a total of 201,720 square feet (18,740 sq m), and there is over 50,000 square feet (4,600 sq m) of artistically carved marble. There are 219 pillars on the original building which were either Doric, Corinthian, or Ionic columns, and each pillar is made up of marble dust, plaster and scagliola.
Attractions in the new building consist of the Golden Statue of George Washington and information about the historic trees that surround the capitol building. The Golden Statue of George Washington was carved by Charles Osner in 1869 from white pine, which is the state tree of Idaho. He did all of his work by candlelight and it took him 4 years to finish.
Another popular statue that resides next to The George Washington Statue is the Winged Victory of Samothrace which was sculpted around 350 B.C. on an island in the Aegean Sea. It was rediscovered in 1863 and Idaho received the replica in 1940 from the people of France following World War II. Next, the capitol building has many historic trees that surround the premises. Presidents Benjamin Harrison, Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft planted trees on the property; Harrison planted a Water Oak, Roosevelt planted a Sugar Maple in 1903, and Taft planted the Ohio Buckeye in 1911.