U.S. State Capitals and Their Most Interesting Facts

What state capitals were named after presidents? Which capital is the least populated in the United States? Learning about capital cities can be very patriotic – and interesting! Keep reading to learn these fascinating facts and many more.

Louisiana State Capitol, Baton Rouge 2018Louisiana State Capitol, Baton Rouge 2018

Most Interesting Facts About Each State Capital

See if you can name the smallest U.S. capital by land size. What about the largest U.S. city that doesn’t have a professional sports team? You’ll know a lot more about capital cities that begin with A, B, or C after reading these fun facts.

Facts About State Capitals: A - C

Capital City

State

Most Interesting Fact

Albany

New York

Albany began as a fort in 1614 and is the oldest continuous settlement in the U.S.

Annapolis

Maryland

At 6.7 square miles, Annapolis is the smallest U.S. capital by land size.

Atlanta

Georgia

Atlanta is the largest capital by metropolitan population (5.9 million).

Augusta

Maine

Augusta is home to Fort Western, the oldest wooden fort in the United States (built in 1794).

Austin

Texas

Austin is the largest U.S. city that doesn’t have a professional sports team.

Baton Rouge

Louisiana

At 450 feet tall, Baton Rouge’s capital building is the tallest in the country.

Bismarck

North Dakota

Bismarck has the lowest average winter temperature of all state capitals (even Juneau).

Boise

Idaho

Boise is home to the largest population of Basque Americans in the U.S. (15,000).

Boston

Massachusetts

Boston is home to the country’s first public beach (Revere Beach), first lighthouse (Little Brewster Lighthouse), first college (Harvard) and first subway (Tremont Street Subway).

Carson City

Nevada

Carson City is the smallest metropolitan statistical area (#366 out of 366) in the country.

Charleston

West Virginia

The first U.S. museum (Charleston Museum, est. 1773) and theater (Dock Street Theatre, est. 1736) are located in Charleston.

Cheyenne

Wyoming

Located only eight miles north of the Colorado border, Cheyenne is one of the furthest U.S. capitals from its own state’s geographic center.

Columbia

South Carolina

Columbia was the first U.S. city named after Christopher Columbus, and it was almost named Washington instead.

Columbus

Ohio

Nearly half of all Americans live within 500 miles of Columbus, including those living in Chicago, New York City, and Atlanta.

Concord

New Hampshire

Concord was named for the “concord,” or harmony, after a boundary dispute between the neighboring towns Rumford and Bow.

Facts About State Capitals: D - J

It’s fascinating to learn what famous state capitals were almost named, or what historical events first occurred there. Check out these interesting facts about state capitals that begin with D, F, H, I, and J.

Colorado State Capitol in Denver 2018Colorado State Capitol in Denver 2018

Capital City

State

Most Interesting Fact

Denver

Colorado

Although Denver is exactly one mile high, it is not the U.S. capital with the highest elevation. (Santa Fe and Cheyenne are higher.)

Des Moines

Iowa

Des Moines was originally named “Fort Raccoon” after the Raccoon River.

Dover

Delaware

Dover differed from the rest of Kent County regarding slavery, and the city was an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

Frankfort

Kentucky

Frankfort was the only Union capital that was overtaken and occupied by the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.

Harrisburg

Pennsylvania

Harrisburg is home to the Rockville Bridge, which was built in 1902 and is the longest stone arch bridge in the world.

Hartford

Connecticut

Teddy Roosevelt took the first presidential automobile ride in history on the streets of Hartford in 1902.

Helena

Montana

Helena was originally named “Last Chance Gulch” as a small mining town. It almost became “Crabtown” or “Pumpkinville” before being named after Saint Helena in Minnesota.

Honolulu

Hawaii

Honolulu has the highest average annual temperature of any U.S. state capital.

Indianapolis

Indiana

Indianapolis is the largest U.S. city that is not on a navigable river. 

Jackson

Mississippi

Jackson is the only U.S. capital built on top of a volcano. The Jackson Volcano is located under the Mississippi Coliseum.

Jefferson City

Missouri

Jefferson City was laid out by Daniel Morgan Boone, son of famous pioneer Daniel Boone.

Juneau

Alaska

Geographically, Juneau is the largest state capital at 2,716 square miles.

