Former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown joined historic preservationists and state officials on Wednesday to kick off a campaign to raise $8 million to fix the Colorado Capitol’s iconic gold dome.
“For the people of Colorado, our Capitol dome is an architectural, historical, and cultural treasure that must be preserved,” Brown said. “I’ve eagerly agreed to serve as official chairman of this campaign to help preserve our state’s history for generations to come.”
Last year the Legislature approved spending $4 million from the State Historical Fund — raised from taxes on the gaming industry — but private donations will need to make up the balance for the three-year, $12 million restoration job, which gets under way this spring. The nonprofit Colorado Preservation, Inc., is taking charge of the Share in the Care Colorado campaign and has already lined up support from AngloGold Ashanti, AT&T Colorado and Historic Denver, Inc., organizers said.
The gold is in good shape but the cast-iron that holds it up is crumbling — a big chunk fell off a few years ago — and the structure shows signs of pervasive corrosion and decay, said state architect Larry Friedberg.
The dome was completed in 1908 and is covered with 200 ounces of pure gold, according to state archives.
The restoration work starts this spring, when the dome will be surrounded by scaffolding and draped with a scrim. Once the dome is covered, probably by June, preservationists plan to stage an elaborate laser show on the Capitol, including choreographed music and scenes from the state’s history. The restoration work isn’t expected to curtail any activity in the Capitol, which houses Colorado’s General Assembly and offices of the governor and other statewide officials.
Brown stressed the civic and historic importance of the Capitol dome. “When I started as a state senator in 1972, one of the most exciting moments was the first time I entered our state Capitol,” he said. “Walking up those steps, with the gold dome gleaming majestically above me, was so exciting. It is something I’ll always remember and something I want my children, grandchildren and future generations to experience.”
To donate $5 to the Share in the Care Colorado campaign text the word DOME to 50555 from any wireless phone and any provider. All proceeds will go to the dome restoration fund, though text and data charges might apply. Donations to the fund are tax-deductible and can also be made through the website at www.shareinthecarecolorado.org.