North Dakota State Capitol Grounds
The State Capitol Grounds is the area directly surrounding the State Capitol. The grounds are used for many community events, including a Fourth of July Fireworks Show. The grounds are also home to what is referred to as the “Capitol Mall”.
The Capitol Grounds feature walking paths, two parks, various species of trees, a veterans memorial, and various statues that includes one of Sakakawea.
The capitol grounds were used twice to break the world record for the most snow angels, most recently in 2007 with 8,962 people participating.
Situated on the grounds are several State Government facilities, in addition to the State Capitol.
Buildings Located on Capitol Grounds (in order of completion):
State Capitol (Original) – Constructed in 1884 when Bismarck was named capital of Dakota Territory, the original capitol went onto serve as capitol of North Dakota until it was destroyed by fire in 1930.
Liberty Memorial Building – Completed in 1924 to help house the overflowing state government, the Liberty Memorial Building is the oldest remaining building on the Capitol Grounds.
State Capitol (Current) – Completed in 1934 to replace the original capitol, destroyed by fire in 1930. The State Capitol is nicked the “Skyscraper on the Prairie” or “Skyscraper of the Prairie” because of its distinction as the tallest building in North Dakota, at nineteen stories. The Judicial Wing was completed in 1981.
State Office Building – Constructed in 1955 to house Bismarck Junior College, the overflowing state government took control of the building in 1961, and has used it ever since.
Governor’s Mansion (Current) – Constructed in 1960 as the home of the Governor, and underwent an addition and major renovation in 2000.
Department of Transportation Building – Constructed in 1968 to house the growing Department of Transportation, which it still houses today.
State Heritage Center – Constructed in 1981 to replace the former State Historical Museum, the Heritage Center is a public museum displaying various artifacts from North Dakota’s history. The Heritage Center also houses the State Historical Society and Historical Archives. In 2008, a proposal was presented for a major addition and renovation of the facility.
The Capitol Grounds also once contained the original log cabin where President Theodore Roosevelt lived during the 1880s in the nearby Badlands. The cabin was relocated onto the grounds in 1906. It was relocated with the grounds in 1923, to north of the Liberty Memorial Building.
It has been unconfirmed when the cabin was removed, but it remained as late as 1956.
NOTE: The Former Governor’s Mansion, constructed in 1884, is not listed due to the fact it is technically not housed on the grounds of the State Capitol.