State of VermontState House Dome, Drum and Statue Restoration
Project At A Glance
Engelberth Construction was hired by the State of Vermont for the restoration of the Vermont State House dome, drum and statue. This small, but symbolic project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The $1.8 million restoration work began in April 2018, with the 80 year old deteriorated statue carefully removed from the dome.
The project continued in May, when the Legislature was out of session, with the engineering and assembly of a temporary structural steel frame to support vertical access staging. Engineering Ventures designed the frame, after an in depth assessment, to protect the historic timber truss roof structure and lime putty mortar masonry bearing walls of the dome and drum.
The month of June entailed mostly scaffold erection, which included eight levels enveloping the dome and drum with access to each level via a stair tower and equipment hoist the height of the State House. This was a critical step to ensure the safety of all involved in the restoration project.
In mid-June, Restoration specialists from EverGreene Architectural Arts out of New York City prepared the surface of the dome, stripping the layers of old gold leaf, adhesive and corrosion, and repairing metal joints, trim and roof. Once the surface was cleaned and primed, the dome was re-gilded – the delicate process of covering the dome surface thinly with 23.75 carat gold leaf. The gold leafs or sheets are only three microns thick, and it took 70,000 sheets to cover the 4,470 square feet of the dome. The last time the dome was re-gilded was 41 years ago, past its 20 year expectancy. This process was complete in September, at which time crews transitioned restoration efforts to the drum. Intricate arched dormers, ionic column capitals, fluted columns and architectural window pediments were restored from damage caused by years of exposure from the elements.
While restoration took place, local sculptors Chris Miller and Jerry Williams were commissioned to create the new 14-foot statue of Agriculture for the top of the State House dome. The statue was based on photos and the original drawings of Larkin Mead’s 1859 figure that first adorned the dome. Projected to stand 120-150 years, Agriculture was raised to her resting spot at the end of November with hundreds gathered to watch, closing out the project.