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State Capitols
A Never-ending Hobby


Favorites, Statues



Connecticut's Genius


Today's Genius
Standing now in the north lobby of the Connecticut capitol is the original plaster mold of a bronze statue that used to be on top of the capitol dome. She was named "The Angel of Resurrection" by her creator, Randolph Rogers, but now is referred to most often as "Genius." Her crown is white oak leaves for the state tree. She holds two wreaths; in her left is mountain laurel, which is the state flower; and in her right is immortalis, which is a wreath of dried flowers symbolizing long life. Genius holds her wings out to protect the people of her state.

Strangely enough, the artist gave his lady unusual toes, as if anyone would ever see them on top of the capitol! She has Roman toes, which means the second toes are longer than the big toes. This is thought to be a sign of a woman of power.

Genius capitol statue
Image used with permission of the Connecticut General Assembly and the League of Women Voters of Connecticut Education Fund, Inc.

The Original
The original Genius statue was placed on the Connecticut capitol in 1878. At 17 feet, 10 inches tall and 3.5 tons, the bronze lady was surely difficult to raise to such a height.

When a hurricane struck in 1938 and the statue was damaged, it was decided she would be safer if she were brought down. Ironically, her safety was no longer the issue in 1942 when she was melted down to support our World War II efforts. To help protect the whole country with her whole self instead of just Connecticut with her wings, she was turned into ammunition and machine parts. About 40 years later, the original plaster mold was reworked and painted bronze, and placed in the lobby of the capitol.

More on Connecticut:
Telling Them Apart, Domed but Different
What's On Top, Cupolas (on domes)
Connecticut Postcard & Image Gallery
Capital & Capitol History
Old & New Capitol Timeline


Favorites, Statues


Georgia's Miss Freedom


Statue and dome
image courtesy of
Dave Phillips

This great shot captures the
front of the Miss Freedom
statue, the tiles beneath
the gilding on the dome
(look closely), and the moon.

Miss Freedom
detail from
image at left

A Lady of Mystery
It is quite natural to look at a white statue and assume it is carved from white stone. However, this mysterious lady, Miss Freedom, is really copper disguised with white paint. Uncovering this information is easy, but there are other mysteries about her that are harder to solve.

Miss Freedom has only had that name in recent decades. What her name was originally is uncertain. One possible manufacturer's record calls her "Liberty," and one Georgia official of the time was quoted as calling her the "Goddess of Liberty."

There are only sketchy records connecting the statue on the Georgia state capitol with a manufacturer. No one is really sure where she came from or why there are no good records. The simple explanation, that the order, bill, delivery papers, etc. were just not recorded clearly by anyone, isn't any fun, is it?

A few popular solutions to the mystery of Miss Freedom's origin are: she was made for Ohio's capitol, abandoned by Ohio due to money problems, and saved by Georgia; she was originally on top of the City Hall/Fulton County Courthouse but was removed because that building could not support her weight; and, she was a gift from Ohio to Georgia because General Sherman, a native of Ohio, had caused great destruction in Georgia during the Civil War.

More on Georgia:
Telling Them Apart, It's In the Drum
What's On Top, Statues of Ladies, Part 1
Favorites, Night Shots
Georgia Postcard & Image Gallery
Capital & Capitol History
Old & New Capitol Timeline


Favorites, Statues


Kansas' Ad Astra

Ad Astra is the name of the statue on the top of the Kansas capitol. The bold design of this statue, with the widespread arms, bow and arrow, has offered unique opportunities for striking photographs.

Ad Astra statue against dark blue sky
image courtesy of
Kris Tilford,
Topeka, Kansas

Ad Astra statue against full moon
image courtesy of
D Maxwell of Topeka


An Artist, the Kansas Kids, and a Century-old Debate

They just could not decide.
Did they really want Ceres?
Who would make such a statue?
And, where would they get the money?

The whole idea of the planned statue of Ceres for the top of the Kansas capitol dome must have been set aside before the completion of the building in 1903, because no one was even designing one at that time. It just would have to wait for some decisions. In the meantime, someone had a bright idea and put a light bulb up there (excuse the pun, please), which stayed for a century.

We can't say no one cared for that whole century, because Kansas passed legislation in 1984 specifying a subject and an artist be selected for the dome statue. Quite a few people must have been tired of that light bulb. But indifference was still a problem. The Kansas Art Commission was accepting ideas from any interested parties, but they really only received pictures, a lot of pictures, that the Kansas schoolchildren sent in and not much else. That showed the teachers cared, and the kids too. But the masses were not getting involved.

Of the few who were interested, a local artist, Richard Bergen of Salina, had a most original approach to the problem of what kind of statue should be made. He looked at all the pictures the Kansas kids had sent and found that about 70 percent of them were of Indians. He felt this was a mandate from the schoolchildren of the state of Kansas to put an Indian on the top of the dome.

The kids had a great idea, but there was a lot of work needed to bring it to reality. Richard Bergen researched the history of the state and learned that the Kansa Indians, who also inspired Kansas' name, had lived in the Topeka area. He designed a statue that combined a likeness of a Kansa Indian with the state motto, "Ad Astra per Aspera," which means "To the Stars Through Difficulties." He aimed the Indian's arrow at the North Star and named him Ad Astra. His design won the Kansas Arts commission competition in 1988. The first two century-old questions were finally answered: Richard Bergen would sculpt a statue of a Kansa Indian for the capitol dome.

