Think you have done all the things you could possibly do in Raleigh? Have you been on the Behind the Scenes tour at the North Carolina State Capitol? If not, add this to your must-do list. For just $17 you get to go up in the attic and stand in the Governor’s office.
On this special tour, you get access to the Capitol’s “secret spaces,” as well as behind the ropes access to most of the building. You have to be comfortable climbing stairs and be good in confined spaces.
The building is a Greek Revival style. Most of the details – molding, ornamental plasterwork, and the honeysuckle crown atop the dome – were patterned after features of ancient Greek temples. The exterior columns are Doric style and modeled after those of the Parthenon. The exterior of the building is made out of granite which was brought from a quarry on Rock Quarry Road.
You start the tour by visiting the statue of George Washington. In this marble sculpture, George Washington is depicted as a Roman general.The original marble sculpture was dedicated on December 24, 1821. The replica which you see today is a marble duplicate of the original that arrived in Raleigh in 1970. The original sculpture got crushed when the ceiling fell in while the Capitol building burned. There are a few pieces of the original sculpture sill around that we got to see.
After learning about the statue of George Washington you get to visit the administrative offices. One of the offices has a really cool safe.The safe which is currently office storage used to hold all of North Carolina’s treasury. People used to get paid through the window.
You then get to stop by the Governors’ office. One of the cool things in his office is the Thomas Day table. Day was free black artisan. You also got to see the official state seal.
We visited the second floor next which included the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers. The House of Representatives room served the 120-member House of Commons from 1840-1868 and the House of Representatives from 1868-1961.
One of the coolest things about the tour is shimming yourself out through a tiny hole in the rotunda to look down. It was pretty darn amazing to look down at the statue of George Washington. It is 97-1/2 feet from the rotunda floor to the crown atop the dome.
How can you find out about this great event? Make sure to follow the North Carolina State Capitol here. The tickets sell out quickly.