Construction began on the Tennessee State Capitol in 1845 and was not completed until 1859, when these plans for the grounds were created. Designed by William Strickland (who died in 1854 and is interred inside), the limestone building is in the Greek Revival style and is one of only twelve state capitols that do not feature a dome. Strickland also designed the Egyptian Revival Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville.

Several factors slowed completion of the structure, but the choice and cost of construction materials were the major impediments. The entire building is made of stone, including the interior walls, and this labor-intensive material increased the cost despite the use of convict and enslaved labor. Work on the Capitol grounds was not completed until after the Civil War.

The Tennessee State Capitol is a National Historic Landmark and was listed as a civil engineering landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2003.