The Resource Capitol Square data : records

Capitol Square data : records

Capitol Square data : records, 1776-1971,
Capitol Square data
Title remainder
Inclusive dates
  • These records are part of Auditor of Public Accounts (RG# 48). Administration of State Government: State-Owned Property - Capitol Square
  • The Capitol Square Data Records are arranged in four series. Series have been designated for Buildings, Grounds, Statues, and the Superintendent of Public Buildings. These records represent an artificial collection of documents compiled from the Auditor of Public Accounts, Governor's Office, General Assembly, Land Office, and other state agencies. Even though the collection was gathered from various state records, it is considered part of the Auditor of Public Accounts (APA# 655) since most of the records originate from this agency. Note that not all documents relevant to Capitol Square, especially late 19th and 20th century records, are located in this collection. Researchers should consult the records of other state agencies for additional resources related to Capitol Square
  • The Capitol Square Data began as six volumes of documents transcribed by Virginia W. Gibbon under the direction of the Archives Division of the Virginia State Library between 1931 and 1932. These volumes were created for W.W. Savedge, Superintendent of the Division of Grounds and Buildings, and contain transcriptions from numerous sources including Journals of the House of Delegates, Hening's Statutes, Executive Papers, Executive Communications, Enrolled Bills, newspapers, magazines, and various manuscripts "on file in the Archive Dept. of the Virginia State Library." Note that some, but not all, of these manuscripts can be found among the Capitol Square Data Records. Volumes were created for the Capitol Building (vol. 1), Grounds, Property Acquisition, Placing of Buildings, etc. (vol. 2), Statues (vol. 3), Bell Tower, et al. (vol. 4), State Office Building, et al. (vol. 5), and the Governor's Mansion (vol. 6). The series designations used in the current rearrangement of the Capitol Square Data Records are based on these volumes with volumes 1, 4, 5, & 6 representing Series I: Buildings, volume 2 as Series II: Grounds, volume 3 as Series III: Statues, and a fourth series devoted to Superintendent of Public Buildings records
  • In 1959, Marvin D. Evans prepared a partial inventory of sources in the Archives Division pertaining to Capitol Square. Evans' inventory includes a bibliography of archival sources from the Calendar of Transcripts (1905) and manuscripts deposited by the State Auditor in 1914 (Auditor Items 137 & 203). His inventory consists of 20 boxes of archival material which were divided into General Sources (Boxes 1-11), Governor's Mansion (Boxes 12-15), Washington Monument (Boxes 16-19), Capitol Building (Plans, 1858 & 1904-1905), State Office Building (Plans, 1923), Finance Building (Acc.# 24811a), & Houdon Statue of Washington (Box 20). The General Sources have been reassigned to Series I through IV in this finding aid. The Governor's Mansion records are located in Series I: Buildings, Subseries B, Governor's Mansion. Items related to the Washington Monument will be arranged as a separate collection since they are considered part of the Washington Monument Fund and given a distinct entry in the Auditor of Public Accounts Inventory (APA# 668). The Governor's Office, Capitol Building, & State Office Building plans can be found with the Architectural Drawings and Plans Collection. Finally, the Finance Building materials contain Construction Records for the Old State Library Building, 1892-1896, and are considered part of the Treasurer's Office (See Acc.# 24811a)
Agency history record describes the history and functions of the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (1776-1928). (Search Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (1776-1928) as author).
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  • Accessioned
  • Described
Additional physical form
Capitol Square Data, volumes 1-6, also available on microfilm (Misc. Reel 280).
Biographical or historical data
  • Capitol Square in Richmond, Virginia, originated from an act of the General Assembly passed in May 1779 for the removal of the seat of government from Williamsburg to Richmond. This act also provided that five Directors of Public Buildings be appointed to procure six squares in Richmond for a Capitol Building, Hall of Justice, Governor's House, Executive Boards, and Public Market. The first five Directors of Public Buildings included James Buchanan, Archibald Cary, Robert Goode, Robert Carter Nicholas, and Turner Southall. In May 1780, an act was passed choosing Shockoe Hill as the location for these buildings and adding four additional Directors: Richard Adams, Samuel DuVal, Thomas Jefferson, and Edmund Randolph.
  • An act passed in October 1784 authorized the Directors to provide a single building to house the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government. The Directors asked Jefferson in 1785 to submit a plan for the Capitol. Jefferson, serving as minister to France, chose the Maison Carrée in Nîsmes, France, as a model and had drawings made by the French architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau and a plaster model sent to Virginia. The cornerstone for the Capitol was laid on 18 August 1785 and the General Assembly held its first session in the building on 20 October 1788. Samuel Dobie, Surveyor of Public Buildings, superintended the construction which continued until 1798. Slight alterations and repairs occurred over the years, especially by Orris Paine as Superintendent of Public Improvements in 1816. Repairs were also necessary following a tragic event on 27 April 1870, when sixty-two people died as the ceiling collapsed during a session of the Court of Appeals. The most significant alterations in the Capitol Building, however, occurred on 1 August 1904, when the east and west wings were added to the original structure.
  • Another significant milestone for Capitol Square occurred when an act passed on 13 February 1811 authorizing the construction of a Governor's house. Prior to this act, a house owned by Thomas Turpin was rented for the use of the governor in 1780 near the corner of Broad and Governor streets. Shortly thereafter, a four-room house was eventually purchased from James Marsden and served as the executive's residence until the present structure was built and occupied by Governor James Barbour in March 1813. Christopher Tompkins served as undertaker or contractor for the construction of the house based on plans purchased by a Boston architect named Alexander Parris.
  • In addition to the Capitol Building and Governor's Mansion, several other buildings were constructed in Capitol Square over the years. In 1816, James Warrell received permission to build a Museum on the southeastern portion of the square. A Bell Tower, which housed the Public Guard, was erected in 1824 by Levi Swain. A State Courthouse was added around 1847 to house the Court of Appeals, General Court, and Superior Court of Chancery. Other buildings constructed on Capitol Square include the Finance Building (formerly the State Library Building) (1893-1894), the State Office Building (1923-1924), and the Library - Supreme Court Building (1939-1940).
Cataloging source
Citation location within source
entry no. 655
Citation source
Auditor of Public Accounts inventory
Capitol Square data : records
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Finding Aid
Immediate source of acquisition
Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts (1776-1928). Capitol Square data, records, 1776-1971 (bulk 1785-1850),
Type of unit
cu. ft.



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Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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