The Oklahoma State Capitol building was nearing completion as the United States was preparing to enter World War I. After many years of anticipation and various commissions, construction on the Oklahoma Capitol building began after a groundbreaking ceremony on July 20, 1914.
Materials slated for use in construction of the dome were diverted to the war effort. Completed on June 30, 1917, the building has a concrete foundation with pink and gray granite, covering the raised basement and water table.
When the Layton and Smith firm presented its preliminary drawings to the commission in 1914, the plans did not include a dome. However, the building was designed to allow for a weighty dome to adorn the central square rotunda. The original commission was split on the desirability of the dome due to the high cost, and as completed, the capitol was not domed.
In 1998 House Bill 2827 created the Oklahoma Centennial Act, which formed the Oklahoma Capitol Complex and Centennial Commemoration Commission. The commission immediately began efforts to fund a $20.8 million dome project. Begun in 2001, the dome was dedicated on November 16, 2002. Its crowning element is a twenty-two-foot-tall bronze sculpture called The Guardian, created by artist and State Senator Enoch Kelly Haney of Seminole. More than 80 years later the dome was added.
$21 million in private donations funded the project. Murals by Native American artist Charles Banks Wilson adorn the dome’s interior along with paintings by other prominent artists. It is said that the paint on the walls was used to represent the beautiful Oklahoma sunsets and my camera and I just couldn’t get enough!
I’m PROUD to be an OKIE!!
Sparkle and Spur
“Though we travel the world over to find the beauty, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson