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The Genius of Connecticut by Randolph Rogers was a winged female figure which adorned the topmost lantern of the State Capitol dome in Hartford. She was crowned with oak leaves, the emblem of strength. With uplifted arms she extended wreaths of Laurel in her right hand and of Everlasting in her left hand. The Genius stood seventeen feet, eight inches tall, exclusive of the wings, and weighed sixty-six hundred pounds. It was created by Rogers in his studio in Rome and cast in bronze at the Royal Foundry in Munich. The original Genius was designed in a delicate balance unequal to the fierce winds which assailed her two hundred and fifty feet above Bushnell Park. On October 6, 1938, following the great hurricane the Genius became unstable and swayed dangerously. Governor Robert A. Hurley ordered it removed by the Works Progress Administration. Four years later in 1942, during World War II, it was melted down for armaments, an ignominious, if patriotic, fate.

Fortunately, Rogers, when presenting The Genius of Connecticut to Batterson (the builder of the State Capitol), he gave the original plaster model as a gift. Upon arrival, the plaster model was found to be extensively damaged, so it was repaired before being placed in a niche of the west hall, where it remained for ninety-four years. In 1971 Governor Thomas Meskill discovered it and decided to have it restored in time for the bicentennial. He placed Edward J. Kozlowski in charge of the restorations. Kozlowski commissioned Casimir Michalcezyle, a Glastonbury sculptor, to do the necessary restoration work. On April 26, 1973 the restored plaster model was placed in the Rotunda of the Capitol and a fiberglass replica of The Genius of Connecticut took the place of the original figure at the Capitol’s pinnacle.

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View additional information about the sculpture to the right.


Sources

  • Marion Grant. In and About Hartford, The Connecticut Historical Society, 1978. :
  • Pierce and Curry. The Monument: The Connecticut State Capitol, 1979. :
  • Millard F. Rogers, Jr., “Randolf Rogers,” The Connecticut Magazine, Volume V, 1899. :