Mississippi State Capitol
The Mississippi State Capitol is located on High Street between President and West streets in downtown Jackson. The building’s address is 400 High St., Jackson, Mississippi, 39201.
Guided tours are conducted free of charge by staff and volunteers from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Tours are given weekdays at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. or visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour. Group and school tours are available by reservation. To schedule a tour, contact Visitor Services at the Mississippi State Capitol at (601) 359-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
During legislative sessions, visitors may view the Senate and House of Representatives from their respective galleries. Public galleries are accessible from the fourth floor of the Capitol. Visitors are asked to silence any electronic devices while in the galleries.
Brief History of the Mississippi Capitol
The Mississippi State Capitol has been the seat of the state’s government since 1903. The building is located on the site of the old state penitentiary and was designed by Theodore Link, an architect from St. Louis, Missouri. Construction cost more than $1 million, which was funded by back taxes from a lawsuit settlement with the Illinois Central Railroad.
The State Capitol is the third capitol building constructed in Jackson. The first building was completed in 1822 and no longer stands. The second building was completed in 1839, served as the Capitol until 1903, and today is the Old Capitol Museum. Upon the Capitol’s dedication in 1903, Governor A.H. Longino said of the new building, “... give to the people a Capitol building which shall be a reflex of the State’s public spirit, pride and integrity.”
The Beaux Arts-style building was designed to house all branches of Mississippi state government. Currently, only the Legislature, the ceremonial office of the Governor, and an office of the Secretary of State operate in the Capitol.
The Capitol has a width of 402 feet, and the dome has a height of 180 feet. The interior Rotunda dome contains 750 lights which illuminate the blind-folded lady representing “Blind Justice” and four figures that played a role in Mississippi history: two Native Americans, a European explorer and a Confederate soldier. An eagle adorns the top of the central dome and is made of copper coated with gold leaf. The eagle is 8-feet high and 15-feet wide.
The Hall of Governors is located on the first floor. Portraits of the state’s governors since the creation of the Mississippi Territory in 1798 are on display. The former State Library and the former Supreme Court chambers, now both committee meeting rooms, are located on the second floor. The Legislature is housed on the third floor, along with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House.
The capitol grounds contain one of the 55 replicas of the original Liberty Bell and a Women of the Confederacy monument, dedicated in June 1912, to honor the wives, daughters, sisters and mothers of Confederate soldiers. A variety of trees surround the Capitol, including the Magnolia (the official state tree and flower), a Japanese magnolia and cherry trees. The battleship figurehead is from the second USS Mississippi. The ship was sold to Greece in 1914, but the figurehead was presented to Mississippi by the U.S. Navy in December 1909.
The Mississippi State Capitol is designated a Mississippi Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A four-year, $19 million restoration completed in 1983 helped to preserve and maintain the original features of the building.