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On State Capitol’s Centennial, A Rare Look Inside The Dome

On Sunday, the Utah State Capitol celebrated its centennial and reporters were given a rare look inside the dome.

Rep. Brad Dee (R-Ogden) led the tour. He’s on the Capitol Preservation Board, a group that cares for the Capitol building and its historical items.

On a walkway outside the dome with views of State Street, Temple Square and the Salt Lake Valley, Rep. Dee talked about some of the Capitol’s history. He said that over a century ago, the idea for a large dome was met with skepticism by architects on the east coast.

“They said ‘You can’t build a dome like this out west. You have to have eastern workers come to the west to build your dome because you don’t know how to do metallurgy. You don’t know how to do the outside with the copper.’ And we said, ‘No thank you. We’ve got people here.’ We taught them and we learned. The pioneers built this capitol, and the metallurgists learned how to do it. At 10,000 square foot of copper, we’ve got the largest dome this side of the Mississippi and it was done beautifully,” Dee said.

The walls inside the dome are covered in graffiti—some it dates back to 1929. Dee says while there hasn’t been much discussion about whether or not to cover it up, the painted names and dates might stay.

“We’re still contemplating on what we do and what we don’t with those particular things, but for today, this is the way it is, this is our capitol, inside and out,” Dee said. “It’s part of its history.”

Construction of the Capitol began in 1912 and the building was dedicated on October 9, 1916. Rep. Dee says thanks to massive renovations and seismic retrofitting completed in 2008, the building will serve the people of Utah for at least another century. 

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