United States flag

State Capitols
A Never-ending Hobby . . .

*
 
***
Contributors' Corner
 

statecapitols.tigerleaf.com
What's On Top, Statues of Ladies, Part 1

------

Arizona — Dome, Statue / Wind Vane

Capitol dome and statue
image courtesy of neepster
through Creative Commons
 

Dome
When the Arizona capitol was first completed, the dome was painted a copper color in recognition of the importance of the metal to the state. In 1981, when the building was restored to its 1912 appearance, copper plating donated by the copper industry of Arizona replaced the paint. Usually copper tarnishes and develops a green verdigris. The copper roof of the capitol has been aging as usual, but the dome has been specially treated to stay copper-colored and keep its gleaming finish.

Winged Victory
image courtesy of phxpma
through Creative Commons

 

Statue
The striking statue on the Arizona capitol dome is actually a wind vane; she turns with her pedestal, allowing the wind to choose her direction as it blows across her wings. This feature has presented special problems in the past. When the West was still wild, cowboys reportedly would shoot at her wings for the fun of watching her turn for a while. In the 1950s, the opposite situation arose when legislators in adjacent buildings had her tethered in one position so they could see something other than her back.

Modeled after Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, she holds a wreath in one hand and raises a torch in the other.

 

Every state capitol built between 1886 and 1911 had a dome supported by a substantial drum or multiple drums. Every capitol except Arizona's, that is. Limited funds caused many revisions downsizing the plans for the building, so perhaps a planned drum was just too costly for the budget. Most capitol domes also have cupolas, but Arizona's climate rather than its finances gave a good reason to forego one. Beneath the Winged Victory wind vane is a clear, round skylight that can be opened to let the rising hot air leave the building as it pulls cooler air in through special windows far below.


image courtesy of
roswellsgirl
through Creative Commons


She is named "Winged Victory," which seems especially appropriate now since she probably doesn't suffer much from gunshots anymore and is again free to turn in the wind.

 
More on Arizona:
Telling Them Apart, Prominent Decorations

 
 

statecapitols.tigerleaf.com
What's On Top, Statues of Ladies, Part 1

------

Georgia — Dome, Cupola, Statue

Georgia capitol dome
image courtesy of
Stephen Rahn
 

Dome
The original plans for this capitol called for a limestone dome and other substantial materials around it. Due to a tight budget, wood covered with pressed tin was used for most of the dome area, with terra cotta tiles beneath the tin on the dome itself. By the 1950s, the deterioration of the wood and tin was extensive. The 1957 renovation of the dome sounds quite complicated: the tin was removed, several coats of asphalt and cement were applied to the terra cotta tiles to even out their surface, shingles of monel metal, a gray-colored alloy of copper and nickel were laid over that, and then the dome was gilded.

 

Miss Freedom statue on dome
image courtesy of
Dave Phillips
 

Statue
She was first named the Goddess of Liberty according to some, and is now commonly known as "Miss Freedom." She is made of copper and painted white. In her left hand, Miss Freedom holds a sword. The torch in her right hand was supposed to be a working light all along, but it remained dark until it was finally re-engineered in 1959, when a tube and trolley system were installed so the bulb could be changed from the inside.

 

Cupola and statue on dome
image courtesy of
Dave Phillips

 
More on Georgia:
Telling Them Apart, It's In the Drum
Favorites, Night Shots
Favorites, Statues

 
 

statecapitols.tigerleaf.com
What's On Top, Statues of Ladies, Part 1

------

Maine — Drum, Dome, Statue

Dome of Maine capitol
image courtesy of
Edward Crim photographer,
the State Capitols project

 
 

Dome
The present-day dome on the Maine capitol was added as part of a major remodeling of the whole building in 1910. The project was so extensive, the building was torn down except for the original Bullfinch front and rear walls. The new construction resulted in a building twice the original length, and the replacement of a saucer dome with this 150-foot tall dome that is more comparable to capitols constructed around that time.

Wisdom, statue on dome

 

 

 

Statue
She is clothed in draped and flowing robes, and holding a torch straight up over her head. This statue, named "Wisdom," is made of copper and gilded. Her torch is a functioning light.


detail from
image at right

 

The Maine capitol dome is the characteristic green color of the aged copper that covers it. When newly installed or refurbished, copper domes are copper-colored like a new penny for a short time. With age, they darken to dark brown or nearly black, and then they develop the bluish-green patina which continues to lighten for a long time. The whole process can take 25 to 50 years or more, depending on the copper's exposure to the elements.

