Capitol Building, State House, or Statehouse?

The PoliticIt bus outside the South Carolina State House

Do you know the difference between a Capitol Building, State House, and Statehouse? I didn’t either! Now you’re curious though, aren’t you?

Last week I was gently corrected in a return email from a politician. I asked if he could meet the PoliticIt Mobile Team at the Capitol Building in his state for a video interview. This is a question I’ve asked many times before when scheduling, without any further thought, and without any correction. This time, I received a reply with with a question, “Do you mean the Statehouse?”

This was confusing and slightly embarrassing for a brief moment until I realized it was a chance to learn something new. I took a moment to ask those around me if they knew, no luck. I did a quick google search, Massachusetts Capitol Building, and Massachusetts State House came up. Being curious to my innermost core, I was dying to understand this difference and how to distinguish these structures in the future. I tried a google search in the form of a question, “what is the difference between a Capitol Building and a State House.” (You know you do it to:) This is not a common question on google because there was not an easy link to a site or a forum, perhaps, that has discussed this matter before. I was going to have to roll up my sleeves and dig in. That’s right, I had to do some hardcore research! After two searches on two different days, and a total of about 6 minutes, I found this wikipedia link. Thank goodness, I won’ be making that mistake again.

Interior stairways in the Alabama State Capitol Building

Most states refer to their place of legislative business as a State Capitol Building. Indiana, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont are the exception. Their buildings are are called State Houses. And don’t forget Ohio, it’s The Ohio Statehouse, one word. And then there is Delaware, it’s completely unique, The Delaware Legislative Hall.

So the difference is all in the name. Similar things are done in these buildings but I still do not understand why they have different names. I do have a new question to ask politicians when I meet them, though, and I have a funny feeling that the saying I used to hear when I was young is all I’m going to get. Shelby, because that’s just the way things are!

Shelby Sonnentag is the communications director at PoliticIt, member of PoliticIt’s marketing team, and is traveling with the PoliticIt Mobile team. 

PoliticIt provides campaign software for politicians and special interest groups. The software provides voter/donor micro-targeting in social networks, social media management, daily It Scores, competitor tracking, and digital influence tools. To sign up for your free trial please visit us at

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