The Massachusetts State House was built in 1798 on what was once the property of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' first governor, John Hancock. The current building is the result of two major expansions in 1895 and 1917. The iconic dome, part of the original construction, was first constructed as an entirely wooden dome. When the dome leaked, the Revere Copper Company (Paul Revere's company) was contracted to cover the dome in copper.
The golden dome, as we know it, came to be in 1874. Despite what some might think, it is actually gilded with gold foil. The dome was painted gray during World War II to avoid being an easy target for potential enemy bombers. It was most recently re-gilded in 1997 to give the vibrant color we see today.
A golden pine cone sits atop the cupola on the highest point of the golden dome. The pine cone is a tribute to Maine (once a part of Massachusetts) and the timber industry's contribution to Boston's early development.