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Capitol Square: A Work in Progress

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1780 Capital is moved to Richmond from Williamsburg. Temporary statehouse is located at what is now the northwest corner of 14th and Cary streets. Thomas Jefferson is governor.

1785 Jefferson, then ambassador to France, is asked to design a capitol and the cornerstone is laid. Patrick Henry is governor.

1788 Virginia government occupies the new Capitol.

1813 The Executive Mansion is completed according to the designs of Alexander Parris, a Boston architect. It is the nation's oldest governor's residence in continuous use.

1816 Architect Maximilian Godefroy landscapes the parklike grounds of Capitol Square. His plans are most evident today on the north side of the Capitol with the Executive Mansion, Washington Monument and entrance to Grace Street aligned on a strict axis. In 1818 the cast-iron fence was installed. It still surrounds the square.

1850 In a break from the formalism of the Godefroy plan, Philadelphia architect John Notman establishes a more picturesque landscaping plan for Capitol Square. It features winding pathways and a denser component of trees and shrubs. His ideas are most evident today on the western side of the square on the sloping, shaded hillside along Ninth Street. A few years later Notman will design Hollywood Cemetery.

1858 The cornerstone is laid for the Washington monument at the northwest corner of the Capitol.

1861-1865 The Capitol serves dual functions as the capitol of the Confederate States of America and the state of Virginia.

1870 The third floor of the Capitol collapses into the House of Delegates chamber, killing 62 people and injuring 250.

1906 The Capitol is expanded when the east and west wings are added as legislative chambers. John Kevan Peebles is the architect.

1962 The hyphens linking the legislative chambers are enlarged.

2007 The underground extension is completed, along with a major restoration of the Capitol, both by Hillier Architecture.



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