Cupola and statue
image courtesy of
Edward Crim
photographer, the
State Capitols project

Cupola
Several state capitols have open cupolas, but not one of them is quite so simple in design as Maine's. Design simplicity is obvious in the entire exterior of this capitol, with the dome statue being one of the only decorations and the most obvious.

 
More on Maine:
Telling Them Apart, General Impressions

 
 

statecapitols.tigerleaf.com
What's On Top, Statues of Ladies, Part 1

------

Missouri — Drum, Dome, Cupola, Statue

Missouri capitol dome
image courtesy of
Seth Gaines
 
 

Dome
The top of the Missouri capitol dome is about 240 feet high. The entire drum and dome structure must be at least 100 feet up, way too high to see well from the ground, but there is an opportunity on the capitol complex grounds to see what those columns are really like.

The Missouri Veterans Memorial is essentially a large garden containing various walkways, structures, and water features that are all intended to blend with the architecture of the capitol complex where it is located. Along the circular drive around the capitol is a colonnade that marks the beginning of the Memorial's terraced waterfall. The columns are scaled replicas of those that surround the capitol drum. The bronze railings are designed to match the capitol balcony railings. The capitol building itself is framed in the southern view from the Memorial.

Drum column detail
Drum Columns
 
image courtesy of lharkess
through Creative Commons

 

Ceres bronze on Missouri capitol
image courtesy of
larsdatter

Statue
A classic sculpture in bronze, she is Ceres, the ancient Roman goddess of, well, many things to many people, apparently. She is listed as the goddess of earth, agriculture, vegetation, harvest, grain, corn, and motherly relationships in various Internet articles. A specific interpretation of who she is in Roman mythology isn't logical or necessary here, but since Ceres is found on another state capitol dome (Vermont's) we need to avoid contradicting ourselves within this site.

The traditional representation of Ceres carrying a shaft of wheat in her left arm was chosen for the capitol dome to represent the importance of Missouri crops to the state. Their main crops are corn and soybeans, and in 2009 the state ranked in the top ten for production of rice, soybeans, cotton, grain sorghum, and corn. With the exception of cotton, these are all grains.

Missouri capitol cupola and statue
image courtesy of
Holley St. Germain
through Creative Commons

To be more specific, the Missouri grain crops listed above are edible grains. No matter what you consider her goddess of, Ceres has a direct connection with edible grain crops since the word "cereal" is derived from her name.

The statue on the Vermont dome is called "Ceres" or "Agriculture." Their statue is referred to as Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. In Missouri, they have good reason to consider their Ceres the goddess of grain instead, as we will too.

 
More on Missouri:
Telling Them Apart, It's On the Dome
Favorites, Nature

 
 

statecapitols.tigerleaf.com
What's On Top, Statues of Ladies, Part 1

------

Montana — Dome, Square Drum, Statue, and More Domes

Montana dome
image courtesy of
Ben Hays
 
 

Dome
At the time the Montana capitol was built, the copper mines in Butte were producing the most copper of any mines in the country. The invention of the electric light bulb and the telephone a decade earlier, both of which use copper wiring, produced the demand that made copper big business for Montana. Surely, covering the dome with anything else was out of the question. Montana pride shows in the beautifully designed dome.


Montana detail
image courtesy of
Ben Hays
 

Of the capitol domes that are covered in copper, Montana's has by far the most complex copper ornamentation. The dome itself contains three different textures, creating two wide rings at its base. The copper extends down to cover a drum section which has relief work and interestingly framed, round windows.

More Domes
Did you notice the small copper domes over the corners of the square drum? If not, take another look at the top image of the whole dome.

 

Montana, Lady Liberty statue
image courtesy of
Jay and Erica Silveira
J&E Productions

 
 

Lady Liberty
She is known by three names: The Goddess of Liberty, Lady Liberty, and just Liberty. Her story is one of adoption, essentially. She appeared at the train station without any record of who had ordered her. The capitol adopted her for the dome, and she has been there ever since.


Drum
The square, stone drum with centrally placed windows and gables/pediments is very unusual for a capitol.

Montana detail
image courtesy of
Ben Hays
 

Relief ornamentation here compliments that on the copper pictured at left.

 
More on Montana:
Telling Them Apart, It's In the Drum

 

Return to Top
 
 

***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
***
Go to Gallery
***
***
tigerleaf image

statecapitols.tigerleaf.com


 
Page Last Updated: Jul-23-2013

For complete image credits and information sources, see Credits & Sources.

Site Author: Valerie Mockaitis     ©2005-2013 Valerie Mockaitis

A Special Thank You
to all our Contributors
for their generosity and efforts.

All contributions of content
have been made for no fee,
monetary or otherwise.