Workers preparing the Capitol for the busy months of the legislative session have completed the annual checkup of the great chandelier in the rotunda.
A crew from an Independence company climbed to the top of the inner dome this morning and fired up the electric winch that lowered the nine-thousand pound brass chandelier to within a foot of the state seal embedded in the floor of the rotunda more than 150 feet below.
The chandelier, originally installed in 1918, was made by a company in St. Louis. It was re-wired and modernized with new lights after it fell several years ago leaving it badly damaged, and requiring a million-dollar repair and renovation.
A new cable installed after the incident in 2006 kept the chandelier stable as it was lowered and when it was raised back into position about a half hour later. Before the present cable was installed, the chandelier had a tendency to slowly turn as it was being lowered and raised and maintenance crews would throw ropes over some of its fixtures to steady it. Ropes are no longer necessary because the new cable minimizes instability during the inspection and repair process.
Workers hope to complete other projects in the building before the legislative session begins in a little more than three weeks. Repairs on the elevators and on the heating and air conditioning system have been underway for several months.