Hanging throughout the Statehouse are the portraits of each of Ohio's governors. The painting of each governor's portrait is traditionally one of the last major acts that each sitting governor participates in before he or she leaves office. However, that wasn't always the case here in Ohio.
Beginning in1803 when Ohio became a state, only a few of our early governors' likenesses were painted. Their portraits were painted by various portrait artists in a "hit or miss" fashion, and some pieces of art found their way into what was then a motley collection of works housed at the Statehouse. In 1867, Governor Rutherford B. Hayes decided to form a permanent and proper collection of Ohio Governors' portraits to hang in the new Capitol building. His vision was to ensure that the history of Ohio and its leaders was not lost. With only a few of his 26 predecessor's portraits completed, Governor Hayes had his work cut out for him. After collecting any graphical representations that were available from these past governors, Hayes set out to complete the collection of all those that were missing. He believed that the collection would benefit the people of Ohio - telling "the story" of our great state.
Today, the portraits of the Ohio governors hang for all to see throughout the legislative hearing rooms. Because of Ohio's 29th (and 32nd) governor, the people of Ohio can view and learn about every chief executive who has served our great state since 1803.
Due to the many governors that have served Ohio, it is important to note the changes in the length of terms and term limits. From 1803 to 1954, each governor was elected to a two-year term. In 1954, a state constitutional amendment extended the governor's time in office from a two-year term to a four-year term, although no governor could serve more than two successive terms. In 1992, another constitutional amendment limited Ohio's governor to a total of two four-year terms.