Dakin spread eclectic historicism to the western states in the mid-19th century. He was a former partner of architects Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis in New York, before setting up his own practice in New Orleans. James Dakin won the competition for his most important building, the Louisiana State Capitol (1847) in Baton Rouge, with an innovative castellated Gothic Revival design. Dakin referred to his design as 'Castellated Gothic' due to its decoration with cast-iron, which was both cheaper and more durable than other building materials used at the time. By 1882 the state house was totally reconstructed by architect and engineer William A. Freret, who is credited with the installation of the spiral staircase and stained glass dome. It was abandoned in 1932; restored as the Museum of Political History in the 1990s. It is on the National Register.