Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 10 miles south of its confluence with the Mohawk River. It is one of the oldest surviving settlements from the original thirteen colonies, and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States. Located in downtown Albany, poised at the top of State Street, is the New York State Capitol - the capitol building of the State of New York.
Housing the New York State Legislature, it is located in the state capital Albany, on State Street in Capitol Park. The building, completed during 1899 at a cost of $25 million (worth approximately half a billion current dollars), was the most expensive government building of its time. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1979.
Don't Miss This When Visiting
The most prominent interior features of the Capitol its the three major staircases. Lavishly carved in a variety of stone and crowned with magnificent skylights, the staircases are three of the most admired features of the Capitol.
The Great Western Staircase, also known as the Million Dollar Staircase, took an unheard of 14 years to construct, from 1883-1897 and cost, more than one million dollars. The delays in constructing this magnificent staircase were two-fold. Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and built by Isaac Perry, the staircase contains 444 steps and reaches 119 feet high. is renowned as an outstanding example of American architectural stone carving excellence. Over 500 stone cutters and carvers were employed at various times. Many were Europeans who had mastered their trade in their homelands of England, Scotland and Italy. Their main task was the carving of various prominent people into the stone as ordered by chief architect Isaac Perry. He wanted 77 in all. What's remarkable is these 77 faces, along with countless other designs, were sculptured from existing stone walls. Using only ladders and scaffolding, often in very uncomfortable positions, these stone artists spent years, at a salary of five dollars a day, sculpturing some of the finest stonework found anywhere in the world. Among the 77 famous faces beautifully carved into the sandstone staircases are such famous Americans as Washington, Lincoln, Grant, and Susan B. Anthony - each etched with astonishingly fine detail. With the stone gallery of prominent Americans out of the way, Perry decided to allow his elite group of carvers to sculpt the faces of friends, relatives, and people seen on the streets.
The Flag Room is located at the east entrance of the first floor of the Capitol. On display is part of the nearly 1,000 battle flags that date from the War of 1812 through the Gulf War. Over half of the flags are from the Civil War, where New York regiments fought in many of the great battles.
The large desk in the Executive Chamber has been used by every Governor since 1881. The main hallway leading to the Executive Chamber is in itself, filled with prestige and honor. This is known as the "Hall of Governors." As a lasting tribute to their leadership, tradition holds that upon leaving office, the governor, at his own expense, commissions his portrait to be painted and displayed along with the other former great leaders of our state and this nation.
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Additional Notes And Comments
Walk-in tours of the Capitol for the general public are offered Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. In addition, visitors may use a self-guided audio tour. The are no public tours on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Arranging a Tour: All groups of 10 or more are required to make reservations by phone two weeks in advance. Please call the Plaza Visitor Center at (518) 474-2418 to reserve a tour. We also recommend that visitors call ahead to confirm the daily schedule.
Cost: Tours and audio-tours are offered free of charge.
Location: All tours begin at the Information Desk in the State Street Lobby of the Capitol. SCHOOL GROUPS should check in first at the Plaza Visitor Center on the North Concourse.
Length: Tours last 45 to 60 minutes.
Accessibility: Please inform us of any special needs when making your reservation.
Group Size: A maximum of 30 participants.
Security: Visitors to the Capitol will be required to pass through metal detectors and have any bags scanned through an x-ray machine. Personal belongings such as backpacks and large bags should be left behind. Sharp objects, such as pocket knives and nail clippers will not be allowed into the building.
Tours Are Offered
Site is Child-friendly
Site is Pet-friendly