Kurt's Historic Sites

Montpelier, Vermont capitol


Admission to the UnionSequence in AdmissionSequence in Capitols I Have Visited
March 4, 179114th admitted13th visited

Photographed July 2, 2010.

I mentioned in the section for the Maine State House that capitol buildings have been the settings of some of my favorite photographs I have snapped. This is the state house picture I am most fond of. Montpelier, Vermont, is sublime, and I love the light-hued stone of the Greek Revival building nestled against the valley’s dark green trees, with the foreground accentuated by warm-colored flowers. The gilded dome shining in the bright blue sky with just a hint of clouds in the corner, too… I am grateful I had the opportunity to photograph the capitol under such auspicious conditions.

Since 1858 Vermont’s capitol has been topped by a representation of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility. The first iteration was done in 1858 by Larkin Mead, who went on to sculpt statuary for the tomb of Abraham Lincoln in Illinois. Mead’s Ceres was made of pine wood and rotted by the 1930s. It was removed and replaced by a figure carved by the statehouse’s sergeant-at-arms, Dwight Dwinell. Dwinell’s creation is shown in this image. It too has been replaced now. The third version of Ceres was made by Chris Miller, who carved the 15-foot figure from laminated mahogany with some of the same tools Mead wielded in 1858. Miller’s Ceres was installed on November 30, 2018.

Photographed July 2, 2010.
Photographed July 2, 2010.

The plaque mounted scarily above my head in this picture reads, “High water mark ——— November 3-4, 1927.” Preceded by an unusually wet October, the early days of November brought torrential rains to the state. On the evening of November 3rd, seven inches of precipitation fell in a six-hour span. The accompanying flood was disastrous to infrastructure and life, taking out over 1,200 bridges, damaging railroads and roadways, and leaving 9,000 Vermonters homeless. Many people were injured, with Lieutenant Governor S. Hollister Jackson among the 84 killed.

Vermont was a leading state in the quest for marriage equality. This two-sided sign details the steps the government of the Green Mountain State took to recognize LGBTQ+ relationships at the turn of the twenty-first century. In 2000, Vermont became the first state to legally recognize same-sex couples when it passed a law allowing for civil unions. The text recounts corresponding events dating back to 1999, concluding with 2009 on the reverse side and noting that, through legislation, Vermont became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage that September. That was six years before the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed same-sex marriage rights with its decision in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. The marker was placed at the statehouse in 2016.

Photographed October 12, 2019.

Sources Consulted

Hirschfeld, Peter. “Ceres Statue Once Again Adorns The Vermont Statehouse’s Golden Dome.” Vermont Public Radio. November 30, 2018. https://www.vpr.org/vpr-news/2018-11-30/ceres-statue-once-again-adorns-the-vermont-statehouses-golden-dome.

Sessions, Gene. “The Flood of ’27, 1927.” Vermont Historical Society. Accessed January 5, 2022. https://vermonthistory.org/flood-of-27-1927.

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