When Andrew Weber wrote his blog post on the Wisconsin State Capitol, he asked readers if they had a favorite state capitol. Reading that, I knew I had to write about one of my two favorite state capitols, the Maryland State House in Annapolis.
Every state capitol has something unique to admire. The state house of Maryland has unique features dating to its colonial period. The Maryland State House is the oldest state house in continuous use in the United States, starting operation in 1772, and it is the only state house to have served as the capitol of the United States. The Congress of the Confederation met there from November 26, 1783 to August 13, 1784. During that time period, then-General George Washington resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and the Treaty of Paris was signed there.
The entire Georgian-style capitol is handsome, with its raised setting, leaded windows, and Corinthian columns, but the most recognizable feature of the Maryland State House is its cupola. You’ve probably seen it: it was featured on the Maryland quarter in the U.S. Mint’s state quarter series. This dome is special, because it was constructed without any nails and it is still held together by wooden pegs reinforced by iron straps, as originally designed. It is the oldest wooden dome in the United States. There is some speculation that the cupola was modeled on Schloss Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe Palace) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Regardless of the dome’s architectural inspiration, one hopes that its image serves as an inspiration to lawmakers and citizens.
Maryland State House Dome [photo by Rebecca Raupach]
Maryland State House, view with the state seal on the pediment and the Maryland state flag in foreground, August 2017 [photo by Rebecca Raupach]
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