Ceres II retiring from Statehouse dome
Ceres, the Greek goddess of agriculture, was plucked from her perch atop the Statehouse Monday. She'll go on display in the future.
The wooden statue known as Agriculture was set in place in 1938 and carved by former Statehouse Sergeant-at-Arms Dwight Dwinell. It replaced the original done by Larkin Read in 1858. After 80 years, this second statue will be replaced later this fall by a third -- part of a $2 million dollar restoration of the dome that will include a fresh gold leaf finish.
"Now she deserves an honored retirement in a nice, cushy museum," said Vermont State Curator David Schutz.
Two large cranes parked on the Statehouse Monday morning as workers wrapped the statue with straps. A crowd gathered on the lawn to watch, including Gov. Phil Scott. "Certainly a lot of excitement here. Historic moment, in some respects, when you think about this being carved in 1938 by the Sergeant-at-Arms," Scott said.
The statue was gently laid on a flatbed truck. State officials say it's wet and rotting on the inside, but can be preserved for future generations to see. "We're very pleased she came down in one piece. We're going to dry her out and then we're going to put her on display," said Department of Buildings and General Services Commissioner Chris Cole.
The likely destination is the Vermont History Museum in the Pavilion Building adjacent to the Statehouse. "We're going to tell the whole story how this remarkable Sergeant-at-Arms decided that he was up to the job of replicating the statue," Schutz said.
State officials hope to have a new mahogany statue carved and in place this fall. Sculptors will be able to bid on the project. Perhaps even the governor will give it a shot. "If the Sergeant-at-Arms could do it, maybe I could as well," Scott said.