Capitol honored as National Historic Landmark

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Kathleen Bond, superintendent of the Natchez National Historical Park, stands along side the plaque unveiled Thursday that designates the Mississippi Capitol as a national historic landmark.

The U.S. Department of Interior on Thursday unveiled a marker designating the Mississippi State Capitol as a National Historic Landmark, one of about 2,500 in the nation.

The designation, first announced in 2016 and celebrated by state leaders on Thursday, honors the building’s architectural significance. More than 25,000 visitors from around the world visit the Capitol each year, according to the Department of Archives and History.

“Walking into the Capitol every day, I am always impressed by the beauty of the architecture and the significance of the history within the walls of this structure,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said when the designation was announced. “This designation ensures this beautiful building, and all of the history contained within, will be preserved for future Mississippians to enjoy.”

The building, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1969, is now eligible to receive federal funds if it is damaged in a federal disaster.

The Capitol was designed in 1900 by St. Louis architect Theodore Link, according to a press release from the offices of Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn. It was built in the style of Beaux Arts Classicism, which “tried to integrate the arts into classical buildings, including sculpture, stained glass, and mosaic marble floors, as seen at the State Capitol.”

The building took two years to build at a cost of $1 million. It was funded through a tax lawsuit settlement with Illinois Central Railroad, the press release said.

“The Mississippi Capitol is one of the most beautiful in the country,” Gunn said. “I am in awe of its beauty and proud to come to work here each day.”

The building was renovated in the early 1980s. The Legislature returned to the building for the first time in the December 1982 special session called by Gov. William Winter to advance education reforms.