Louisiana August 23, 2021
Few Know The Haunting History Behind One Of Louisiana’s Most Iconic Castles
If you’ve ever spent any time in downtown Baton Rouge, you’ll notice a building that stands out from all the others . . . heck, it stands out from pretty much every building in Louisiana. This enchanting castle may look like something from a fairy tale, but it’s one of the most fascinating buildings in Louisiana, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol might just be one of the most beautiful buildings in Louisiana.
With an incredible past, too.
When the state legislature decided to move the seat of government from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, they needed to find the perfect plot of land.
Ideally, they were looking for land that was easily accessible and not in a flood zone. In 1847, the city of Baton Rouge donated the parcel of land located high on a bluff facing the Mighty Mississippi for the construction of a new state capitol.
Rather than just mimic the Capitol Building in Washington like so many other states had done, architect James H. Dakin had bigger plans.
He conceived a beautiful Neo-Gothic medieval-style castle, unlike any state capitol seen before. While most loved the incredibly unique design, Mr. Mark Twain was not a fan, calling it “pathetic” and likening it to a whitewashed castle. Despite the famous author's disapproval, the building was adored by many and considered one of the most distinguished examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the country.
Then in 1862, during the Civil War, Union troops took control of the capitol.
They used the building as a prison as well as a hospital during the war. Unfortunately, the building caught fire twice while under their control, destroying much of the original interior. By the time the Union forces left, the building was an empty, abandoned, gutted shell of what it once was.
Twenty years later, the capitol was completely rebuilt.
This is when that iconic spiral staircase and the stained glass dome was constructed, and both are still visible today.
Over the years, the building has undergone countless restorations, and was in use until 1932, when the new State Capitol was erected.
Since then, the building has been abandoned for many years, but was also used by Veterans organizations, the Works Progress Administration, and others.
Today, the building is now the Museum of Political History.
Where you can learn all about the history of Louisiana politics as well as an in-depth history of the building itself.
Tours are offered daily, and admission is free.
Just allow yourself at least an hour to fully tour the building.
Exhibits and informative placards pepper each room, giving visitors a unique glimpse into Louisiana's political past.
But be warned . . . there's a paranormal side to the building that you may be surprised to learn about.
During your tour, be sure to watch the "Ghost of the Castle," a short, 12-minute video that goes into detail about the paranormal activity many have experienced while within these walls.
Sarah Morgan Dawson was a young Baton Rouge resident who fell in love with the castle and even wrote about it in her book,
Sarah Morgan: The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman. Over the years, there have been many unexplained phenomena, and many believe that the building is haunted by Confederate prisoners and soldiers who died in battle . . . but maybe one of the ghosts is Sarah, who loved the building so much she decided to spend her afterlife here, too.
You might just have a paranormal experience of your own during your visit. Visit their
website to learn more, and book your tour today! Address: Louisiana's Old State Capitol, 100 North Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70801, USA