Colorado capitol building restored

Posted in: Cultural Resources

Colorado Capitol dome interior, courtesy of Colorado General Assembly
Colorado Capitol dome interior, courtesy of Colorado General Assembly

Every major event that happened in Colorado is reflected in the state capitol building. When Coloradans want to celebrate, protest or mourn, we gather there.

The superb interior restoration of the Colorado Capitol has been recognized nationally. I am proud to have played a small part in the preservation of this remarkable building.

Stained-glass windows, paintings, sculpture, plaques and materials, such as Colorado granite and marble, embody the Centennial State. Extensive exterior repairs, energy retrofits and life safety improvements have also been accomplished.

But back in 2004, this preservation success story was far from certain. In that year, the Capitol Building Advisory Committee received the first of many grants from the Colorado State Historical Fund. The grant included a history exhibit in the attic under the gold dome. I was the curator for the exhibit. We called it Mr. Brown’s Attic, after Henry Brown, who donated the land for the capitol.

The investments made in the building will preserve it for future generations. Exhibits such as the one I assisted with are an important part of historic preservation. Writing interpretive panels is difficult but I really enjoy it.

More history of the building can be found here.

My favorite part of the Classical Revival building, designed by architect Elijah E. Myers, is the interior atrium under the dome. Craning my neck to see the top, 180 feet high, makes me feel small and like a kid again. Free tours are available on weekdays, including a stop in Mr. Brown’s Attic and the dome observation deck, with a fantastic view of Denver and the Front Range.

Dianna Litvak

About the Author

Dianna Litvak is a public historian who specializes in surveying historic farms, ranches, post-World War II neighborhoods and linear features such as roads, irrigation ditches and railroad grades. A native of Denver, Dianna enjoys developing interpretive exhibits for properties as diverse as the Colorado State Capitol, Denver Union Station and the National Western Stock Show. She also serves on the Colorado National and State Register Review Board.

Read more posts by Dianna Litvak

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *