The Senate Chamber is approximately the same size as the House Chamber and accommodates Ohio's 33 Senators. Gallery seating for the public lines both sides of the Senate Chamber floor, and visitors also may stand in the rear lobby by the Chamber doors. The reupholstered sofas in the gallery are original and also underwent a restoration.
The marble dais is original. It was carved on site from a massive piece of marble that had to be placed in the room before all of the walls and ceilings were in place. The mahogany-and-walnut chair on the dais is original as well. The gray pedestal on the wall behind the dais is an example of trompe l'oeil painting, French for "fool the eye." It appears three-dimensional, but is in fact only a two dimensional painting.
Senate Chamber Floor
The desks on the Senate floor are reproductions of the originals, with the exception that these desks are wired for microphones, telephones and computers. Most of the woodwork in this room is original, including the windows and door frames. As with most of the wood in the Statehouse, pine and poplar has been used and grained to look like oak. A sample of the original graining technique was discovered only by finding one of the original shutters behind a faux window along the north wall of the House Chamber.
The colors used in the Statehouse today also match the originals. Extensive paint research determined the colors actually used in the mid 1800s. Layer by layer, paint was removed until the original colors were exposed. Some of the original colors are French blue, straw yellow and salmon. The color scheme in the Senate Chamber is the same as it appeared in 1861 and features approximately 25 different colors of paint.
The columns in the rear of the Chamber are made of white Pennsylvania marble and are topped with Corinthian capitals (These stand in stark contrast to the Doric capitals on the columns on the Statehouse's exterior.). The visible patches in the columns are from a balcony which was constructed in the 1890s to provide additional public seating. The balcony was removed in 1935.
The Senate Chamber also has served purposes other than as a meeting place for the legislature's upper branch. When the Statehouse opened in 1857, the Grand Jubilee utilized the Chamber as a dance floor. During the early days of the Civil War, soldiers on their way to battle were quartered temporarily throughout the Statehouse, including in the Senate Chamber. It has been said that Senators provided the soldiers with paper and pencils so that they could "write their farewells to their mothers and sweethearts."
The skylights in the Senate Chamber ceiling have been re-opened. The bronze chandeliers are reproductions based on period sketches, with the center chandelier weighing 1,200 pounds and reaching 12' in diameter.
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215