Trivia question

True or false:

The dome, or cupola, of the capitol was once coated with silver.

Trivia Answer


According to State Archivist Guy Rocha, this is a common myth.

In referring to the new capitol in Carson City, Virginia City's Territorial Enterprise (January 3, 1871) pointed out that "[t]he cupola has a curved roof, covered with tin, and is formed in sections to suit the octagon base of the structure."

That's right, the "silver dome" was made of tin (actually tin-plated steel called charcoal tinplate). It only looked like silver because of the shiny surface painted silver in color (for the first few years the cupola was painted with "Princess Red" fireproof paint). If the cupola had been made of silver, its surface would have oxidized with prolonged exposure to air and moisture and turned black. Maintenance costs to keep the cupola gleaming would have been prohibitive.The Capitol Annex dome and two other small cupolas dating to 1906 are still covered with tin-plate panels painted silver.

Source: Nevada State Library and Archives


days until the Aug. 16 celebration.


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