Iowa State Capitol selling dome bricks to fund monument restoration projects

Iowa's Capitol Planning Commission is selling original capitol dome bricks for $100 in an effort to raise money for monument restoration projects (Caroline Cummings.)

Iowans can now own a unique piece of Iowa's history: a brick from the state capitol's iconic golden dome.

The bricks are originals from when the dome was constructed in 1881.

Each $100 purchase of a dome brick helps to fund a $500,000 restoration project aimed at repairing dozens of monuments and works of art that adorn the capitol grounds. 12 of the 44 monuments are endowed, meaning a group has taken responsibility for the up-keep. The rest of them need funding for conservation.

"The idea came up about...could we sell these bricks and raise funds for monuments on the capitol grounds," said Carol Grant of the Capitol Planning Commission. "The dome is something we're all very proud of."

The Capitol Planning Commission is behind the sale of an estimated 1,200 bricks that were excavated as part of a dome renovation project that began in spring of 2017, after the dome began to leak and deteriorate. Nearly 12,000 bricks were removed, many of them excavated in pieces, Grant said.

“It’s just an honor to work on a restoration project of this magnitude," said Scott Richeal, who works in construction on capitol dome's renovations. He said his capitol brick is on his mantel.

"It makes for a great story, a great conversation piece," Richeal said.

Grant said that 500 of the bricks are already "spoken for," which is nearly half of all those available. Grant said called those numbers "good news," for the monument conservation fund.

The fund is part of the reason Chris Burch of Des Moines wanted to buy a brick.

"It's an opportunity to have a part of history and it's for a great cause," Burch said.

There's only a limited amount of these historic bricks. If you're interested in purchasing one, you can do so online or visit the Capitol Gift Shop on the ground floor of the Iowa State Capitol.

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