The State House is situation on Main Street but is oriented towards the east as the port on the Connecticut River was the main entryway to the city. As such, its main entrance was on the east side of the building, through the center porch with open arches. The flight of steps leading up to the entrance are reminiscent of classical temple architecture.
The governor did not occupy an office in the building until 1820possible, due to poor planning. It did have elaborate offices for the comptroller and treasurer, plus a courtroom, senate chamber, house of representatives and, in 1796, Hartford portrait painter Rev. Joseph Steward was allowed to operate his painting studio on the third floor. Steward opened the Hartford museum of natural and artificial curiosities, including a two-headed calf, an 8' alligator, electrified machines, and collections of insects and butterflies. Some of these curiosities remain housed at the Old State House today.