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A Long-Awaited Capitol Idea Realized

November 15, 2002|From Reuters

OKLAHOMA CITY — Nearly 90 years and $21 million later, Oklahoma's Capitol has a dome.

The crowning achievement -- the longest-running construction project in Oklahoma's history -- will end Saturday in a celebration also marking the 95th anniversary of statehood.

All but about $1.5 million of the money for the project was raised privately.

Construction of the Capitol began in 1914 but was derailed at the onset of World War I when money ran short. More recently, it was delayed by strident opposition to the use of tax money for the project.

But the $1.5 million in public funds used as seed money allowed "The People of Oklahoma" to be included on the ring of honor, in which the names of private donors are displayed in raised, gold lettering.

"I think what's different is that we haven't named the dome after anyone -- it's the State Capitol Dome," dedication ceremony spokeswoman Brenda Jones said.

The columned, 157-foot steel and granite dome, topped with a 22-foot bronze statue of an American Indian gazing eastward, completes the Capitol.

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