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North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends
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Parking/Grounds Map

Agencies Located at the Capitol Complex

Seasonal Pictures at the ND Capitol Complex

History of State Capitol Complex

Snow Angel Picture 8,962 people

January 2007 - last time the Happy Hooligans will fly over the Capitol If you look close you will see there are four planes in this picture.

Picture of 1st Capitol with Governor John Burke and trolley car

Picture of the Old Capitol Building Burning

Capitol Building Window Display

Capitol Building
Two tracts of 160 acres, deeded to the Territory of North Dakota from the Northern Pacific Railroad Company on August 28, 1883. The park was leased by Bismarck Parks and Recreation Department and they took care of all maintenance from 1955 until July 1, 2007.

North Dakota has enjoyed two statehouses, the first constructed during the territorial period (1883-4) five years before statehood in 1889. Fire consumed the Capitol on the night of December 28, 1930. They sold 160 acres of the Capitol grounds to help pay for the 2nd building. The second and present Capitol was completed in 1934, in the depths of the Great Depression.   They eliminated much of the exterior ornament from Holabird and Root's design. For instance, a Fifty-foot statue intended for the entry plaza in front of Memorial Hall was reduced to a simple obelisk and eventually was removed altogether. They also deleted the decorative etching from the cornice stones of the Legislative wing and from the metal panels between windows of the administrative tower. The abandonment of exterior embellishment does not deny the building's Art Deco roots; rather, that simplification links the building with the International Style, an architectural order which dominated commercial construction after World War II. North Dakota's Capitol was slightly under its $2 million dollar limit, has 80 percent usable space, it cost merely 46 cents  per cubic foot!  The Capitol Building is 241 feet and 8 inches in height. The WPA workers (Works Progress Administration), made .30 cents per hour and went on strike to get .50 cents. This is when the Capitol went under martial Law 6-1-33. Pictures of Old and new Capitol, WPA workers, Capitol under martial law.

At the present time the Capitol Complex is made up of 132 acres. In 1949 the area that is known as the Baptist Home was sold. The rest have been easements for water, and streets. The latest easement was in 2002 for the reconstruction of State Street, a section of land 15 feet X 3 feet of land by the State Office Building, to make the street wider.

Building Dimensions: The Legislative wing and Memorial Hall are 294 feet long, east-to-west; the tower has a total of 21 floors and is 241 feet and 8 inches high.

Judicial Wing of the State Capitol

The design began in May 1977, Construction began in April of 1979, agencies started moving in in December of 1980, total occupancy began October 1981. Size of the Judicial Wing is 168,400 square feet and the cost of this addition was $10,500,000. The Official Building Dedication was held on November 15, 1981 Governor Allen Olson and Former Governor Arthur A. Link were both part of the ceremony.

The design concept: To balance and connect the three brances of state government; executive, legislative, and judicial in the Capitol tower and wings.

Building dimensions: The Judicial Wing is 300 feet long, east-to-west; there is a four-story atrium with skylights at the east side entrance.

Statues and Monuments Located at Capitol Complex

President Bush Visits
In 1988 President George Herbert Walker Bush presented and dedicated an American Elm tree located near the Capitol steps in commemoration the state's Centennial in 1989.

Capitol Park
The corner of Divide and Fourth Street is called Capitol Park.

Myron Atkinson Park
Myron Atkinson Park is located to the east side of State Street, this is also part of the Capitol Complex. The park was leased by Bismarck Parks and Recreation Department and they took care of all maintenance from 1955 until July 1, 2007.

State Office Building
The building was built in 1955. After voter approval for a 8-mill tax levy for construction, Bismarck Junior College Building occupied the corner of Highway 83 and Boulevard until 1961. In 1959 the Legislative Assembly purchased the building. Currently the State Office Building houses the Water Commission. During the 1991-1993 biennium the building was totally remodeled and re-faced with an exterior that blended with other Capitol Complex Buildings. The State Office Building is the smallest facility housing state agencies on the Capitol Grounds it contains 28,838 square feet.

Department of Transportation 
State Highway Department was located in various buildings, from the original Capitol; the current State Capitol; and the old Bismarck Junior College Building; until it moved into its own building in 1968. The Highway Building houses the various division which make up the Department of Transportation and several additional departments of Government. The Highway Building was constructed with materials which harmonized visually with the pre-existing capitol grounds structures. The Department of Transportation Building contains 125,000 square feet of gross building area.

North Dakota Heritage Center
In 1963 planning for the North Dakota Heritage Center began. In 1981 the State Historical Society moved from the Liberty Memorial Building into its new Heritage Center quarters. This facility contains 130,000 square feet and provides both exhibit areas plus storage; meeting room; and office area for the State Historical Society. Link to ND Heritage Center web page.

Governor's Residence
Completed in 1960, the Governor's residence allowed the state's first family to move from the old residence on Fourth Street in Bismarck, onto the Capitol Grounds. Construction started June 1959 it was completed and the Davis family moved into the residence on March 18, 1960. The residence has over 10,000 square feet of floor space and consists of eighteen rooms. The residence is constructed with a centrally located kitchen which serves both the state and family areas. Landscaping the yard and planting of the lawn and shrubs was started in 1960 and completed in 1961 for approximatley $6,600.00

Liberty Memorial Building In 1919 the Legislative Assembly responding to an increase in the number of governmental agencies and authorized construction of the Liberty Memorial Building. In 1924 the building cost $350,000.00 it housed the State Historical Society Museum, the Adjutant General, the Library Commission, and the Supreme Court. Today the Liberty Memorial Building houses the State Library as well as a divison of Department of Public Instruction. The building is the oldest facility on the Capitol grounds and was totally renovated in 1982.

Arboretum Trail
In 1985 the Capitol arboretum trail was completed to wind around the Capitol grounds. This trail takes walkers past the 60 million years old petrified tree stump from the Amidon area, plus approximately 75 different species of trees and shrubs. The trail also passes statues and memorials which symbolize our state's history and heritage.

Capitol Grounds Prairie Trail
The North Dakota Capitol Grounds Native Prairie was dedicated to the beauty and resiliency of this prairie to reflect the strength and spirit of the North Dakota pioneer. The Native Prairie is registered as a North Dakota Natural area by the North Dakota Parks and Recreation department. The Native Prairie is located northeast of the Maintenance Building behind the shelter belt. Dedicated in June 1987. rairie.

Centennial Grove
In 1990 the North Dakota Forest Service placed a dedication plaque adjacent to the Arboretum Trail. This project was sponsored by North Dakota Forest Service; North Dakota Centennial Commission; and Centennial Decade Trees Committee. Dedicated by President George Bush as a living memorial symbolizing tree planting projects initiated in 1989 by North Dakota citizens to commemorate the 100th anniversary of statehood.  Centennial Grove was designed by the North Dakota Forest Service and is located on the southwest side of the Capitol grounds, directly north of the Governor's Residence. 

History of Facility Management

Did you Know?
Bismarck was known as the Missouri Crossing or some just called it The Crossing. A couple miles south of "The Crossing" was another town called Burleigh Town (which would also be within Bismarck). May 14, 1872 it was christened Edwinton until July 17, 1873 when it became Bismarck.
Burleigh County was organized during July 1873.
The first train arrived in Bismarck in July 1873
In 1898 there was a hugh fire on Main Street, everything between 3rd and 4th street was gone.
The oldest building in Bismarck is located at 101 West Main Avenue, Camp Hancock.
In 1881 the spring flood was so bad that large river boats were able to dock where Buck's is currently located on South 3 Street.
4th street was called "Murderer's Gulch"
The first automobile on the streets of Bismarck was in 1905.
The first paved road went from Mandan through Bismarck to the penitentiary in 1911.