Fun facts about the NJ State House you might not have known
When you think of New Jersey's historic State House, the first thing that probably comes to mind is corruption or taxes. No surprise, it's what we're used to in the Great Garden State.
But going beyond the politics that occupy the building, New Jersey's State House actually has quite an interesting history. In fact, did you know that the gold dome we all associate the state house with wasn't part of the original building?
Not only that, but the cost of the State House was also fairly low to construct. And when we say low, we mean low. Picture building a house today for dirt cheap.
Now sure, inflation has caught up with us big time since the original building was constructed. But even still, when you compare it to the cost of its recent renovations the contrast is striking.
Here's a look at just a few moments in the history of the second oldest State House still in operation today. And just for fun, we'll start with more recent moments and work our way back to the beginning.
The New Jersey State House today
New Jersey's State House is the second oldest still in operation today, with the oldest being in Maryland.
The State House is located in Trenton, NJ, and it's where our elected state officials do business. The building is easily identifiable by the large gold dome atop the building.
Interestingly, the gold dome wasn't always part of the original building.
The 2017 renovation
Beginning in 2017, The New Jersey State House began to undergo a major renovation.
The primary focus of this renovation included updating the entire building, with a focus involving the area of the governor's office. Areas related to the executive branch were also included.
The renovation came with a price tag of $300 Million. Your tax dollars at work.
The 1996 dome renovation
In 1996, the New Jersey State House began renovations of its golden dome.
That project wasn't completed until 1999, but was no simple job. According to nj.gov, "The dome is covered with 48,000 pieces of gold leaf."
They go on to say, "Each piece of gold leaf cost $1.00 and was paid for with money raised by New Jersey school kids through the 'Dimes for the Dome' program."
The 1950 touch-ups
Up to the 1996 dome renovation project, the State House sat mostly untouched in terms of upgrades.
Prior to that, the most recent upgrades date back to the 1950s. The main area of the State House was updated then, but not much more has been done afterward.
The 1889 repairs
In 1889, plans began to take place for new construction. According to nj.gov, "The rotunda and a new 145-foot dome were built."
The repairs were in response to a fire that destroyed huge portions of the building, including the area where the dome is located today. That fire occurred in 1885.
Before the 1885 fire
Prior to the fire, plans to expand the State House began in 1845.
The reason for the expansion was in response to the need for more space for New Jersey's elected officials. Renovations were again done later on in 1872 with new chambers being constructed.
The beginnings of the State House
According to nj.gov, "the original State House cost only $400 to construct. Architect Jonathan Doane designed the building, and it was completed in 1792."
Also, there was no gold dome at first, but rather a bell tower. The building was also significantly smaller than what it is today, but history from the early days is still alive and well within the State House walls, through art and more.
A look at the State House Annex
The State House Annex once housed the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Court of Chancery, and the Court of Errors and Appeals. That was all established in 1931.
One notable case that the Supreme Court heard at the State House Annex was the 1975 case of Karen Ann Quinlan. According to njstatehousetours.org, the "historic ruling allows families to decide to end life-sustaining medical treatments if patients are unable to express their own decision."
Years earlier, the museum at the State House annex opened to the public on October 29, 1929. Coincidentally, that was the same day as the U.S. stock market crash that ultimately led to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Construction of the New Jersey State House Annex began in 1927.
More history, including tours
Tours of the New Jersey State House are available to the public, where you can learn more about the rich history of this historic building.
LOOK: Average salary needed to get by in every U.S. state
Gallery Credit: Mike Brant
Which NJ college campuses have more women than men?
Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt