March 18, 2013
I had been to the statehouse on school trips, but it had been years since I'd been there. It's quite beautiful outside and out. The tour starts in the map room and winds its way through public areas of the statehouse on a tour that lasts approximately an hour. See areas used by soldiers during the war, corridors, rooms where the legislature holds its meetings and votes, the rotunda and courtyard. The architecture is impressive, and, when they did a restoration, they aimed to replicate the original look. They went so far as to borrowing lamps to reproduce the ones that were once found in the statehouse.
Be sure to spend time in the rotunda to review the current display honoring soldiers who lost their lives serving their country-it is quite moving. Paintings of the soldiers and their boots-many of them containing mementos from loved ones, family and friends-along with their dog tags will leave a lasting impression.
Leave a little time to walk around the outside of the statehouse, too. There's a sundial and various memorials/sculptures in addition to the metal version of the Ohio seal embedded in the floor on the west side facing High Street.
The statehouse, known as the "people's house," is open to the public and tours are given free of charge. The statehouse is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are begin on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and from noon to 3 p.m. on the weekends. Take the Third Street entrance to get to the map room where the tours begin. Street parking at metered spots is free on Sunday.
*Fun fact: Abraham Lincoln spoke at the statehouse in 1861 and it was the only time the general public was allowed on the first floor of during a general session of the legislature.
To plan your visit, see the website at http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/tours/index.aspx