Designed primarily by George R. Mann and completed by Cass Gilbert, the Arkansas Capitol was dedicated in 1915. The large Rotunda chandelier was manufactured by Mitchell-Vance Co. of New York, the largest manufacturer of institutional scale lighting of the time (also Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Utah and Kansas). It is interesting to note that the twin to this chandelier hangs in the Utah State Capitol and was likely the second to be built since that Capitol was completed about a year later. This chandelier is one of the largest and impressive Rotunda chandeliers in the US (Missouri may be the only state with one larger).
SLALCO was asked to be responsible for the disassembly, restoration and reassembly. The restoration required complete refinishing, including making a new mold to replace the broken shades on the fixture. Due to restrictions on some of the toxic materials originally used to make the glass, the color could not be matched exactly, requiring replacement of all of the glass shades. The remainder of the original shades were kept in storage. In 2007, Arkansas generously presented the State of Utah with pieces of their original glass so that Utah would have a full set of shades for their matching Rotunda chandelier.
The chandelier is lovingly referred to as the “Crown Jewel of the Statehouse” and the people working in the Capitol took great interest and pride in its restoration. When it was raised into place hundreds of people came to watch, including all of the local television stations. A Capitol citation was presented to SLALCO by the Secretary of State, Charlie Daniels, in appreciation of the company’s work and craftsmanship.
Historical Lighting Consultant: Gary H. Behm, I.E.S.
Project Architect: Witsell, Evans & Rasco
Secretary of State: Charlie Daniels