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
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 Governors office,
while additional offices were created in the former
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 Sloans 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
buildings 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 firms principals, was also an
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 1950s.
The effort of all these years was nearly
lost in the 1960s when a master plan called for
the demolition of almost the entire building. Luckily,
the plan was never executed. With todays 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
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