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Board of State House Commissioners - RG 511 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Board of State House Commissioners - RG 511
Variant Name: Board of State House Commissioners (First Springfield State House)

Historical Note:

Under an "Act to permanently locate a seat of government for the State of Illinois," the General Assembly met in joint session on February 28, 1837 to vote on the site for a permanent state capital (L. 1837, p. 321). The selection was contingent upon the donation from citizens of the designated city of at least two acres of land for a public square and $50,000 to be used for construction of a State House. Springfield received a majority of the members' votes and its citizens agreed to make the required land and monetary donations. The donations were accepted and the new state capital was officially designated by an act of March 3, 1837 (L. 1837, p. 322).

Under the same act three individuals were appointed to serve as commissioners to supervise the construction of the first Springfield State House. Financial difficulties arose, however, and the commissioners were dismissed by the General Assembly in 1841; the Auditor of Public Accounts, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer then were appointed to audit and adjust the former commissioners' accounts (L. 1841, pp. 31, 301). All arrearages were to be reported to the Attorney General who was authorized to bring suit against any of the commissioners whose accounts were found delinquent (L. 1841, p. 300).

The State Treasurer also was authorized to take possession of all building materials and the Auditor of Public Accounts was to receive all the commissioners' books, papers, maps, charts, and vouchers. The Treasurer and Secretary of State assumed responsibility for supervising completion of the building and an additional appropriation was made for that purpose (L. 1841, p. 302). The legislature made further appropriations for completing the State House in every biennium over 1843-1851 (L. 1843, pp. 289, 290; L. 1845, p. 197; L. 1847, p. 8; L. 1849, p. 184; L. 1851, p. 198). The 1847 act also named the Governor, Auditor of Public Accounts, and State Treasurer as commissioners to superintend completion of the building.

Additional appropriations for renovation and repairs were made until the construction of a new State House in Springfield was authorized in 1867 (L. 1867, p. 162). The existing State House and public square were sold to Sangamon County which remodeled the building for use as a county courthouse. It was owned by the county until repurchased by the state in 1961 for restoration as a state historic landmark (L. 1961, p. 3873).

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