Capitol's "Disco ball" raised and lighted in historic ceremony
January 17, 2013 — 8:40pm
Legislators, worker bees, lobbyists and visitors gathered around the rotunda of the Minnesota state Capitol on Thursday to witness a rare sight.
The Capitol's historic chandelier, grounded for two years for repairs, was raised and illuminated.
"Thou shalt be their northern star!" sang vocalist Erik Pearson, and a switch was thrown. The chandelier, known as the "disco ball" to Capitol regulars, glowed from its perch high above the floor of the Capitol rotunda.
This sight was doubly rare.
The chandelier is only lit on statehood day and other special occasions. And it has only been lowered and raised five times since it was installed in December of 1904. The last such transit was in 1979.
The chandelier and its electric lighting system, gleaming through 48,000 crystal beads, was in dry dock while the roof was repaired and new windows installed in the dome. While it sat in a box for viewing in the Capitol, it was given a thorough cleaning.
It ws known back in the day as an "electrolier," quite a tourist attraction, said Brian Pease, site manager at the Capitol for the state historical society.
"It's time to bring the electrolier back to its home - the top of the rotunda," he announced to the crowd, and the ball moved silently skyward, catching the sun through the dome's encircling windows, and finally halting near the apex.
Amid reports that Donald Trump was in danger of not getting on Minnesota's presidential ballot, the Trump campaign says everything is in order and voters will have a chance to cast their ballot for him in November.
Interest groups spent less slightly money lobbying state government in 2015 than in the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
As of Thursday, the governor and his staff have moved to down the Capitol mall to the Veterans Service Building; beginning next month the Capitol's august rotunda will close; on July 12 Capitol electricity will shut off for the day