NJ State House Tours

NJ  State House Tours The New Jersey State House, built in 1792, is home to New Jersey's Legislative and Executive branche A bell-tower was situated in the center of the roof.

The New Jersey State House was originally built in 1792 by Jonathan Doane. The site was approximately 3.75 acres and cost 250 English pounds, which is about $400 today. The building was two and one-half stories high and consisted of seven bays radiating off a center hall. The legislative chambers were located on the first floor– Senate (then the Legislative Council) in the west and General Assembl

y in the east. The Governor’s and judicial offices occupied the second floor. State government grew steadily for many decades while the State House remained unaltered. Then, in 1845, a major addition was constructed under the direction of John Notman, a well-known Philadelphia architect. He created a one, two and three-story stepped office wing on the north side of the original building, facing what is now State Street. The new entrance had a two-story porch and six fluted Doric columns. A grand rotunda with a stairhall connected the old and new wings. This area was capped by a spherical dome and cupola. A two-story portico with pairs of Corinthian columns and a classical pediment was added to the river-side facade. In 1865, the river-side portico was extended 68 feet. Another major building campaign began in 1871, when Samuel Sloan, also a Philadelphia architect, was commissioned to modify the northern State Street wing and design new wings for both legislative houses. These two wings flanked the 1865 southern extension. While little detail is known for certain about the final structure, it is believed that the new wings both contained a two-and-one-half-story chamber surrounded by a gallery, offices and caucus rooms. The old Senate chamber was modified to accommodate the Governor’s office, while additional offices were created
in the former Assembly chamber. Early in the morning of March 21, 1885, a fire broke out and raced through the empty building, totally destroying the State Street wing. Lewis Broome of Jersey City was selected to plan the reconstruction. He designed the building in a simplified Second Empire style with three stories and limestone facing. He also added a new rotunda and dome that were more proportional to the scale of the building. Twenty years after Sloan’s new Assembly wing was erected, it was replaced by a larger wing of late Victorian style. James Moylan, an Assemblyman, was the architect. Due to space limitations, Moylan decided to rotate the wing so that it paralleled the building’s center wing. Accompanying this work was an addition to the west end of the original 1792 structure, which created private offices for the Governor and judges. A third floor was also added to the south end of the center wing. In 1900, the wing was extended 95 feet, ending at the edge of a water power canal, known as the Sanhican Creek. The addition was designed by the architectural firm of Karr, Poole and Lum. George Poole, one of the firm’s principals, was also an Assemblyman. In 1903, under the direction of Merchantville architect Arnold Moses, the Senate wing was reconstructed in American Renaissance style to mirror the Assembly quarters. The wing was enlarged using classical forms and rich materials, particularly in the decorative interior and exterior treatments. The original 1792 east wing was replaced with a four-story office section in 1906. The front area was extended on the east side in 1911. Similar work was done on the front west side the next year. In the decades following, no major structural changes occurred, aside from the modernization of the main corridor in the late 1950’s. The effort of all these years was nearly lost in the 1960’s when a master plan called for the demolition of almost the entire building. Luckily, the plan was never executed. With today’s new respect for historic buildings, the focus has turned to preserving and restoring the structure. This is evidenced by the on-going efforts to restore the building to the grandeur of its former years. A long renovation project began in 1987, which addressed structural, mechanical and electrical deficiencies in the State House, restored the legislative portion of the building and added legislative office space, known as the South Addition. Next, the State House Annex was renovated and a pedestrian tunnel and multi-level parking garage constructed. A public-private partnership allowed for the golden dome and interior rotunda space to be refurbished. A Welcome Center, cafeteria and landscaped "Plaza" are the most recent improvements. Today, the New Jersey State House is a building all residents can be proud of. Visitors are encouraged to tour the building and learn more about its historical past. As home of our state democratic process, it will continue to serve the citizens of New Jersey as they come to participate in the shaping of public policy.

Happy Assistance Dog Day! Did you know that all Seeing Eye® dogs are born and trained in New Jersey? For more than ninet...
08/04/2023

Happy Assistance Dog Day! Did you know that all Seeing Eye® dogs are born and trained in New Jersey? For more than ninety years, the Morristown-based guide dog school has pioneered the effort to pair guide dogs with blind individuals. A bill to approve the Seeing Eye® dog as New Jersey’s official state dog was introduced July 2018, and passed unanimously in the Senate and General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Murphy in January 2020!

