Design and Construction of the Utah State Capitol

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Utah Archives Month is nearing its end for 2016, and the Utah State Archives is ending its month-long focus on the Utah State Capitol with information on two new additions to the Digital Archives that help tell the story of how the Capitol Building was designed and constructed.

Beginning in 1909, the Capitol Commission initiated a design competition for the purpose of selecting an architect to design Utah’s State Capitol building. Architects who wished to participate were required to demonstrate that they possessed the necessary expertise by submitting examples of their work. Those that were approved to participate received a Program of Competition outlining the rules of the competition and the design program for the proposed capitol. Records from this design competition are now available online, and include the rules for the design contest, photographic examples of work done by interested architects, booklets and photographs showing the proposed capitol designs submitted by various competitors, and a sampling of the Program of Competition booklets returned by architects who intended to enter the competition.

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Design competition drawing for the Capitol submitted by Watkins, Birch, Kent, Eldredge, and Chesebro

Ultimately, Utah-based architect, Richard Kletting’s design was selected from those entered into the design competition, and construction on the building commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony on December 26, 1912. Over the next four years the Utah State Capitol was built, using Kletting’s construction plans, which are now available online through the Digital Archives. These original building plans are diverse and include plans for framing, various construction details, columns and stone work, dome framing, foundation and footings, cross-sections, and building elevations from various angles.

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