Gold leaf and missing bells: the Colorado State Capitol Building

Photo: Scott Franz for KUNC

This week, the story that caught my eye was not about nature or food or even llamas but about architecture and history: specifically, the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver. Radio station KUNC took a tour with guide Ellen Stanton, and I loved hearing stories about the 1,700-pound chandelier, the hidden faces in the walls, and the missing portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Tours are free — I’ll have to take my tiny human before long!

The KUNC story inspired me to dig deeper. Here are a few more points of interest that I unearthed about the Colorado State Capitol:

  • “The official elevation of Denver is measured on the West steps outside the building, where the fifteenth step is engraved with the words ‘One Mile Above Sea Level'”
  • The Capitol’s dome was not always the stunning gold it is today; the gold was added to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush of the mid-1800s
  • The dome’s beautiful golden color comes from “copper panels that are gilded with gold leaf from a Colorado mine
  • Following a restoration project in 2012, the dome was re-covered in gold, a project requiring “approximately 65 ounces of .9999 pure gold … at the time of donation, the estimated value of the gold, refining and transportation was $125,000”
  • The Capitol is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • “The inside of the building is adorned with what is believed to be the entire known supply of Colorado Rose Onyx, a rare rose marble from a quarry near Beulah, Colorado”
  • The grounds of the Capitol display one of 53 full-sized replicas of the Liberty Bell — each state and the District of Columbia received a bell, and the other two bells have been lost
  • You can request a ceremonial Colorado or U.S. flag be flown over the Capitol! The flag is later mailed to you with a certificate of authenticity

I love that you can learn so much about a building, a neighborhood or a city without ever leaving home! What would you like to learn about Colorado?

Posted on October 13, 2019 at 7:00 am
Anali Roath | Category: Fun Facts | Tagged , , , ,

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