When Brenda Davis, the curator of the New Capitol called me and told me they had finished the years-long refurbishing of the exterior of the New Capitol by replacing the floor of the north lobby, I was wondering what an interior floor had to do with an exterior renovation.
Lawson Newman, the architect in charge of the project, says it was because they had to rebuild the terrace right above the lobby.
“So we had to renovate the lobby of the building in order to replace the terrace,” said Newman.
But the floor they put in, made of jasper marble from Vermont, takes the building back to the original material installed when the New Capitol was brand new in1903. In a 1983 renovation of the Capitol, this floor was replaced with slate.
“At that point, the quarry where the marble had been obtained originally had closed,” added Newman.
For that matter, the quarry is STILL closed. But a discovery beneath the floor, as workers were digging out Yazoo clay underneath it to replace it with a better-suited material to build on, led to one last push to try to find that original marble.
Todd Reeves says about four feet down they hit pay dirt.
“Sure enough there started to be pieces of this old exactly the same tile. So I brought it to his attention. Sure enough, that’s when the investigation started,” said Reeves. “And I located a sculptor up in Vermont where this marble came and he told me he was meeting with the man who owns the quarry. So we worked through the sculptor up in Vermont to order the marble and were able to replace it.”
So now, from the Eagle on the top of the dome, and the dome itself, for that matter, and the walls and windows, even the ornate stained glass windows in the main staircase, it’s all been renewed and refurbished, all the way down to the lobby floor. So now our New Capitol looks as good as new again.