The Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines Graces This Souvenir Fridge Magnet
Built between 1871 and 1886, the Iowa State Capitol Building is a gem of Des Moines. It is unique in the United States as it is the only capitol building with five domes and under its extensive roofs operate the state's Senate, House of Representatives, Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer and Secretary of State. As is common of other western capitols (for instance, that of Utah), it is set outside the center fo the city on a hill affording panoramic views (a design that was perhaps inspired by the Federal Capitol's siting on Capitol Hill). The building's design deviates from the Neo-classical emphasis on white marble found in many American government buildings (including many in Washington) by using Renassance and Gothic-inspired elements, including a heavy use of warm-colored bricks and limestone in the construction.
The Capitol Building is the Reason That the City of Des Moines Exists
Like more famous capitols such as Brasilia, Canberra and Washington D.C., Des Moines did not exist before it was determined to be the site of the state's capitol. It is thus considered to be a "planned capital." During the period of the stat's colonization, when it was a federal territory, the capital was located in Iowa City, which is found in the southeastern corner of the state. However, it was determined that this capitol was too far from the northwestern quadrants of the state and that a more centralized site was needed to facilitate administration. Thus the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers was determined by the newly-created state legislature to be the best site for the settlement. The first capitol building was one of the first locations sited in Des Moines and has been a focal point of the city since its founding.