Located in Carson City at 101 North Carson Street, the Nevada State Capitol is the official capitol building of the state of Nevada. Constructed between the years 1869 and 1871, this magnificent building was built in the Neoclassical Italianate style. It holds significant historical value and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as being recognized as Nevada Historical Marker number 25.

Abraham Curry, the founder of Carson City, had the foresight to set aside a sizable portion of land equivalent to four city blocks for the future state capitol. This strategic decision led to the Capitol building being naturally situated on what was known as “the plaza”, an area that had been designated specifically for this purpose almost a decade before its construction. In Mark Twain’s book, Roughing It, he described the capitol site in 1861 as a vast, open space with a liberty pole, which served as a gathering place for public auctions, horse trades, mass meetings, and a camping spot for teamsters.

The Nevada Legislature took action in 1869 by passing the “act to provide for the erection of a State Capitol”, which was later signed into law by Governor Henry G. Blasdel. The Board of Capitol Commissioners assessed the construction bids and ultimately awarded the project to Peter Cavanaugh and Son of Carson City, whose bid of $84,000 was the lowest. A budget of $100,000 was allocated for the construction, with funding derived from a special tax levy and the proceeds from the sale of public land. To keep costs down, the building’s sandstone was obtained free of charge from the nearby Nevada State Prison quarry.

Despite these efforts, the actual construction costs rose significantly to approximately $170,000, surpassing even the highest bid. On June 9, 1870, the cornerstone of the Capitol building was laid, and within it, a brass box was placed as a time capsule. This cornerstone, made of solid sandstone, was laid atop other blocks that contained the time capsule. During the reconstruction period from 1979 to 1981, the capsule was carefully examined and returned to its original location in the northeast corner of the building.

By the beginning of 1871, the fourth session of the state legislature was held in the still-incomplete building. However, construction was ultimately finished by May 1, 1871. Notably, several of the original architect’s drawings have been preserved and can now be found in the state archives.

Nevada State Capitol
101 N. Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
(775) 684-5670