Mr. Bergen spent 14 years creating the 20-foot tall bronze sculpture of Ad Astra. During this time, the third question, where the money would come from, was still unanswered. The artist stepped forward again and spearheaded the fund-raising efforts to pay for Ad Astra with many imaginative plans. At the end, in order to involve as many Kansas folks as he could in the statue project, he toured 30 cities in Kansas with the completed statue on a flatbed trailer. The enthusiasm he witnessed proved the people of the state really were interested after all.

The Native American population was also interested, and they were supportive of the statue project. When it came time for Ad Astra to be put in place on the capitol dome in October of 2002, many were in attendance, including several Native American representatives who performed ceremonies to help Ad Astra in his journey. He proceeded to the dome literally with their blessings.

Why is this a favorite story? In recent years there have been several efforts to remove inappropriate Native American symbols from public view. I find it interesting that Kansas and Oklahoma have placed statues of Native Americans on their capitol domes during the same years. These statues are in places of real dignity, and they were artistically, realistically, and lovingly created. Who would not prefer their people to be portrayed and honored in this way compared to something like a sports team using their name or their image on a logo or in a mascot? And who would have guessed the children knew that better than the rest of us? I always like stories where the wisdom comes from kids.

Other Kansas capitol stories can be found at:
(accessed 3-22-05).

More on Kansas:
Telling Them Apart, It's In the Drum
What's On Top, Statues of Men
Favorites, Photographic Art
Kansas Postcard & Image Gallery
Capital & Capitol History
Old & New Capitol Timeline

Favorites, Statues


The Oklahoma Warrior Guards the Rotunda, Too


The 17-foot tall statue of a Native American warrior on top of the Oklahoma capitol dome is named "The Guardian." A nine-foot tall replica of The Guardian has been stationed in the rotunda on the second floor of the capitol. Seeing this beautiful sculpture up close is a rare opportunity since few other capitols have a duplicate of their crowning statue at our level.

The Guardian by the rotunda
image courtesy of joevare

The sculptor, Enoch Kelly Haney, is of Seminole and Creek heritage. The Guardian does not depict any particular Native American people, but rather, all the people of Oklahoma.

Front full view of The Guardian
image courtesy of bjmccray

More on Oklahoma:
Telling Them Apart, It's On the Dome
What's On Top, Statues of Men
Oklahoma Postcard & Image Gallery
Capital & Capitol History
Old & New Capitol Timeline


Favorites, Statues


Pennsylvania Loves Her Commonwealth

Miss Penn

courtesy of
Red All Over Design

Miss Penn on the ground
Miss Penn spent a week in front of the capitol on Commonwealth Avenue before being lifted back to the dome. She came down in December of 1997 for major restoration work and was returned in September of 1998.

State Quarters
There is only one other state with any representation of their capitol on their quarter; Maryland’s has their capitol dome. Miss Penn’s quarter has just her, a keystone for the state nickname, the state slogan, and the state in outline. Pennsylvania loves her Commonwealth.

1999 quarter
  image courtesy of the US Mint

That is the name the artist gave her. My favorite name for her is Miss Penn, one of the many nicknames she has. Whatever they call her, the people of Pennsylvania seem to love her, because they recently put a lot of effort into her care and commemoration.

The last time she was restored, she was regilded only, and that was in 1940. Miss Penn had been up on the dome since 1905, so when it was time to make sure she was in good shape along with the rest of the capitol during its restoration, pains were taken to investigate. An x-ray analysis was done along with fiber optic video of the statue and the globe she stands on. They showed she had to come down to allow safe repairs of the corroded bolts holding her in place.

While she was available, Miss Penn was honored with the insertion of a time capsule into her globe. To further honor her, the three indian head pennies workmen found under her pedestal were included in the time capsule, as well as two Commonwealth commemorative medallions, a paper replica of the 1999 Pennsylvania quarter where she is pictured on the back, and a copy of the press release when she was nominated for placement on the quarter.

More on Pennsylvania:
Telling Them Apart, General Impressions
What's On Top, Statues of Ladies, Part 2
Favorites, Footprints
Favorites, Intriguing Interiors 3
Favorites, Just Because
Pennsylvania Postcard & Image Gallery
Capital & Capitol History
Old & New Capitol Timeline


Favorites, Statues


Rhode Island's Independent Man


Warwick Mall Independent Man
Replica at
Warwick Mall

image courtesy of
Roger Williams

The Independent Man was placed on top of the Rhode Island State House dome in 1899. Like many others, this statue was repaired more than once and even removed for repairs and renovation. Some other states have found their statues too old and worn to be returned to their domes, so they placed replicas on the capitols and the originals in museums or other places of honor. Rhode Island took a different approach.

Independent Man was removed from the Rhode Island State House in 1975 for repairs and new gold leaf. Before he was returned in 1976, he was on display in a Warwick, Rhode Island mall for a while. That was a nice side trip, letting people see him up close before he was returned to his perch 224 feet up on the dome. Many years later (the exact date has not yet been discovered by this webmaster), a replica of the State House statue was installed in an outdoor area of the Warwick Mall.

It seems the independent spirit of Rhode Island has reversed the usual scenario (a replica on the dome and the original available for close viewing) and placed their precious original back on the State House and a replica at ground level. Contrary, independent Rhode Island!

State House Independent Man
State House Original
image courtesy of Trent Maynard


More on Rhode Island:
Telling Them Apart, Unique Architectural Components
What's On Top, Statues of Men
Favorites, Intriguing Interiors
Favorites, Just Because
Favorites, Night Shots
Rhode Island Postcard & Image Gallery
Capital & Capitol History
Old & New Capitol Timeline


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Page Last Updated: May-07-2017

For complete image credits and information sources, see Credits & Sources.

Site Author: Valerie Mockaitis     ©2005-2017 Valerie Mockaitis