Needs Of A Modest But Growing State Government

Mar 5, 2014

During the 1880s, extensive repairs and remodeling addressed various problems of the State House.

Even the longstanding overcrowding improved a little after a combination of legislative pressure and legal actions succeeded in finally evicting Pulaski County government from the State House’s east wing by 1884.

The next year, the Legislature allotted 30,000 dollars for a wholesale renovation of the whole building. The work included extending the building fifty feet to the north and connecting the east and west wings to the central structure with permanent two-story additions, plus adding new skylights, major roof repairs and a steam heating system.

These changes were welcome but, even with the expansion, there was not enough room for the needs of the modest but growing state government.

In 1891, the Secretary of State’s report noted that books in the state library were double-stacked on its shelves, the damp cellar was filled with state publications and records and two of the state’s five Supreme Court justices as yet had no permanent chambers in the building.