All Ohioans can benefit from a visit to the Capitol Square complex in downtown Columbus, a place where history and the present meet. Set against the backdrop of the city, not far the Scioto River, the complex includes the Ohio Statehouse, Senate Building, and Atrium – magnificent monuments to the people and the period during which Ohio’s democracy was founded and formed.
It is also less than an hour from Galion.
The Ohio Statehouse is, of course, the state capitol building and seat of government for Ohio. Built between 1839 and 1861, it’s one of the oldest working statehouses in the United States. The Ohio General Assembly, as well as the ceremonial offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, state treasurer, and state auditor all call this place home. Its history traces back to the early 19th century, when Columbus was chosen as the new capital city to make it more accessible. After much debate, the Ohio General Assembly created a new capital city on the “High Banks opposite Franklinton at the Forks of the Scioto most known as Wolf’s Ridge” on February 14, 1812. Just a week later, Columbus was selected as the name of the new town.
The buildings aren’t just for show – they’re working government offices, and visitors can enter on weekdays at Third Street, State Street, or the South sliding doors in the underground parking garage on the Green Level. On weekends, visitors may enter at Third Street or the South sliding doors in the underground parking garage. Importantly, the Statehouse is both handicapped accessible and senior friendly, making it a place everyone can visit.
Free guided tours are offered daily with walk-in tours starting on the hour from 10 AM to 3 PM on weekdays and from 12 Noon to 3 PM on weekends. The tours depart from the easily accessible Map Room, located near the Third Street entrance. It’s recommended that you drop in at least five minutes before the hour.
While a group of nine or fewer is not required to schedule a tour in advance and can join any hourly tour, groups of 10 or more are required to call two weeks in advance to assure a guide is available. If there are any specific accommodations needed for your group, even if it is fewer than 10 people, they urge you to call to schedule a tour so they can provide the best possible experience.
The beauty of the Statehouse, its accessibility, and captivating tours it offers make it a must-visit for anyone in or visiting Ohio.