Chandelier raised at Capitol after restorations

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 | 6:51 p.m. CST; updated 4:06 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This article has been modified since it was originally posted. The weight of the chandelier and the cost of repairs were originally misreported.

JEFFERSON CITY — Almost a year after the chandelier in the Capitol building fell, the 95-foot-long, 8,000-pound chandelier was raised Wednesday, and the dome was fully illuminated for the first time in 40 years.

“It fell a year ago, and now 364 days later we put it back up,” restoration consultant Tom Sater said.

The chandelier fell five feet in November 2006 after being lowered from the dome for routine maintenance.

The cable holding the chandelier became stretched over night, and the light fixture fell.

“It was more of a rapid controlled descent,” Sater said. “It rode the cable, so it didn’t free fall.”

But the bottom of the chandelier was crushed. The fixture had to be dismantled, and several parts, including the winch and cable systems, had to be restored.

“It affected other parts, and then we found other problems like stripped bolts,” Sater said.

The chandelier was created in 1918 by Guth Lighting company in St. Louis for $5,000. The Capitol dome is 238 feet high.

Sater said repairs cost $500,000 and took as long as they did because the restoration was done by a different company.

Part of the restoration included turning on the highest level of lights, which have not been illuminated since the late 1960s. The lights were causing damage to the mural in the interior of the dome, which degraded the color almost 50 percent, Sater said.

When the lights turned on Wednesday, observers gasped as a mural lining the top of the dome and shadowed by ineffectual lighting for 40 years was depicted in full light.

“Everyone who’s been here 30 or 40 years is standing here saying, ‘Oh my god,’” Sater said.

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