WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News

Jefferson Statue Finally Finds Permanent Home in Va. Capitol

May 4, 2012

Nearly 230 years after Thomas Jefferson designed the Virginia Capitol, a statue of him is finally on permanent display in the landmark.

The $300,000 bronze sculpture was unveiled Thursday for an invitation-only gathering in the 5-year-old subterranean Capitol Extension beneath the south lawn of Capitol Square.

The event, featuring House Speaker Bill Howell and other legislative leaders, honored three Virginia families that together paid the cost of the statue. The state spent no public money.

The donors — Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman and CEO of Dominion, the state's dominant utility, businessman-philanthropist William Goodwin and Brent Halsey, a co-founder of paper manufacturer James River Corp. — pulled away the linen drape that had concealed the statue.

A public dedication is scheduled Friday at 10 a.m.

The sculpture, titled "Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Liberty," weighs 800 pounds and sits atop a 3-ton limestone pedestal in the circular Capitol Extension Plaza, commanding a majestic view down a hallway that connects a museum area, meeting spaces that can double as theaters and stairs that lead visitors into the historic Capitol overhead.

The statue is nearly one-fifth larger than Jefferson was in real life, and depicts the Declaration of Independence author at age 42, around 1785, holding his blueprints for the Capitol, which was completed in 1788.

The Capitol is not only home to the state Senate and the House of Delegates, it doubled for a time as the seat of the Confederate Congress.

Jefferson, the nation's third president, was also the founder and designer of the University of Virginia, a few miles from his mountaintop estate, Monticello, near Charlottesville.

The Virginia Capitol's most famous sculpture, however, is a priceless marble rendering of George Washington that has stood in the Capitol Rotunda since 1996. At Jefferson's recommendation, Virginia's General Assembly in 1784 commissioned French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon to sail to America and sculpt Washington.

The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.


powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 150166595