New Hampshire’s gold dome and eagle on top of the New Hampshire State House in concord NH has been an iconic symbol in NH for many years.
A wooden eagle was originally placed on top of the 2,300 square foot dome in 1818. The eagle’s head was facing left, a symbol of war, the “War Eagle”.
In 1957 the wooden eagle was replaced with a gold gilded copper eagle. The copper eagle is now facing right, a symbol of peace.
The wooden eagle is now on display inside the New Hampshire historical society.
In 1993 the dome was gilded in gold, 16 pounds of gold at a cost of $370 per pound, at, but this did not last very long.
In 2016 the dome was gilded once again. The 23.75 karat gold leaf was installed at a cost of 2.6 million dollars. The gold leaf started as a 24 karat gold but metal alloy has to be added to the gold for it to adhere correctly to the capital’s copper dome. The gold leaf comes as 3 inch by 3 inch sheets of gold leaf with a paper backing. Each 3″ x 3″ sheet of gold leaf is applied by hand. The artists who gilded the dome could never touch the gold with their fingers as oils on the human skin would ruin the gold by tarnishing it.
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