Quite a few of our state capitols are adorned with gold, mostly on the domes of the buildings. Here’s the run-down:


Atlanta - Georgia’s state capitol, built in 1889, first had its dome gilded (covered with very thin gold called “gold leaf”) in 1958. They used 20 ounces of gold for the project (donated by people from around the state). At today’s gold prices, that’s over $30,000! And that’s not counting the cost of having it turned into ultra thin gold leaf!

Since 1958, they’ve had to re-gild the dome two more times, as the gold leaf is very thin and can come off in bad weather. If you really like to read, you can find all the details here:

  1. -http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-1148


Boston - Famous name alert!! - the dome of the Massachusetts state capitol was originally covered with copper sheets provided by Paul Revere (If you say you’ve never heard of him, I’ll call your teacher and report you!)!! That was in 1808 (that’s even before my mom was born!). In 1874, it was gilded for the first time. 1997 was the last time it was gilded, and the total cost was $300,000! Gold requires a lot of green!


Charleston - West Virginia’s capitol may be the most unusual of all the golden domes (but take a look at Iowa’s and decide for yourself). It has three-dimensional designs on it and parts of it are painted to contrast with the rest. The supporting surface of the dome is copper and lead, but the gold really makes it gleam in the sun. Cool, don’t you think?


Cheyenne - Wyoming is the most parsimonious with its gold. Their dome isn’t very big compared to the others, so they were able to cover it with just ONE ounce of the yellow metal. Quite a savings over Atlanta and Denver, wouldn’t you agree?


Concord - New Hampshire also has a golden dome, and atop this glittering dome, yearning to live free or die (the motto of the state of New Hampshire) there sits a golden eagle, wings spread, guarding the land of the free.


Denver - If you think Georgia used a lot of gold on her capitol, wait ‘till you hear this; When the Colorado capitol dome was first gilded, they used ten times as much gold as Georgia!! That’s right, they used 200 ounces of gold! That was over a hundred years ago, but the capitol dome has been recovered with the shiny stuff four times since then. Because the people that make gold leaf can make it thinner than they used to, they’ve been using less gold than it used to take, but still, the last time they had to coat the dome, in 1991, they used almost 48 ounces of your favorite treasure!! Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself:

- http://www.colorado.com/Articles.aspx?aid=42172


DesMoines - Of the Iowa capitol’s five domes (that’s right, five -  you can count them yourself if you’re good at math) only the middle one (over the building’s rotunda) is covered in gold. The other four just have parts accented in gold.


Hartford - Think gothic but with gold added and you’ve still got no idea of the splendor of Connecticut’s capitol building. On a hill overlooking a park in the center of the city, the tall golden dome is surrounded by statues of women representing Agriculture, Commerce, Education/Law, Force/War, Science/Justice, and Music.


Lincoln - Nebraska’s state capitol is unlike any other. A tower in the middle and four large courtyards in the building below, this building is really something to see! Mosaics everywhere, on the inside and out. The architect who designed the building, wanted to make certain it would last (since their first two capitols fell apart), so the golden dome at the top is not gold leaf like the other golden-domed capitols, but rather gold-glazed ceramic tiles, which have held up much better.


Montpelier - The little capitol that can, one of the most beautiful and historic of state capitols, is picturesquely situated against a backdrop of wooded mountains and has a gorgeous dome topped by the ugliest statue ever erected on a public building. Carved by the sergeant-at-arms and his janitorial staff, the statue is supposed to be of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture (and the source of our word “cereal”), but it more closely resembles “Alice the goon” from the Popeye comic of about the same vintage.


Trenton - New Jersey’s state capitol complex consists of eight buildings, in eight different styles, one of which is an octagonal rotunda, topped by a small dome covered in gold.


                    Our state capitols themselves are priceless treasures*, but many of them have works of art and precious materials worth millions of dollars (don’t let master criminal Artemis Fowl find out)! There’s enough gold on the domes of some of these buildings to bury your house in bubble gum! Just one painting could buy you a tropical island (no, I’m not going to tell you which one)! A famous statue hidden in plain sight is more valuable than Richie Rich’s whole estate (well, maybe)! So, come with me on a little treasure tour of those fabulous state capitols, and you’ll be astounded at the riches they hold!


* Most of them are priceless treasures - I have some nominations for the wrecking ball.

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