Missouri State Archives
Capitol Construction Photographs
In 1913, workers broke ground for the construction of the current capitol in Jefferson City. Local photographer, Thomas Garfield Cooper (1882-1950) photographed the construction process using a glass-plate camera. Cooper painstakingly carried the cumbersome equipment to the top of the Missouri Supreme Court building in order to photograph the construction progress. He also photographed the construction of the capitol power house, located to the west of the capitol.
Of the 127 photographs in this collection, 124 were taken by Cooper. Two severely damaged photographs of the plaster architectural model of the capitol are the work of New York photographers Frances Benjamin Johnston and Mattie Edwards Hewitt. A single photograph by another local photographer, Peter Herman Rackers, illustrates the removal of the columns of the destroyed capitol.
The current capitol is the sixth capitol in Missouri history and the third in Jefferson City. St. Louis and St. Charles previously held the seat of government until it was decided the capitol should be located in a central part of the state. The first Capitol in Jefferson City (the fourth capitol in Missouri's history) burned in 1837. The second Jefferson City capitol building was struck by lightning and burned on February 5, 1911.