Frankfort was established in 1786 by General James Wilkinson. How did General Wilkinson come up with the name Frankfort? Well, Frankfort is named after Stephan Frank, a frontier man who was killed in 1780 during a fight with an Indian. The fight happened at a local forting place on the river. Hence, the name Frankfort. Kentucky became the 15th state to join the United States when Frankfort was named the capital in 1792. Isaac Shelby was the first governor.
Did you know that Kentucky has had not 1 or 2 but 4 capitol buildings since 1792! The first two capitol buildings were destroyed by fire. The fire is believed to have started when candles were used to light the buildings. The first fire happened in 1813 and the second in 1824. The construction on the third capitol building was completed in 1830 (it is the one in the black and white picture). This building is still standing but it is now called the Old Capitol. If you get a chance you should swing on by for a tour. Why? You ask well because inside you will find a unique self-supporting staircase. Why is that important? Well, it is the only one of its kind in the whole world. I am sad when we went it wasn’t open but if we get a chance to go again that will be on my list of things to do. The 4th and current capitol was started in 1904 and was completed in 1910. It was built right in front of the Old capital. It is made from marble and granite from all over the world! It is just so beautiful to go see!! But the most interesting thing about the 4th one is it is topped with a 190 foot dome. But not only that. The dome changes colors. It is the only capital in the United States to do that. Kentucky’s capital is one of the most beautiful in the nation.
The dome is located in the rotunda. Aside from the beautiful dome light display, you can find four murals (Capitol Centennial Commission Legacy Project). The murals are nature, industry, culture, and civitas. The selected Nature to represent the bounty of the land, Industry to represent the power of commerce, Culture to represent the fruits of knowledge and civitas to represent the light of progress. It was completed in 2009 but wasn’t officially unveiled until 2010. This was one of the most expensive parts of the capital building. I myself think it is just beautiful! I could have stayed there watching the lights change for a while. LOL
Aside from the dome lights and the murals in the rotunda you can also find statues of these famous Kentuckians such as Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Henry Clay, Alben Barkley, and Dr. Ephraim McDowell. Since we went in December the rotunda was decorated beautifully for Christmas and there were many beautiful poinsettias around as you can see from the pictures.
On the east side of the state Capitol, you will find the Governor’s Mansion. Since 1914, the mansion has been the home of Kentucky’s governors and their families. The Capitol, the mansion is open for tours year-round. We ran out of time to get a tour but the outside is beautiful. They had a gorgeous lawn. Definitely on my list of things to do on the next trip.
Frankfort is home to the Kentucky First Lady Doll Collection. The collection showcases many of the inaugural gowns worn by first ladies and serves as a timeline of 200+ years of fashion. The dolls are beautiful. They have such an eye for details. You can view the doll display in the capital building.
Kentucky really is one of the most beautiful in the United States. If you ever find yourself in Kentucky please make time to visit this the capitol and all the surrounding buildings. It is a must do. My children really enjoyed it and they learned alot.
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