Capitol Commission celebrates capstone centennial

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri State Capitol Commission celebrated an important milestone in the building’s history Wednesday. After both chambers had adjourned for the day, legislative leaders and members of the commission cut a four-foot tall giant cake in the shape of the Capitol dome the Capitol Rotunda to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the installment of the capstone onto the Capitol.

A few hundred people stood by in the rotunda to get a glimpse of the cake before it was sliced and distributed. A few local musicians, Rob Ray Souden and Mike Michaelson, played guitar, banjo, and keyboard, a photo booth was put up where people could take pictures of themselves with the Capitol green screened in and people could read the history of the Capitol building.

Local celebrity Harold Brown Jr., even attended the event to display his original sketches of Thomas Hart Benton’s Social History of Missouri Mural displayed today in the House Lounge. Brown played the infamous “Bare Bottom Baby” in the mural, and his father is the jury foreman.

All in all Dana Rademan Miller, chair of the Missouri State Capitol Commission, believed the event was a success. She added that even if the event was not as impressive as the construction itself, it was important to celebrate those who did construct one of Missouri’s most iconic buildings.

“The original board was responsible for building a building and I feel sometimes, I’m doing good to get a cake built,” she said laughing. “But I do think there’s a lot of significance and importance in commemorating those great achievements.”

The cake, by the way, was a 1/60th scale model of the Capitol without the east or west wings, was baked by Hallsville’s Edith Hall and her bakery Cakes by Edith. It attracted the most attention throughout the event.

Miller and the commission were statutorily obligated to celebrate the capstone-laying in 2007. Though the first members of the Capitol Commission laid the capstone Dec. 5, 1916, the commission waited until legislators had come back into town to celebrate. Miller said she initially hoped for a larger event that could draw people from around the state, but a budget withhold by the governor took away a small appropriation granted to the commission for a larger event.

However, members of the Jefferson City community turned out in force and a contingent from Truman State University in Kirksville attended.

“We felt even though we couldn’t do something on a grand scale… that drew thousands, we could still do something that would try to draw in as many as we could,” Miller said. “That was my goal, and I think we accomplished that.”

For Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, the size and scale of the event was encouraging, and he appreciated the role he plays in the commission as one of its legislative leaders. Being part of the 100 year legacy of the building means a lot to him.

“As a local guy, you can hardly believe you’re a part of it,” he said.

Miller added that the next major projects for the Capitol Commission would include the state’s bicentennial in 2021 and the rededication of the Capitol building’s centennial in 2024.

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