Architecture, Government, the United States, Travel, and Photography

Theme-based Travel Photography — U.S. State Capitols

State capitol buildings can serve as gateways to history

Randy Runtsch
8 min readSep 22, 2022
The state capitol of Minnesota as viewed from the grounds of the Cathedral of Saint Paul. © 2022 Randy Runtsch.

Sometimes, I assign long-term photography projects to myself. For example, five years ago, I decided to combine two favorite hobbies, bicycle touring and photography, as part of a multi-year project to photograph every bridge that crosses the Mississippi River, which is 2,340 miles (3,770 km) long. I rode the first leg of the tour in May 2018. It covered 580 miles of roads near the river in Minnesota, from its headwaters in Itasca State Park, to Frontenac State Park. But I aborted the mission because most of the bridges were simple concrete structures with little photographic or design interest. Frankly, all but of a few of the bridges were boring subjects.

Scenes, including the author and his bike, from the now defunct Mississippi River Bridges Bicycle Tour travel photo project. © 2022 Randy Runtsch.

However, about fifteen years ago, on a family vacation to visit sites related to Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, I started a travel photography project that is still active. Its goal is to photograph the capitol buildings in all of the capital cities in the fifty United States.

The state capitol photography project is slow-going, but remains active. In the past week, I added the State Capitol of Nebraska in Lincoln to the collection.

You might ask why I would endeavor to photograph capitol buildings in all 50 states. There are many reasons, such as interests in architecture, history, travel, geography, government, and art. Also, capitol buildings, sometimes called statehouses, are one type of structure that all states have in common.

The following sections share photos and information about nine current capitol buildings. The Illinois section also features the Old State Capitol in Springfield.




Randy Runtsch

Writer | Photographer | Outdoor Lover | Adventure Cyclist | Business Owner | Data Analyst | Software Developer