The Norman Transcript

Local news

June 27, 2013

Original light fixtures discovered during historical restoration project at Capitol

NORMAN — Nearly 100 years after beautifully ornate light fixtures were installed in the Senate Chamber, 11 of the original 20 fixtures have been discovered in attic space above the sixth floor of the Capitol.

The artifacts were discovered during the ongoing historic restoration of a large conference room on the fifth floor that had been divided into small offices decades ago.

In connection with the project, Senate Information Systems Director John Warren was moving computer cables above the fifth floor ceiling and happened to notice an opening to a long-forgotten part of the attic. That led to the discovery of the fixtures.

Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma State Historical Society, said a black-and-white photo of the chamber from 1918 helped confirm they were the original fixtures or sconces. He said the discovery was important for the historic preservation of the State Capitol, the symbol of unity for Oklahoma.

“When you think about our history, what connects the people in Cimarron County with the people of McCurtain County? What connects all of our communities together? The symbol is the State Capitol itself,” Blackburn said. “We don’t have an Alamo. We don’t have battlefields. We have the State Capitol.”

The discovery of the sconces comes just one year before the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Capitol, which was completed in 1917. Over the next several decades, numerous changes were made to the building, with little or no concern about the original architectural designs.

Hallways, conference rooms and other spaces were turned into offices. Stained glass was hidden by lower ceilings installed to conceal air conditioning ducts and other modernizations. The original sconces eventually were replaced with fluorescent lighting.

In the late 1980s, a major historic restoration project was undertaken during the administration of then-Gov. Henry Bellmon. A mini-grand staircase that had long been covered up and turned into offices was uncovered and restored to help commemorate the centennial of the Land Run of 1889. Four years later, Sen. Charles Ford led a project to restore the Senate Chamber.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • County wreck fatal

    A Purcell man was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Saturday morning on Highway 77, north of Moffatt Road in Cleveland County. Keith Hedrick, 20, was pinned for about an hour and 45 minutes before the Slaughterville Fire Department was ...

    July 27, 2014

  • New library leaders

    The Pioneer Library System has familiar faces taking over leadership roles with its two hometown libraries....

    July 27, 2014