Facts About State Capitals: L - R

What is the most populous state capital? Which city is home to the oldest capital building? Keep reading to learn all about state capitals from L - R in the alphabet.

Vermont State House in Montpelier 2016 Vermont State House in Montpelier 2016

Capital City

State

Most Interesting Fact

Lansing

Michigan

Lansing was the birthplace of Oldsmobile in 1897, eleven years before the Ford Motor Company created the Ford Model T.

Lincoln

Nebraska

Lincoln was named after President Abraham Lincoln in 1867, only two years after he was assassinated.

Little Rock

Arkansas

The capital building in Little Rock finished construction in 1842, making it the oldest capital building in the country.

Madison

Wisconsin

Madison is the only U.S. state capital built on an isthmus.

Montgomery

Alabama

Montgomery was the first U.S. city with an electric streetcar system known as “the Lightning Route.”

Montpelier

Vermont

With a population of 7,800, Montpelier is the least populated state capital.

Nashville

Tennessee

Nashville’s Centennial Park contains the only replica of the Greek Parthenon, which houses the tallest enclosed sculpture in the Western Hemisphere (Athena Parthenos)

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City is the most recently founded state capital (1910).

Olympia

Washington

Olympia is the northernmost state capital in the contiguous U.S. 

Phoenix

Arizona

Phoenix is the most populous state capital (1.6 million).

Pierre

South Dakota

Pierre is the only U.S. capital without access to an expressway.

Providence

Rhode Island

The first planned American act of the Revolutionary War occurred in Narragansett Bay in Providence.

Raleigh

North Carolina

Raleigh is the home of the first historically black university, Shaw University.

Richmond

Virginia

Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

State Capitals: S - Z

They may be last, but they’re certainly not least! Here you’ll find the oldest state capital, the only non-captured Confederate capital, and the westernmost United States capital. Check out these amazing facts:

Oregon State Capitol building in Salem 2012Oregon State Capitol building in Salem 2012

Capital City

State

Most Interesting Fact

Sacramento

California

Sacramento is the oldest incorporated city in the state of California (1850).

Saint Paul

Minnesota

St. Paul has more shoreline along the Mississippi River (26 miles) than any other American city. St. Paul and Baton Rouge are the only U.S. capitals on the river itself.

Salem

Oregon

Salem is the westernmost U.S. state capital.

Salt Lake City

Utah

Salt Lake City is the only U.S. capital with three letters in its name.

Santa Fe

New Mexico

Santa Fe is the oldest state capital (founded in 1610), and also the highest U.S. capital at 7,000 feet above sea level.

Springfield

Illinois

Springfield became the third capital of Illinois thanks to the work of Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield from 1837 to 1861.

Tallahassee

Florida

Tallahassee was the only state capital of the Confederacy not to be captured or burned during the Civil War.

Topeka

Kansas

Topeka is the closest state capital to the geographic center of the U.S. (which is two miles north of Lebanon, Kansas). 

Trenton

New Jersey

Trenton was the U.S. Capital for the last two months of 1784.

More Facts About Capitals

If you need more historical knowledge in your day, here are some additional facts about U.S. state capitals. You’ll learn which states do not have access to the interstate highway system and where you’ll find the only royal palace in the United States.

  • There are four state capitals named after American presidents: Jackson (Mississippi), Jefferson City (Missouri), Lincoln (Nebraska), and Madison (Wisconsin).

  • The four state capitals not served by the United States interstate highway system are Dover (Delaware), Jefferson City (Missouri), Juneau (Alaska), and Pierre (South Dakota). Even though Honolulu (Hawaii) is not physically connected to the continental highway system, its interstate highways are built to the same standards.

  • The only royal palace in the United States is in Honolulu, Hawaii.

  • Alaska has more miles of coastline than all other states combined (6,640 miles).

  • There are 24 state capitals west of the Mississippi River, and 26 capitals east of the river.

  • Even though Washington D.C. is the nation’s capital, it is not located in a state and is not represented by the U.S. Congress.

America the Beautiful

The true beauty of America lies in its diversity. Having fifty states united in one country makes for a very interesting history! If you’d like to write more about the United States, check out a list of words that describe America. 

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