First Kentucky Capitol Building


First Kentucky Capitol Building


Before Kentucky received statehood on June 1, 1792, there were several buildings referred to as the capitol building. One of the earliest capitols was Fort Boonesborough in the late 1770s where the first unofficial Kentucky Legislature met. After that meeting, in 1780, the Virginia Legislature put its foot down and declared the Kentucky area was still Virginia territory. A century later, the Old Seminary in Danville, KY was thought to have been the first capitol building (pictured in the attached newspaper article). In spite of what the Virginia Legislature had decided, the first constitutional conventions were held in Danville, KY from 1785-1792, there was a push for Kentucky to separate from Virginia. When statehood was firmly established, the first official Kentucky Legislative session in 1792 declared the city of Frankfort, KY as the permanent capital city. Not everyone agreed. The following year, the Kentucky Legislature met in a frame house on Wapping Street in Frankfort. The first permanent capitol building was constructed in 1794 and it was destroyed by fire in 1813. There would be other temporary and permanent capitol buildings in Frankfort, and all the while there was the ongoing factions arguing for Lexington, Louisville, or Frankfort as the capital city. The arguing was to no avail concerning Lexington and Louisville, Frankfort remained the capital city. The present capitol building was completed in 1910 at 700 Capital Avenue in Frankfort, KY.

SPELLING NOTES: The city where the seat of government is located is spelled “capital.” A building occupied by the state legislature is spelled “capitol.”


Louisville Courier-Journal Print. Co.




1. “First capitol of Kentucky,” Louisville Courier-Journal, 1901-11-17, section 3, p.5.
2. “Kentucky’s Capitol Buildings” a Genealogy Trails. Accessed 2021-04-26.
3. “Capitol Facts” Kentucky Government Website. Accessed 2021-04-26.
4. Harrison, Lowell H., "Kentucky's Road to Statehood" (1992). United States History. 138.
5. Kentucky State Capitol Building today. Kentucky State Capitol, Wikipedia. Accessed 2021-04-26.


Reinette Jones, University of Kentucky Librarian & African American Studies Academic Liaison


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“First Kentucky Capitol Building,” Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program Exhibits, accessed March 25, 2023,

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