Between 1717 and 1878 Hartford and New Haven were co-capitals for the Connecticut General Assembly. Legislative sessions were originally held twice a year, in May and October. Sessions were held in Hartford each May, and New Haven each October. In 1818, legislative sessions were designated to be held once a year. The legislative sessions continued to alternate between New Haven and Hartford until 1875.

First Hartford State House
First Hartford State House

Built circa 1720

Second State House
Second State House in Hartford

Connecticut's Old State House - 1796

Connecticut State Capitol
Third State House in Hartford

Connecticut State Capitol - 1880


The first State House in Hartford served from 1720 until 1796, when the adjacent and recently completed Old State House opened. Earlier buildings occupied the site, but this was the first structure built as a state house. The square was laid out in 1636 with the founding of Connecticut and city of Hartford. The Fundamental Orders of 1638/39 were ratified on this site. In 1687, the Charter of 1662 was stolen from this site and hidden in the Charter Oak Tree. Here General Washington first met Rochambeau and the French armies in America, and planned the Yorktown strategy. And, it is here that Connecticut delegates gathered to consider ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In 1783, a watchman dropped a lighted candle and the building partially burned. As a consequence of the damage caused by the fire, the present Old State House was built. The third State House (the current State House) began construction in 1871 and was completed in 1880.

New Haven First State House
First New Haven State House


New Haven State House
Last New Haven State House

Designed by Ithiel Town, 1831

State House Razed
New Haven State House Razed

The state house was demolished in 1889


New Haven Green held a succession of statehouses, dating between 1717-1889, when New Haven was joint capital of Connecticut with Hartford. New Haven's first State House was built in 1717 on the Green near the corner of Elm and College Streets. Previous to the statehouses were 3 meetings houses. The first being constructed in 1639, situated near the eastern section of the Green, and stood for about 30 years. It had a turret that housed a sentinal who would send out alarm in case of an Indian raid. The second meeting house was built in 1668, near the location of the first one. It had a pyramidal roof, and in the top was a bell, placed there in 1680. The original meeting house was sold in 1670. The third meeting house was built in 1670. New Haven's colonial courts held sessions under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut charter. The courts were located in this building, and a jail was located nearby. In 1719, the Probate Courts were formed, and a combined state house and court building was built by 1720 and was occupied until 1763. In 1759, the General Assembly passed an act providing for the building and repair of courthouses. In 1763, a new brick State House with courtrooms and a town hall on the lower floor and rooms for the General Assembly on the upper floor were erected on the Green on Temple Street. In 1827, the General Assembly passed an act providing for the building of a new State House, including courtrooms. In 1828, the 1763 brick State House was demolished, and in 1831, a new State House (designed by Ithiel Town and A. J. Davis) of Greek Revival design (Doric Temple) was built near the corner of College and Elm Streets. Ultimately, Hartford was declared the sole capital of Connecticut and the last New Haven State House was demolished in 1889.

  Read "History of the State House New Haven, Conn.", 1889

  See Hartford and New Haven: A Tale of Two Capitals