State Capitol Dome

The Capitol Dome is again being revealed as the scaffolding has been slowly removed over the past several months. So what was this project all about, and what will be the final result? The Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration, who is overseeing the restoration, has issued this Fact Sheet, which includes a brief description of the project and information on the color of the cast iron, which may look a little bluish for now, but will eventually patina to match the rest of the building.

The Colorado State Capitol Dome undergoing restoration. Photo courtesy Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration.

The dome is also being re-gilded. According to The Colorado State Capitol: Pride of Our People (1992; available for checkout from our library), the dome has been re-gilded several times, including in 1949, 1980, and again in 1991 following hail damage that caused the gold leaf to flake. The dome was first gilded in 1908 at a cost of $14,680. Prior to that date, it had been covered in copper. For the current restoration, gold from the mining areas of Cripple Creek and Victor was donated for the project and first went to Italy to be formed into gold leaf (see this blog post from the Share in the Care Campaign, which raised money for the dome restoration).

The gold dome. Photo courtesy Colorado Legislative Council.

Today visitors can tour the Capitol dome, which is no longer in danger of injuring tourists, as it was prior to the renovation. Visitors can view Mr. Brown’s Attic, an exhibit on the history and construction of the Capitol. Click here for information about the free tour. A virtual tour can also be accessed for those unable to visit in person.