State capitol scaffolding in place for year-long cupola facelift


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Instead of debate, there’s a very different kind of drama playing out these days at the Tennessee State Capitol, and it’s all about a face.

It’s literally a high wire act 150-feet above the capitol grounds to restore the 160-year-old cupola and decorative cast iron at very top of the historic structure.

“The last time the cupola was restored was in the 1956 to 1958 period,” says Tennessee General Services spokesperson Dave Roberson, who has compiled pictures from the last time the capitol got such a high-profile face lift.

Sixty years later, it’s happening again.

Daring young men carefully crawl around scaffolding that embraces the cupola, the lantern-looking very top of the capitol.

A 300-foot crane gingerly put everything up there for a high-profile face-lift, and it will soon be back to literally take off the top.

The 160-year-old cast iron elements that circle are getting repaired, repainted and restored, but first they must be removed.

“The crane will actually lift that metal part off the top of the cupola and bring it down where it will be disassembled and sent off for restoration,” says Roberson.

Rock City Construction of Franklin did the project so well back wehn, it’s doing the job again.

The company logo proudly calls attention to it.

“Once its finished, it will be better than it is now and hope it will last another 50 years,” added Roberson.

He says popping the top off the capitol will take place sometime in the next few weeks “and there’s a lot of people who want to know when that will happen.”

The $2.2 million project is scheduled for completion next April.

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