Designed by Charles Bulfinch and built in 1796, the Old State House is the oldest state house in the nation.
The building opened in May 1796. Oliver Wolcott, signer of the Declaration of Independence was the first Governor to serve here. The building was the seat of state government until 1878, when the present Capitol was opened.
Major state and national events have, and continue to occur at the Old State House. Lafayette was made a citizen here, many American presidents, including Jackson, Monroe, Johnson, Ford and Bush have visited. President Carter gave the U.S.S. Nautilus to Connecticut in a ceremony at the Old State House in 1981. The trials of Cinque and the Amistad opened here in 1839. P.T. Barnum served in the legislature here, and notables such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Samuel Colt and Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the building.
The Old State House is a registered National Landmark and open to the public year-round, free of charge. The restored historic chambers, and grounds are now the site of events such as exhibitions, concerts, cannon firings, tours and a full museum store. It is run as a non-profit by the Old State House Association, Inc.