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West Virginia Capitol Complex

The West Virginia Capitol complex, the state’s striking Italian Renaissance capitol building, is one of the most noticeable landmarks in Charleston, West Virginia. Built in 1932, the capitol building is dominated by a 293-foot gold-leaf dome, about five feet higher than the United States capitol dome. The West Virginia Capitol complex is home to the state's Governor's Mansion, the Cultural Center, the West Virginia State Museum, and an ante-bellum home, Holly Grove. The West Virginia Capitol complex is actually the sixth capitol building in West Virginia's history. This marvelous structure was designed by the architect Cass Gilbert and the cost to build it was more than $9 million. The building was constructed in three stages. The West wing was completed in 1924-25; the east wing was constructed in 1926-27; and the rotunda connecting the wings was built in 1930-32. The capitol complex was dedicated to the state by Governor William G. Conley on the state's 69th birthday, June 20, 1932. The exterior of the Capitol complex is buff Indiana limestone. More than 700 carloads of limestone and 4,640 tons of steel, were used for the construction of the building. The entire dome is decorated in 14 karat gold leaf applied to the copper and lead roof in tiny 3-3/8 inch squares. Within the rotunda, 180 feet above the floor, a two-ton chandelier sparkles with 10,080 pieces of Czechoslovakian crystal. The Capitol building comprises of 535,000 square feet of floor space and features 333 rooms in its main unit and two wings. About two thirds of the interior of the Capitol building is complete with a variety of marble - Imperial Danby, Italian Travertine, Tennessee, and white Vermont.