There’s no question that New Jersey makes the best bagels. New Yorkers will point out NYC’s high concentration of bagel ...
07/26/2023

There’s no question that New Jersey makes the best bagels. New Yorkers will point out NYC’s high concentration of bagel shops, but here in Jersey we know that the chewiest, airiest, fluffiest bagels are found in family-owned shops in small towns, or tucked away in unassuming shopping centers, or situated down random exits off Route 1. There’s a science to it, according to Dr. Takhistov, professor of Food Engineering at Rutgers University, who told Jersey’s Best in 2020 that “grabbing a Jersey bagel is something special.” What’s your favorite bagel place? Let us know in the comments!

We can't help but be a competitive state as its part of our history. Did you know Jersey hosted the first intercollegiat...
07/07/2023

We can't help but be a competitive state as its part of our history. Did you know Jersey hosted the first intercollegiate basketball game? We're always ready to compete, so grab some popcorn and your foam finger, 'cause you’re in Jersey.

Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, The Four Seasons, The Fugees, My Chemical Romance, Lauryn H...
07/06/2023

Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, The Four Seasons, The Fugees, My Chemical Romance, Lauryn Hill, Halsey, The Gaslight Anthem, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Kool & the Gang, Patti Smith, The Misfits, Wyclef Jean, The Smithereens, The Sugarhill Gang, SZA, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Naughty by Nature.
We may march it the beat if our own 808, but let's face it, New Jersey-born musicians have had a major influence of American music. So turn the radio up for that sweet sound and get ready to dance with somebody, 'casue you're in Jersey.

The Garden State is an ecological wonder that includes 127 miles Atlantic coastline, 1.1 million acres of Pine Barren fo...
07/05/2023

The Garden State is an ecological wonder that includes 127 miles Atlantic coastline, 1.1 million acres of Pine Barren forest, 72 miles of Appalachian Trail, and over 1,700 lakes. So get outside and enjoy the view, 'cause you're in Jersey.

Whether you’re grabbing a booth at the local diner, standing in line at a grease truck, or unwrapping your favorite flav...
07/04/2023

Whether you’re grabbing a booth at the local diner, standing in line at a grease truck, or unwrapping your favorite flavor of salt water taffy, Jersey’s food is guaranteed to satisfy. So order a tomato pie with a side of disco fries, and get excited, 'cause you're in Jersey.

07/04/2023

It’s the week we have been waiting for! The week when you have no choice but to accept the awesomeness of New Jersey. It...
07/03/2023

It’s the week we have been waiting for! The week when you have no choice but to accept the awesomeness of New Jersey. It is Be Nice to Jersey Week! From food to history, we will be highlighting the grandeur of the Garden State all week long.

On June 24, 1664, James, Duke of York, granted Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, ownership of a swath of land betwe...
06/24/2023

On June 24, 1664, James, Duke of York, granted Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, ownership of a swath of land between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers. The charter referred to these lands as “New Jersey” in honor of Carteret’s defense of the English Channel island of Jersey during the English Civil War.
That same morning a quick meal was prepared to energize Lord Berkeley and Sir Carteret… and thus the “Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese” was born.

The New Jersey State Shell / The Knobbed WhelkNew Jersey’s State Shell, the knobbed whelk, can be found along our beache...
06/21/2023

The New Jersey State Shell / The Knobbed Whelk
New Jersey’s State Shell, the knobbed whelk, can be found along our beaches and bays. Its scientific name is Busycon carica gmelin. This large marine snail with a spiral shell is harvested and canned for food. It is also known by its Italian name, scungilli. The knobbed whelk became the State Shell in 1995.

The New Jersey State Bug | The HoneybeeOur State Bug, the honeybee, serves all of us very well. It makes honey for sweet...
06/20/2023

The New Jersey State Bug | The Honeybee
Our State Bug, the honeybee, serves all of us very well. It makes honey for sweetening our meals and beeswax to smooth. Honeybees also pollinate our flowers, fruit trees and vegetable blossoms. A group of New Jersey school children persuaded the Legislature to designate the honeybee as the State bug. Then they all watched as the Governor signed the bill into law in 1974. Now isn’t that a honey of a tale?

The storied history of Juneteenth begins with the landing of Major General Gordon Granger at Galveston, Texas, on⁠June 1...
06/19/2023

The storied history of Juneteenth begins with the landing of Major General Gordon Granger at Galveston, Texas, on⁠
June 19, 1865, to deliver tidings of the Civil War’s end and to read aloud General Order No. 3, which stated that all enslaved⁠
people were free, a noted two and a half years after the adoption of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Today, on the 158th Anniversary of Juneteenth we hope to play a role in ensuring the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten. For more information about Juneteenth and the legal history of slavery in New Jersey visit:
https://slavery.princeton.edu/stories/legislating-slavery-in-new-jersey

For 21 years, David N. April has served the New Jersey Legislature as the OLS Tour Program Coordinator. Today, we bid hi...
01/27/2023

For 21 years, David N. April has served the New Jersey Legislature as the OLS Tour Program Coordinator. Today, we bid him a very happy retirement & thank him not only for his service but for being the best supervisor his staff, could have asked for.

  in 1883 Roselle, NJ made history when State Inventor, Thomas Edison employed the first overhead electrical wiring syst...
01/19/2023

in 1883 Roselle, NJ made history when State Inventor, Thomas Edison employed the first overhead electrical wiring system in the Union County community. The experiment proved that electricity could be installed through shared & centralized generators.

  in 1878, Thomas Edison patented the speaking telegraph (telephone) in Italy. While Alexander Bell invented the telepho...
01/19/2023

in 1878, Thomas Edison patented the speaking telegraph (telephone) in Italy. While Alexander Bell invented the telephone first, it was Edison's carbon-button transmitter that made his patent unique. Carbon transmitters are still used in telephones today.

The New Jersey State House will be closed for tours on Friday, December 23rd due to inclement weather. We will reopen fo...
12/23/2022

The New Jersey State House will be closed for tours on Friday, December 23rd due to inclement weather. We will reopen for tours on Tuesday, December 27th.

It's bigger on the inside.⁠⁠⁠⁠
12/08/2022

It's bigger on the inside.⁠⁠⁠⁠

Great Scott! It's  .
12/08/2022

Great Scott! It's .

Governor Livingston, I presume.  Happy 299th Birthday to New Jersey's first Governor, William Livingston. 🎉
11/30/2022

Governor Livingston, I presume.

Happy 299th Birthday to New Jersey's first Governor, William Livingston. 🎉

  in 1788 William Paterson and Dr. Jonathan Elmer were elected by the New Jersey General Assembly and Legislative Counci...
11/25/2022

in 1788 William Paterson and Dr. Jonathan Elmer were elected by the New Jersey General Assembly and Legislative Council to serve as the first U.S. Senators from New Jersey.

The Turk of the General Assembly wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!
11/24/2022

The Turk of the General Assembly wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tonight, the State House complex shines bright in remembrance of Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass". On November...
11/10/2022

Tonight, the State House complex shines bright in remembrance of Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass". On November 9-10, 1938 N**i Gestapo agents initiated a wave of destruction aimed at Jews, Jewish synagogues, homes, and shops in almost every town and city in Germany. That night 119 synagogues burned, 7,500 Jewish shops and homes were destroyed or looted, and 72 people were killed or injured. Kristallnacht marked the initial round-up of 20,000 Jews into concentration camps, a dark precursor to the genocide of six million Jews in the years that followed.⁠

We will light up the night so that we will never forget. For more information visit: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/kristallnacht⁠⁠⁠

11/08/2022

The New Jersey State House is closed in observance of Election Day. The best way to comfort your disappointment over today's closing is to vote. It makes everyone happy!

Did you know that the Garden State produces more than 100 different types of fruits and vegetables, and is home to over ...
11/02/2022

Did you know that the Garden State produces more than 100 different types of fruits and vegetables, and is home to over 50 vineyards? New Jersey is a top ten producer of blueberries, cranberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, apples, spinach, squash, and asparagus. No wonder Lady Prosperity's cornucopia is overflowing! 🍅 🍑 🍎 🥒

Image 1: Produce carvings details in the State House Complex's Committee Room 12.
Image 2: Wall carving depicting the New Jersey State Seal in the State House Complex's Committee Room 12.

THEY'RE HERE!Happy Halloween from the New Jersey State House Tour Office!
10/31/2022

THEY'RE HERE!
Happy Halloween from the New Jersey State House Tour Office!

