The Pennsylvania Capitol dome in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania rises 272 feet. This vaulted dome weighs 52 million pounds and was modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The roof is composed of green glazed terra cotta tile.
The Capitol was designed in the American Renaissance style by Philadelphia architect Joseph Huston (1866-1940) who envisioned the building as a “Palace of Art.” Built and furnished at a cost of $13 million, the Capitol features paintings, stained glass and furnishings by some of the best artisans of the day.
The building incorporates various Renaissance designs in some of its largest rooms: Italian in the House Chamber, French in the Senate Chamber and English in the Governor’s Reception Room. It also reflects Greek, Roman and Victorian influences in its art and ornamentation. Throughout the building, Huston blended the various styles with motifs featuring Pennsylvania’s achievements in labor, industry and history, making the Capitol uniquely American. It’s five-story exterior is faced with handsome Vermont granite.
“Commonwealth” by sculptor Roland Hinton Perry, is a female figure representing Pennsylvania. Placed at the top of the Capitol dome on May 25, 1905, the gilded bronze statue stands 17 feet, 8 inches tall. The figure holds the mace of statehood in her left hand and extends her right hand in benediction. “Commonwealth” was restored in 1997-1998 and returned to her rightful place at the Capitol’s peak on September 12, 1998.
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