The Colorado State Capitol Building is probably one of the most unique state capitol buildings in the country. This golden-domed building is one of the prominent features in Denver’s skyline. Not only is it a hub for all things government, but it also serves as a sort of museum to Colorado history.
The building’s unique color comes from its unique materials. It is constructed from rose onyx (also known as Beulah red marble). This stone is so rare, all known reserves were used in the capitol building’s construction. The rose onyx was quarried in the town of Beulah, Colorado.
And then there’s the building’s signature dome. It was originally constructed from copper, but the materials were swapped out for gold in 1908 due to the copper’s tendency to oxidize and dull the shine considerably. The gold color is to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush and the brave pioneers and miners who helped build Colorado. Three reapplications of the Colorado gold leaf occurred between 1908 and 1980 — the newest golden shine now comes from 65 ounces of .999 pure gold that was mined in Colorado, hammered into gold leaf in Florence, Italy, and applied in 2013.
The building also features the famous mile-high step on the western entrance. However, this is not the true one-mile marker. The inscription was made based on measuring techniques from 1909, by students of the University of Denver, which are not accurate by today’s standards. Regardless, the step remains, and makes for a must-see if you choose to visit the capitol.
Free historical tours of the capitol building are offered 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Friday. Walk-ins are welcome, and reservations are required only if you are planning to tour the building with 10 or more members, are part of a senior citizen group, school, day-care center or have a disability.