Centennial Timeline

Capitol Construction Timeline

Centennial Abbreviated Outlines

Bob Priddy – 12/23/13

Nov. 8, 1910, voters reject bond issue for new Capitol

Sunday, Feb. 5, 1911, Fire destroys building (all times are approximate, drawn from various sources)

5:30 p.m.

Father Joseph Selinger, leaving St. Mary’s Hospital, sees storm blowing in.

6 p.m. (approximate)

First Lady Agnes Hadley in mansion thinks lightning has hit mansion. Hits capitol instead.

Pardon Attorney W. L. Chambers, who was in the governor’s office, telephones the mansion that the capitol is on fire.  Governor Hadley is entertaining about thirty newspapermen at the time at the mansion.

The city fire alarm bell rings.  Local departments under Chief Ed Gray respond with their hose carts from the Central Station in the basement of City Hall at Monroe and High Streets, from the Richmond Hill Volunteer Department at 116 Bolivar Street, the Muenichberg department at the corner of Dunklin and Washington, and the hose shed at Clark Avenue and Miller Streets.  Fire horses King and Dick, at the main station, trained to run under a “swinging harness” at the sound of the fire bell, immediately respond.

Governor Hadley  telephones Warden Henry Andrae at the state penitentiary, tells him to bring all guards he can spare.  Orders Adjutant General Frank M. Rumbold to call out Company L, Second Infantry Regiment of the state militia.

Governor calls local Missouri Pacific  superintendent, who sends squad of railroad employees to help the fire fighters.  Every foot of hose that can be found in the city is taken to the scene.

Hadley, after consulting with local architect Fred Binder about the safety of the burning building, runs with Binder to his office, instructing private secretary Charles Thompson, his stenographer, Mrs. Mary Leo, Pardon Attorney Chambers, and Sam Haley, another stenographer, to get everything together and be ready to move although he felt the fire could still be brought under control.

Other state officers arrive at their offices with their department clerks, janitors and volunteers.

A steady stream of legislators filing up and down the stairs, carrying books and papers out, dumping them on the lawn.

Senate Secretary Robert McClintic is one of the first officials of the legislature to decide the battle would be lost. He saves every record he can.  Senators and clerks save all the important senate records.  When the senate records start moving out, other state officials start their efforts.

Company L, members wearing khaki and rubber service coats, arrive about the same time Deputy Warden Gilvin arrives with 12 negro convicts.

State officials go to the capitol and begin organizing records for removal in case fire cannot be stopped.   Secretary of State one of the first in the building.

For half an hour “the flames unchecked ate into the bid dome and then crawled around it down to the roof of the central, or main, building.”

Henry J. Vetter, Frank Kuntz and Arthur Scruggs among the men who climbed into the dome with Chief Ed Gray, stringing a hose with them, getting as close as possible.  The fire drives them back step by step to the main floor, where hoses were turned onto the building from the outside.

6:45 p.m.

Dome crashes through into the corridor below, covering the great seal of the state inlaid on the main floor under the dome.

House chamber is the first of the legislative halls to go.  An effort was made to save oil paintings of McKinley, Garfield, Lincoln, Benton and Jefferson, but none could be saved.

Sen. M. E. Casey stays in Senate chamber at great risk to rescue paintings of Thomas Jefferson and others.

8:30 p.m.

Secretary of State orders the historic land records dating from the days of the French, be removed from his office. Also orders the Great Seal moved.  Senator-elect Reed and Senator F. M. Wilson respond by forming a long line stretching from the Capitol to the supreme court building, passing books and records from one hand to another.  In less than 40 minutes the last of them had been removed except those things in the fireproof time vault.   A good thing because at 9:10, the situation suddenly got worse.  :

Police officers under Chief Richter, patrol the halls, keeping idle spectators out of the way of those who were working, preventing doors and steps leading to the building from being blockaded.

Piles and piles of books were handed along lines.  Fully two-thirds of the male population of Jefferson City and all the members of the legislature and employees in the city helped save what “they all knew to be exceedingly valuable property.”

