Raleigh: The State Capital Tour

The Raleigh State Capital was built from 1833 to 1840. While it is one of the smallest state capitals it was built solely by hand with workers making a wage of $2 a day.

In its foyer is a statute of George Washington with an interesting history. Thomas Jefferson was asked who should develop a statute for their capital. He gave them them the name of an Italian, Antonio Canova. Once the statute arrived and was uncrated citizens were aghast at what Canova had done. Washington was depicted as a Roman general. However, the statute remains and even when destroyed by fire it was recreated.

Above the statute is the State Capital Rotunda.

Then there is the legislative chamber where North Carolina succeeded from the Union. The docent stated most citizens were mixed on this decision and when the vote came a handkerchief was dropped from the chamber window to notify citizens.

On the upper floors are two interesting areas.

The State Library


The State Geologist Office..


Lillian Exum Clement

While North Carolina did not ratify the 19th Amendment, (which gave woman the right to vote), till 1971, they did have the first woman to serve in a legislature in the South.

Lillian Exum Clement was 26 when she was elected in a landslide in 1920, 10,368 to 41. She was of the Democratic Party and prior to her election she worked as a lawyer without male partners. During her term she fought for women’s rights and passed a law to shorten the waiting time for abandoned women to divorce. Upon her marriage she left the legislature and sadly in 1924 died of pneumonia.

And another story of female grit as relayed by our male docent..

In the town of Edenton, North Carolina, in 1774 there was an Edenton Tea Party. This is known as the first organized political function by females. Here 52 ladies got together and stopped drinking tea as a response to our treatment by the British.


While the governor still has his office in the State Capitol, the legislature needed more space. In 1960 a building modeled after the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. was built.

And not far from here is another historic spot… The Governor’s Mansion.

Next, a little bluegrass…