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Indiana Department of Administration

IDOA > Statehouse Tour Office > The Statehouse Story > Major Refurbishing Major Refurbishing

The Statehouse remained largely unchanged until 1904, when the painted designs on the walls were redone in oil - to remedy darkening of the watercolors - and much of the woodwork was refinished. In 1906 the gilding was renewed on the dome lantern.

From 1917-20 additional office space was provided by conversion of the first floor stables into finished space. This 19th century parking garage had been entered by a carriage ramp at the base of the north steps. New doors and stairways at the east entrance and southeast corner of the second floor improved entry.

Electric chandeliers replaced gas/electric fixtures on the second floor, in the Governor's office, and in the legislative chambers. Openwork elevators were replaced with enclosed cabs. Wall designs were repainted in neoclassical style in subdued shades of green, buff and yellow with red and blue accents. These were later painted out in a 1928-29 renovation.

The outside of the Statehouse received it first cleaning in 1931, when steam was used to remove a black coat of soot presumably caused by the widespread burning of coal and the advent of the automobile. The popularity of Victorian architecture plummeted following WWII. This led to a second major remodeling in 1946-48. Maintenance projects were completed that had been postponed since before the Depression. Electrical wiring was updated by installation of wire channels on the corridor walls.

Aluminum and glass entry doors were installed at second floor entrances, and the monumental oak doors on the north and east sides were removed. Cast iron lampposts were removed from limestone bases on the retaining wall around the grounds, and florescent fixtures replaced the 1919 sconces on the east portico. Coolers for bottled water were replaced with electric drinking fountains. The west steps were reduced in width to provide a new access to the first floor and to provide an entrance for disabled individuals. Corridor walls were painted a neutral pastel color.

In 1958 corridors were painted in turquoise blue/sunflower yellow. In 1964 the Governor's office was remodeled to eliminate the "loan office décor" installed around 1958.

The exterior was sandblasted and the dome was painted with gold epoxy. The parking lot that had been established on the north lawn was enlarged, and fifty spotlights were installed to illuminate the building. In 1968 a number of original corridor chandeliers on the third floor, which had been cleaned and rewired in 1958, were removed and replaced with modern fixtures. The same type of fixture was used to replace the 1917 fixtures on the second floor. The sconce fixtures on the spandrels of the atriums on either side of the rotunda were removed at the same time. In the wake of the 1976 American Bicentennial, there was a renewed interest in America's heritage, including an interest in the preservation of historic buildings. The architectural riches of the Victorian era were rediscovered.

At the Statehouse, this new trend found its first expression in the 1975 restoration of the Lieutenant Governor's office. In 1978, the dome was given its first new copper cladding as a part of the building's first major roofing replacement. In 1984 the art glass dome of the rotunda was cleaned and repaired.

Plans for a major re-creation of the Statehouse to its original appearance began in 1986. This was a prelude to the Centennial Celebration of the completion of the Statehouse and would be the culmination of Hoosier Celebration '88.

Four acres of plaster walls and ceilings were stripped, painted, and decorated with the original designs.

1,500 gallons of paint were used to recreate the original designs and refinish the area about the rotunda. 125,000 6" x 6" leaves of Dutch metal "composite gold" leaf were used for gilding the skylight, balustrades and plaster details.

124,500 square feet of interior marble and limestone were cleaned. 4.25 acres of Indiana limestone were cleaned on the exterior of the building.

31.5 miles of mortar joints were cut and repointed on the exterior limestone.

2,920 two-feet-square pieces of marble floor, approximately 1.1 miles in length, were removed and replaced for the installation of new electrical wiring.

45,000 board feet of white oak were used in woodwork, equivalent to 85 average trees.

This included eight sets of white oak monumental entrance doors (four sets restored and four sets replicated); the stripping, rehabilitating and refinishing of 188 ornamented white oak doors and the replication of 26 more; four new white oak building directories; one new white oak guard station; and three new white oak and glass vestibules.

Red bronze door and window hardware, along with the wainscot rosettes, were rehabilitated or replicated. This included large rosettes (196 rehabilitated and 14 replicated); small rosettes (1,005 rehabilitated and 125 replicated); door hinges (396 rehabilitated and 457 replicated); state seal door knobs (321 rehabilitated and 107 replicated); and window pulls (248 rehabilitated and 92 replicated).

40 original brass chandeliers were restored and 67 were replicated. Each chandelier had 200 different pieces to be replicated or cleaned. 44 brass wall sconces were replicated. 266 new thermal insulated aluminum windows with white oak interior wood cladding and insulated glazing were installed. 16 colored glass windows were restored. 256 panels of the rotunda colored glass dome were restored and cleaned.

The rotunda colored glass dome was illuminated by using a reflective fabric structure above the glass with high intensity lights. The rotunda and limestone arches were lighted. The total cost of the restoration was $10,937.292.00.