The Ohio Statehouse is the seat of Ohio’s government. It is located in Columbus, the state capital. Construction of Ohio’s current statehouse began in 1839 and was completed in 1861. Prison inmates provided much of the construction labor. The Statehouse is typical of Greek Revival architecture, which Ohioans selected because of its democratic symbolism. This structure was to replace an early statehouse built in 1816. The original statehouse burned in 1852. The new statehouse had fifty-three rooms, but over the years, the number of rooms grew to 317. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Statehouse was restored, and 225 rooms were eliminated. Today, the Statehouse principally houses the Ohio General Assembly, although several state officials, including the governor, have ceremonial offices in the building.
Since its completion, the Ohio Statehouse has undergone some major changes. Many of these changes resulted from the discovery of new technologies. In 1888, the Ohio Supreme Court chamber received electric lights. By 1892, electricity existed throughout the entire structure. In 1896, Ohio Governor William McKinley used a telephone in his office to campaign for the United States presidency. He was the first presidential candidate to utilize this new technology in a campaign. In 1960, General Assembly sessions began to be broadcast on television.
The building also went through some structural changes. In 1901, the Judiciary Annex, which housed the Ohio Supreme Court, the state Attorney General’s office, and several other offices, was completed. Today, the Judiciary Annex is the Senate Building. In 1989, a restoration of the Statehouse and Judiciary Annex began, which returned much of the Statehouse to its former grandeur, although some new structures were also completed, including the Atrium, which provides a covered passageway between the Statehouse and the Senate Building.