You look like you'd make a great volunteer tour guide!🧐 Honest! You should visit https://bit.ly/NJSHVolunteer to learn a...
10/13/2022

You look like you'd make a great volunteer tour guide!🧐 Honest! You should visit https://bit.ly/NJSHVolunteer to learn about volunteer opportunities at the New Jersey State House. Our next training session starts October 21st! Call Carol Rogers at 609-847-3150 or email [email protected] for details.

State House Tour Office volunteers are a diverse group of professionals, retired educators, business people, students and homemakers who share a love of history, an interest in government, and a desire to teach others about the State of New Jersey.

On September 11, 2001, nearly 700 New Jerseyans lost their lives. Today we join our state and country by remembering the...
09/11/2022

On September 11, 2001, nearly 700 New Jerseyans lost their lives. Today we join our state and country by remembering the lives lost too soon and honoring every American who was impacted by that horrible day.

We'll say it- we officially propose that the NJ State Seal be altered to include a unicorn instead of a horse.
08/31/2022

We'll say it- we officially propose that the NJ State Seal be altered to include a unicorn instead of a horse.

Visit today's Story and discover the accomplishments of New Jersey' first Governor, William Livingston, who was sworn in...
08/31/2022

Visit today's Story and discover the accomplishments of New Jersey' first Governor, William Livingston, who was sworn into office 246 years ago today.

08/24/2022

Falling plaster. It happens to the best of chambers from time to time.

This little ol' place made the list!
08/24/2022

This little ol' place made the list!

No matter what brings you to the Garden State, you'll find ample tours to help you learn about your surroundings. From a descent into a former mine to

07/26/2022

❤️❤️❤️

She's done her research, she has her book ready to be stamped, and she's on capitol number 37. She's our favorite type o...
07/22/2022

She's done her research, she has her book ready to be stamped, and she's on capitol number 37. She's our favorite type of visitor because she's the great and mighty Capitol Collector! ⁠⁠⁠⁠

Happy Independence Day! We will be closed for tours of the State House today.  To make a tour reservation for later this...
07/04/2022

Happy Independence Day!
We will be closed for tours of the State House today. To make a tour reservation for later this week please call 609-847-3150.

Image by Rich Hundley

  in 1664, James, the Duke of York, presented the release for the land between the Hudson & Delaware to Sir George Carte...
06/24/2022

in 1664, James, the Duke of York, presented the release for the land between the Hudson & Delaware to Sir George Carteret & Lord Berkeley of Stratton. The grant proclaimed “said Tract of Land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Cesarea or .”⁠

To find out more about this historic document visit: https://www.njlandrecords.org/who-were-the-east-and-west-jersey-proprietors/

The storied history of Juneteenth begins with the landing of Major General Gordon Granger at Galveston, Texas, on⁠June 1...
06/19/2022

The storied history of Juneteenth begins with the landing of Major General Gordon Granger at Galveston, Texas, on⁠
June 19, 1865, to deliver tidings of the Civil War’s end and to read aloud General Order No. 3, which stated that all enslaved⁠
people were free, a noted two and a half years after the adoption of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Today, on the 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth we hope to play a role in ensuring the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten. For more information about Juneteenth and the legal history of slavery in New Jersey visit:
https://slavery.princeton.edu/stories/legislating-slavery-in-new-jersey

NJ Law P.L.2020, C.76 states that the third Friday in June is recognized as Juneteenth. OLS offices will close tomorrow,...
06/16/2022

NJ Law P.L.2020, C.76 states that the third Friday in June is recognized as Juneteenth. OLS offices will close tomorrow, Friday, June 17th in observance and celebration of the final release of enslaved people on June 19, 1865. We will reopen on Monday, June 20th.

It's Flag Day! As we celebrate the creation of the stars & stripes, we took time this afternoon to visit the Civil War f...
06/14/2022

It's Flag Day! As we celebrate the creation of the stars & stripes, we took time this afternoon to visit the Civil War flag collection at . On March 29, 1871 the State Senate and General Assembly authorized the Quartermaster General to gather all of New Jersey's Civil War flags so that they could join the Civil War flags that had already been returned to the State and displayed on the State House. Three years after the State House fire of 1885 nearly destroyed the collection, the legislature called for the building of a fireproof room in the State House to store the flag collection. The collection was on display at the State House until the mid-1980s until it was transferred officially to the State Museum for care.

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