Subject: Seven-Ton Suffragist Statue Finally Sits in Capitol Rotunda
In what may be the most arduous journey in Capitol history, workers took about 23 hours over two days to move a seven-ton statue up a flight of stairs. At about 5 p.m. EST Sunday, the so-called "Portrait Monument" honoring three leaders of the women's suffragist movement was pushed, shoved, and shuffled into the Capitol Rotunda by several workers.
The move caps a 76-year effort by women's groups to force Congress to allow the monument a place next to statues of male figures in the prestigious Rotunda.
Experts on Saturday had estimated the job would take between 8 and 12 hours, until the laws of physics got in the way. Workers first tried to move the statue as it was suspended from an overhead "I" beam, which was held up by complicated scaffolding. But the marble object proved too heavy and cumbersome in the close confines of the Capitol's Crypt, where the statue began its move.
So much for plan "A." Plan "B" was a much slower approach. Small pipes were used to roll the statue, inches at a time.
The statue was not damaged during the move. But a hallway wall near the Crypt sustained plaster damage of approximately six inches in two places. "We were lucky to escape with only minor damage," said Patricia Ghiglino of Professional Restoration Inc., the company hired to do the monumental task. The most difficult part of the move was the trip early Sunday up a stairwell. The five-foot, three-inch, by three-foot, five-inch statue had only four inches of clearance as a crane slowly lifted it upstairs.
The suffragist statue shared The Crypt with other statues. The Rotunda is an area with a much higher profile -- making it much higher up in the statue pecking order.
Moving the suffragist statue has been controversial, and the legislation authorizing the move says it can stay in the Rotunda for only one year. A statue of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams was relocated from the Rotunda to make room for the women, creating a stir.
In addition, African-American women's groups are protesting because another activist from the turn of the century, Sojourner Truth, is not represented in the statue.
The Portrait Monument, crafted of Italian marble, but called "three women in a tub" by some art critics, features Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton's great granddaughter, Coline Jenkins-Sahlin, was on hand for the move.
Copyright © 1997 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.