NORMAN — Norman resident Coy Green didn’t think much about the lamp when he bought it at a swap meet for about $20, besides that it was remarkably large and heavy. Standing about nine feet tall, the brass floor lamp would be discovered 40 years later as one of the missing links in the history of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
When Green saw The Transcript’s June 27 story about some century-old light fixtures from the Oklahoma Senate Chamber turning up in a long-forgotten attic in the Capitol, he understood the significance of his lamp. After comparing the design of it to the light fixtures in the photo in the paper, he realized he’d been keeping one of the Capitol’s original lamps in his barn for the last four decades.
“They’d apparently been looking for it for years,” he said.
The Senate is currently undertaking a restoration of a large conference room on the fifth floor of the Capitol, which was divided into multiple offices decades ago. Last week, 11 of the 20 original wall sconces were discovered in attic space above the sixth floor of the Capitol.
Senators are still searching for some of the eight to 10 floor lamps that originally stood in the Senate chamber, which are visible in old photos provided by the Oklahoma Historical Society.
When Green saw that they were looking for the lamps, he realized his could be one of the originals, so he called the state Senate and donated the lamp on Tuesday.
“We’re excited to see it once again shining,” Green said.
Senators had wanted to replicate the old lamps to place in the restored chamber, but all they had to base their design off of were some old photos. Now, they have an exact model to duplicate.
“Whenever we can restore part of our state Capitol to its original beauty, we can give Oklahomans another opportunity to connect with their unique history,” Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said.
Randy Dowell, Senate chief of staff, said it was his hope that the June 27 story would lead to the discovery and donation of additional pieces of Capitol history.
“We were glad to return it to the capitol because it needs to be shared with the people of Oklahoma,” said Green’s wife Debbie. “We’re glad to bring it home.”
Anyone who believes they have an original piece from the Senate Chamber, such as a lighting fixture or other decorative detail, should call the state Senate at 524-0126, and ask to speak with Dowell, Thompson, or Central Services Supervisor Roger Pirrong.