When Wilson Alexander Scott gifted the state of Iowa nine and a half acres in the late 1860’s, a position was selected, approval was granted and the architects began planning the Iowa State Capital building.
In the interim, a three-story brick building was used during the 15 years of construction (until it was destroyed by fire in 1904- started by a workman’s candle). Following the fire, efforts
were made to remodel and renovate what remained of the building including the addition of electrical wiring, elevators and telephones.
When the overall cost of the build was tallied upon completion, it vastly exceeded its original $1,500,000 budget, costing a total of $2,879,294- a huge sum for the time. Interestingly, up until the construction of the Equitable building in 1924- which stands 318 feet off the ground, the Iowa State Capitol Building was the tallest building both in Des Moines, and in the entire state.
By the early 80’s, the outside of the capitol building had deteriorated to such an extent that sandstone pieces had begun falling from the buildings. To counter these issues, steel
canopies were installed to prevent further erosion and to protect passing pedestrians. Beginning in Spring of 1983, the nine-phase refurbishment finally ended in 2001- costing a
grand total of $41 million.