Located in downtown, Capitol Square holds as its centerpiece the Virginia State Capitol.
The Capitol has hosted the Virginia General Assembly, the oldest legislature continuously operating in the Western Hemisphere, since 1788.
Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Capitol was the first public building in the “New World” constructed in the monumental classical style.
The Capitol has been the seat of many major historical developments. Attorney and orator Patrick Henry argued important cases there, and America's oldest English-speaking representative assembly has met there since 1788. This assembly ratified the U.S. Bill of Rights in December 1791, which then went into effect throughout the nation. In 1807, the "Great Chief Justice" John Marshall presided over the treason trial of Aaron Burr in the Capitol.
The Executive Mansion is located just east of the Capitol, in Capitol Square. Many presidents and foreign dignitaries have been entertained there, and it is the oldest governor's mansion in the U.S. still being used for its original purposes.
A collection of more than 130 paintings and statues honoring distinguished Americans can be found in the square, as well as in the Capitol, Executive Mansion and other nearby public buildings. These include the George Washington equestrian monument on Capitol Square, located just west of the Capitol, which also features statues of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall.
On the grounds north of the Capitol are bronze statues of former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. and Confederate Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, among others.
In the southwest corner of the square near the Bell Tower is a seated statue of writer Edgar Allan Poe, who grew up in Richmond and returned years later to edit The Southern Literary Messenger.
For more information about the Capitol Building, visit www.virginiacapitol.gov.