State Capitol Dome Tour
10th and Jackson
Topeka, Kansas 66612
Free Capitol Building Tours Monday - Friday
9:15, 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, 1:15, 2:15 and
Saturday: 10:15, 11:15, 12:15, 1:15, 2:15
Reservations are accepted - recommended January
the rest of the Capitol Building
Guide to things
to do in Topeka
View from the Capitol Dome
The inner dome with its new chandelier - the original chandelier was
removed during a
World War 2 scrap metal drive
The Kansas State Capitol Dome tours were halted
for several years while the building had $330,000,000 of renovation, but
tours resumed February 3, 2014. The tours take about 40 minutes.
Visitors take a classic 1923 cage elevator to the 5th
floor, where the tour begins. There are 296 steps from there to the top
of the outer dome. The pace is relaxed, with stops on three levels, and
should be no problem to someone in average condition. The most interesting
area is above the inner glass dome, in the 75 feet of enclosed space between
the inner and outer domes.
In addition to great views, the interior of the Kansas
State Capitol Dome has interesting graffiti. After I photographed the oldest
known graffiti (1903), the friendly, young guide pointed out a sticker
from when Berry Goldwater visited the Capitol while campaigning for President
in 1964, "AuH2O '64." Then he pointed to a name close to the sticker and
explained it was his grandfather's name.
Many of the names are located where someone writing them
would have had to make a very risky climb. The scariest are on the underside
of the dome near the top, with no other surface nearby.
During my first tour of the Kansas State Capitol dome,
a woman froze in place at the bottom of the last spiral steps near the
top and was unable to go all the way.
The rest of the Kansas State Capitol building can be visited
from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday and 10AM to 4PM on Saturday.
Interior of Kansas Capitol outer dome..
Exterior of the 3/4" glass inner dome in 2006
The exterior of the inner dome in 2014 after major renovation. The
additional structure supports the new chandelier
and has a mechanism which allows the chandelier to lowered for cleaning
Top of the inner dome
The exterior dome is made up of clay tiles with copper sheeting on
the outside. The inner surface
has graffiti in extraordinary locations - notice the writing on the
underside of a girder at top left.
One of the views from the top of the capitol dome is of three three
grain elevators. The one in
the center was once the largest in the world, and is still the third
First Presbyterian Church - the best known features of the building
are the 100 year old Tiffany
There was a lot of concern about removal of the historic graffiti in
the capitol dome, but only a portion of
that graffiti was painted over during the renovation.
Oldest known dome graffiti - dated 1903, the year the dome was first
"AuH2O" sticker from 1964 when Berry Goldwater visited Topeka while
campaigning for President.
Close-up of dome graffiti from 1938
Photos of the Capitol
dome's exterior Guide
to things to do in Topeka
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