In 1856, Reuben Clark completed architectural plans for the Capitol.
Ongoing controversy about the building's exact location in Sacramento, the construction budget, and supervision delayed its start. Finally, on March 29, 1860, Governor John G. Downey signed legislation creating the Board of State Capitol Commissioners to be responsible for contracting and superintending the work.
Although the state already owned Clark's architectural plans, the commissioners held an open competition for
the Capitol's design. Within four weeks, architects submitted seven different plans. In July 1860, following a controversy involving plagiarism, the Commission selected plans presented by M. F. Butler. According to the Sacramento Daily Union, Reuben Clark had prepared the plans while employed by M. F. Butler. The Commissioners paid Butler the $1,500 allowed for by law and designated Reuben Clark the supervising architect.Reuben Clark's design for the California's Capitol included all three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Today, only the executive and legislative branches are located here. The executive branch is located in the East Annex, which was added to the Capitol in 1951. The Assembly is in the north wing; the Senate is in the south wing. The judicial branch is now across the street in the Library and Courts building.
California's Capitol was designed by architects Reuben Clark and M.F. Butler. This image is a watercolor rendering thought to be made by Clark to show his vision of the completed project.