By Larry Morandi
The Oregon State Capitol celebrates its 75th birthday on Tuesday. Born out of two fires—the first destroyed the original statehouse in 1855, the second consumed a structure modeled after the U.S. Capitol in 1935—the Capitol is four stories high and topped by a 23-foot bronze and gold leaf statue of the Oregon Pioneer (affectionately known as the “Gold Man” by the building’s inhabitants).
Truly national in its composition, the Modern Greek architecture includes marble from Missouri, Montana and Vermont.
Not content to be a graciously aging dowager, the Capitol added two wings in 1977 to expand housing for legislative offices, committee hearing rooms and underground parking. A nuts-and-bolts restoration project occurred in 2007-2008. In addition to the Legislature, the Capitol hosts offices for the Governor, Secretary of State and State Treasurer.
The birthday celebration is not confined to a single day. Educational events ranging from tours, oral histories and scavenger hunts began on Sept. 18, with supersized candles lighting up the dome on Sept. “Cutting the cake” and other events will take place on Tuesday, including the launch of the Legislature’s new website. The festivities wrap up on October 5.
The complete calendar of events is available online through the Oregon State Capitol Foundation.