The Wyoming State Capitol building was constructed between 1886 and 1890, before Wyoming was even a state. It’s located just north of downtown Cheyenne and open to visitors during working hours from Monday through Friday. Tours are free and self-guided, but guided tours can be provided upon request in advance.
As you approach the front of the building, you’ll see the State Seal of Wyoming in granite and two statues. One of them is of Esther Hobart Morris, who was instrumental to women’s rights in Wyoming. The other is of Chief Washakie, a respected Shoshone warrior chief.
The main entrance of the building leads into the rotunda. There are checkerboard marble floors and beautiful wooden staircases throughout the building.. The information desk is located here as well.
Directly above the rotunda is the dome. It’s decorated with stained glass from England and flanked by the Territorial Seal and State Seal. The exterior of the dome is made of 24-carat gold leaf. It’s 146 feet high and 50 feet in diameter at the base.
In the halls of the first floor are the offices of the governor, secretary of state, auditor, attorney general, and treasurer. The West Wing features a mounted bison that was raised in the state herd near Thermopolis. When it was alive, it weighed 3,000 pounds. There’s also a piece of the World Trade Center that was given to the state as a memorial for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
On the East Wing between the offices of the treasurer and attorney general is a huge bust of Abraham Lincoln. He played a major part in Wyoming history by signing the first Pacific Railroad Act in 1862, allowing for the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. There’s also a portrait gallery of the governors of Wyoming.
The Senate Chamber is on the West Wing and the House Chamber is on the East Wing. Because of the major renovations that’s taking place between 2015 and 2018, the desks were all removed and I was able to walk out onto the floor of each chamber. The balconies were also open.
Each chamber has a gorgeous stained glass ceiling with the Wyoming State Seal in the center.
On the third floor in Legislative Conference Room 302, there’s a 1,000 pound chandelier sitting under stained glass, and a 8’x22’ mural titled “Wyoming, the Land the People”. It was completed in 1980 by Wyoming native Mike Kopriva.
East and West Lawn
Finally, on the exterior of the building there are a couple of interesting bronze statues. On the east lawn is a bison statue while on the west lawn is the incredible “Spirit of Wyoming”. It depicts a cowboy on a bucking bronco.