Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

N of Belmont off U.S. 151

National or State Register of Historic Places
N of Belmont off U.S. 151 | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:First Capitol
Reference Number:70000036
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):N of Belmont off U.S. 151
County:Lafayette
City/Village:
Township:Belmont
SUMMARY
First Capitol
CTH G, Town of Belmont, Lafayette County
Date of construction: 1836

The Wisconsin Territory was created by an act of Congress in April 1836; it took effect on July 3rd of the same year. The vast boundaries of this new territory included the future states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota.

The elected territorial legislature met near present day Belmont, a site selected by Governor Dodge because of its geographical location and because of the population density of southwestern Wisconsin during the period. During the summer several buildings were constructed to provide a meeting place for the first territorial legislature. One of these buildings was the First Capitol. It is a simple, two-story, wood building constructed of timber purchased in Pittsburgh, pre-cut, then transported by both boat and wagon to its current location.

The Territorial legislature met here for only one session, from 25 October to 9 December 1836. During their stay here, the early lawmakers enacted 42 laws and established a judicial system. After a long debate, the legislature decided that Madison would be the permanent seat of government for Wisconsin and that Burlington, Iowa would be the site of the legislative sessions until 1839.

Abandoned by the legislature, the building became a barn, moved to a neighboring farm. In 1919, the building was acquired by the state and moved back to its original location. The First Capitol is now a State Historic Site and can be visited during the summer season. More information can be found on the Wisconsin Historical Society's website.

PROPERTY FEATURES
Period of Significance:1825-1849
Area of Significance:Politics/Government
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Government: Capitol
Architectural Style:No Style Listed
Resource Type:Building
DESIGNATIONS
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:04/28/1970
State Register Listing Date:01/01/1989
NUMBER OF RESOURCES WITHIN PROPERTY
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
RECORD LOCATION
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

National Register of Historic Places Citation
National Register of Historic Places, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".

Have Questions?

If you didn't find the National Register listing you were looking for or have other questions about the National Register, please email us and we can help: