The Capitol Atrium was completed in 1994 as a connector between the Statehouse and the Senate Building. Once
merely an open space that was used as a walkway, the Atrium now serves as a convenient gathering place for
press conferences, special events and even wedding receptions. The Atrium now provides visitors and employees
with much needed shelter from the rain, snow, sun and humidity.
Great care was taken to ensure that the Atrium was secondary, yet complimentary, to the Statehouse and the
Senate Building. In fact, the Atrium is a self-supporting structure, touching the other buildings only at the
roofline, along the walls and where the second-story walkways enter the buildings. The limestone used in all
three buildings came from the same vein of stone in western Columbus.
This site also has been host to its share of historical events. In 1859, Abraham Lincoln spoke to a small group
of Ohioans from the east terrace of the Statehouse (now the Atrium). His visit to Ohio took place shortly after
the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. A plaque commemorates his visit.
Before the Atrium was constructed, this space was home to a number of pigeons, which congregated in the area.
Perched atop the roofs and ledges, the pigeons made crossing to and from buildings an interesting challenge.
Since then, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has created a habitat for peregrine falcons across the
street. These falcons have had a profound effect on the pigeon's manners. Today, only a replica pigeon
oversees the interior of the Atrium.
Pete the Pigeon
Though the cardinal has enjoyed its status as the official state bird since 1933, the Statehouse is home to another
notable avian-Ohioan. Quietly Pete's perch in the Senate Building door perched in the doorway between the Statehouse
and the Senate Building, Pete the Pigeon has seen many senators come and go through the years.
Prior to the renovation of Capitol Square, people had to brave wind, rain, and... pigeons as they crossed back and
forth between the Statehouse and the Senate Building. This open-air area between the two buildings became known as
"Pigeon Run" due to the number of pigeons that congregated. In 1993, the space between the two buildings was enclosed to
create the Capitol Atrium, a stunning gathering place used for special events. All the pigeons have moved on now, except for Pete.