My Honest Thoughts about Every State Capitol in the U.S.
As someone who lives in a capital city, I’m forced to look at my state’s capitol building almost every day. Fortunately for me, Nebraska’s capitol isn’t an eyesore. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s as gorgeous as it is unique (at least as far as capitols go). Whereas most capitols are inspired by Greek and Roman state houses of antiquity, Nebraska’s takes a page from Mesopotamian and Egyptian architecture. The fact that it also vaguely resembles an ear of corn just adds to its charm.
A capitol should (ideally) be the best building your state has to offer, but some states, unfortunately, have pretty lousy capitols. Some have amazing capitols. Below is a list of every capitol building in the U.S. and my thoughts on them.
Alabama: This is a standard domed capitol, which is the breed of capitol you’ll find in most states. This one would be pretty forgettable if it weren’t for the timepiece placed in front of its rotunda, making it one of our nation’s most cyclopean capitols.
Alaska: This is just a regular-ass building. The skywalk is also not doing this capitol any favors. If it were a commercial building, it’d be fine, but since this is a capitol, it’s a hard pass for me. They could at least add some polar bears and plaid curtains to make it look more authentically Alaskan.
Arizona: It’s like a cross between the U.S. Capitol and a Spanish-style mission. Sounds weird on paper, but it looks cool. The perfect capitol for a desert state.
Arkansas: This is just the U.S. Capitol with a slightly better front yard. They didn’t even bother to change the color of the rotunda. Technically it looks fine, but it loses points for lack of creativity.
California: The dome is cool, but the architect went a little overboard with the columns. Bonus points for the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger most likely had sex in this building on multiple occasions.
Colorado: A blocky body paired with a gracile, attenuated rotunda makes for a confusing hodgepodge of a capitol. Whoever designed this was smokin’ da weedz.
Connecticut: The U.S. Capitol had a baby with Cinderella’s castle. This one is just plain stupid.
Delaware: This one looks like a university’s library. Not bad, but I just can’t imagine senators duking it out in a building like this. Buildings like this are for reading articles about James Joyce while you desperately try to crank out a twenty-page essay that’s due in an hour.
Florida: This one’s confusing. The building in front looks like a dinky little courthouse with ugly striped awnings, but behind it looms a giant robot’s cock and balls. I guess this isn’t so much a capitol as it is a capitol complex, but still.
Georgia: Gee whiz, a golden dome. How exciting. (yawn)
Hawaii: Drawing inspiration from native architecture and design, this capitol truly feels like a tropical state building. The open-air design is probably very refreshing, and from above it looks like something out of Star Trek.
Idaho: It’s just California’s without any paint on the dome. Let’s skip this one.
Illinois: A taller, thinner, dweebier take on the clichéd domed capitol. Basically, this is the Luigi of state capitols.
Indiana: This one looks like a Venetian manor, which is surprisingly refined for a state like Indiana, whose only notable citizens include Abraham Lincoln and child predator/Subway mascot Jared Fogle.
Iowa: Forget what I just wrote about Indiana’s capitol—this is Venetian glitz brought to the Midwest. Rococo AF. It’s easy to see how this building inspired both REO Speedwagon and Slipknot.
Kansas: The brown dome makes me imagine that a naked giant was wandering through Kansas, happened upon the capitol, and squatted down in order to insert the dome into his anus, thus resulting in its fecal color. I can’t believe such a bizarre, disgusting concept inspired The Sunflower State’s governmental nerve center.
Kentucky: They stole Kansas’s blueprints but abandoned the poop motif. Good on you, Kentucky.
Louisiana: This is the tallest capitol in the nation, but it looks like an uglier version of Nebraska’s. At night it looks like something out of Batman, though, so it’s not the worst capitol ever.
Maine: The Lobster State’s capitol suffers from the same disorder as The Sunflower State’s. Also, Maine is to New England what Kansas is to the Midwest.
Maryland: See Delaware above. Capitols shouldn’t look like libraries.
Massachusetts: Bricks are gross and gold domes are gross. This capitol’s nastier than Boston on St. Patrick’s day.
Michigan: Basically Colorado’s but with less color.
Minnesota: Adding baubles to what’s basically the U.S. Capitol isn’t impressing anyone, pal.
Mississippi: Remove the rotunda, and this looks like a middle school. Mississippi also leads the U.S. in almost everything bad—morbid obesity, murders, drug overdoses, vehicular fatalities, heart attacks, and men who call themselves Muddy.
Missouri: If you’re from Missouri, you’re boring. This capitol is boring, too. It’s very uncreative to be from Missouri.
Montana: This looks like an evil baron’s fortress, but since this is Montana, I know that at least half of the people in this building wear cowboy hats and bolo ties. Montana also has more registered libertarians than all other states in the U.S. combined.
Nebraska: What’s tall, Art-Deco, and nicknamed “the penis of the prairie”? Why, the Nebraska capitol, of course! In a 1957 Harvard University study, one in four Nebraska men admitted to sexually experimenting with domestic animals in their youth.
Nevada: Another university library-inspired capitol. Most land in Nevada is government-owned, and the Department of Energy has knowingly exposed more than one million Americans to dangerous levels of gamma radiation.
New Hampshire: An angular take on a classic capitol design. Concord grapes (which are native to New Hampshire, not Massachusetts) are considered the “foxiest” of all grapes. Yes, that’s right—wild foxes smell just like grape Fanta.
New Jersey: This is an imposing building for an imposing state. The bollards in front of it also look like black pawns. Also, if you hail from The Sludge State, there’s a 0.73% chance your name is Peter.
New Mexico: This circular building is supposedly based on Native American design aesthetics, but as someone who has known many Native Americans, I can tell you that none of them like state capitols that look like experimental high schools where boys named Breesin snort crushed pills in the single-occupant bathroom by the nurse’s office.
New York: This one looks like a castle, but in a good way. New York’s capital city, Albany, is home to more than five independent burger chains and over two cigar bars.
North Carolina: Soulful. Just soulful. Just looking at this capitol, you’d think it was a rustic small-town courthouse, but no, it’s actually the center of legislative power for Tar Heel Nation. Michael Jordan is also from North Carolina, so there’s a greater-than-zero chance that Michael Jordan has had sex in this building.
North Dakota: Hideous. Just hideous. What is this, a capitol or a housing project in the middle of the world’s most boring lawn? I’d expect better architecture from the state that leads America in honey and durum wheat production.
Ohio: In true Buckeye fashion, this capitol abandons the traditional domed rotunda in favor of something more cylindrical. Looking at this unique capitol, one can understand how this edifice inspired such Ohioans as Lebron James, Steven Spielberg, and Drew Carey.
Oklahoma: Nice try, Sooner State, but everyone can see this is just the U.S. Capitol with dirt smeared on it. On April 19, 1995, at 9:02 am, a truck bomb exploded in front of the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing one hundred and sixty-eight people, including nineteen children. Two days later, authorities named twenty-seven year old Timothy McVeigh as the prime suspect in the most deadly attack on American soil at the time. Thereafter, his visage, quickly dubbed “The Face Of Terror,” inundated the media, thus becoming seared into the archives of public memory.
Oregon: Is this a capitol, or is this a birthday cake for the President of Latvia? Maybe The Beaver State could call upon its many beavers to help them build a more aesthetically pleasing capitol.
Pennsylvania: The rotunda’s hideous puke green color makes me wonder what this capitol has been doing on the weekends. Maybe it’s time to wrap it up before hitting the sheets, eh buddy? It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the greatest sitcoms of the 21st century, much as Benjamin Franklin was one of the most prolific inventors and statesmen of early America. One could say that Franklin was the Always Sunny of the Founding Fathers, and that Pennsylvania is the Philadelphia of states.
Rhode Island: What makes you think you deserve seven domes? Some capitols can’t even afford one dome! Rhode Island is the smallest state in the Union, but it’s the biggest state when it comes to domes.
South Carolina: Wowzers, look at all the windows on that rotunda! With all the time it took to install those windows, you could have tried lowering your homicide rate, which currently stands at 17.4 murders per 100,000 residents, the third-highest in the U.S.
South Dakota: What a great capitol! Nothing more to say here.
Tennessee: What do you get when a one-room country schoolhouse has sex with the Parthenon and nine months later the Parthenon delivers a baby building by c-section? The capitol of Tennessee.
Texas: This is just Oklahoma’s with more dirt.
Utah: Something about the landscaping around this capitol feels…uncanny. Also, this one time I went to a pizzeria in Omaha and there was a section of the menu called “Menu for Mormons.” It was the same as the regular menu, only every item had “for Mormons” tacked on to the end, and everything was $50 more expensive. When I asked the manager what the Menu for Mormons was all about, he got really aggressive and asked, “Why? Are you one of those fucking Mormons?” When I told him no, he said, “Good. Because then that pizza would cost you a hell of a lot more, bud.” Despite how weird the manager was acting, the pizza wasn’t half-bad.
Vermont: Asymmetry is not something you want to see in a capitol, but Vermont has asymmetry in spades. As if a crappy capitol weren’t bad enough, Vermont also has the fewest fast food restaurants per capita of any state.
Virginia: Most states are content ripping off the U.S. Capitol. Virginia rips off the U.S. Supreme Court instead.
Washington: Those puny auxiliary domes aren’t fooling anyone. You wish you were Rhode Island’s capitol, but you’ll forever be the birthplace of the grunge movement.
West Virginia: A gold dome, an excessive number of decorative columns, an unoriginal design—despite everything this capitol has working against it, you can’t help but love it. Also, everyone I’ve ever met from West Virginia despises West Virginia.
Wisconsin: Is that an X-shaped capitol? I don’t know what I love more—the architecture of this building or the fact that Wisconsin leads the nation in dairy and ginseng exports.
Wyoming: For a state with such a wild, rugged reputation, Wyoming has a surprisingly gracile and refined capitol. Wyoming also leads America in suicides and is the home state of former Vice President Dick Cheney and gothic badboy YouTuber KingCobraJFS.