“Desks were tumbled down the long stairways leading to the building, books were thrown about topsy turvy and in thirty minutes the south side of the capitol park was an indiscriminate mass of books, papers and furniture.  Wagons drove back and forth gathering up load after load, and long rows of men carried the removable property into the old Supreme Court building, where they will be kept for the present. “

In the line of workers were many women and girls employed in state depts..  Miss Mary Lee, Mrs. Annie Baxter and Pauline Roach, of the secretary of state’s office, were among those who worked heroically.  “They knew from experience with the records just what to take and what to leave.  There were few idlers about the buildings.

  1. P. Evans, state superintendent of schools, got all the valuable records from his office and several desks but the library was destroyed.

The insurance Department, the first of the state offices to burn, was entered by the Superintendent and his forces who got the more important papers out.

Treasurer’s office, records all removed, and four streams of water were kept constantly playing all night on the big vault where money, bonds and legislative scrip were stored.

Second floor, well-cleared of valuable records by the time the roof fell in on the house and senate.

The governor’s quarters and offices of the secretary of state were last.

8:30 p.m.

Wooden timbers supporting metal sheathing crumble and the upper dome falls onto north side of the buildings, setting fire to roof of the House of Representatives. Timbers also fall to floor of rotunda, covering inlaid state seal.

8:43 p.m.

Mayor John F. “King” Heinrichs, calls  Sedalia mayor J. W. Mellor asking to use the Sedalia fire department.   The huge steam engine and hose cart from company #2 are pulled to the MOPAC depot where they waited for a special train.   (see 10:18)

9:10 p.m.

Roofs of both wings collapse about the same time.  Governor, other officials, and volunteers flee for their lives.

Joseph Frank, volunteer fireman, carried from the building half suffocated, but revives when reaches the air.  Senate Secretary R. S.  McClintic and his clerks carrying out senate records when a skylight collapsed over their heads.  McClintic escapes injury by grabbing a tin bucket to use as a helmet to protect himself from flying glass.  Others use willow baskets but a few are still cut.

10:18 p.m.

Train made up of locomotive and tender, two flat cars for equipment, a coach for the firemen, newsmen and a few others, and a caboose  leaves Sedalia with fire equipment and crew, Chief W. H. Paul and four men .  Conductor Walter Mann and Trainmaster C. M. Hunt in charge. John Overmier was the engineer. The train carries the steam engine pump and a hose cart from Sedalia Fire Company #2.  MOPAC gave it the right of way all the way to Jefferson City. Engineer Overmier pulls the throttle wide open….cover the 65 miles in 74 minutes.  Arrive 11:32 p.m.

4 a.m.

The water main breaks in the 800 block of West Main Street, perhaps caused by a stone wall falling on a fire hose, causing back pressure that might have caused the break.  However Jefferson City resident John Sturm remembered the water company put heavy pressure from the pumping station near the river  and it was more than the line could bear.

Gov Hadley personally directed the small army of legislators, National Guardsmen, volunteer firemen and convicts.  He was assisted by US Senator-elect James A. Reed, warden Henry Andrae of the penitentiary,   AG Frank M. Rumbold, and all department chiefs.


Monday, Feb. 6, 1911

8 a.m.

Sedalia FD returns home after being served breakfast at the Madison House Hotel, praising “King” Heinrichs, the mayor of JC, and the entire people of JC.  Sedalia newspaper reported the cost to the state of the special train was $126.

Legislature convenes, the Senate in the Cole County Courthouse, the House in the Jefferson City Theatre (also known as the Jefferson Opera House.)  After this day the Senate moves to the Supreme Court Building, Division II and the House moves to St. Peters Hall.

Governor Hadley sends special message to legislature saying it has no power to change the location of the capital city unless the state constitution is changed through a public vote.

12 p.m.

Jonas Viles, University of Missouri history professor, arrives by train from Columbia, asks for permission to remove water-soaked and frozen papers to State Historical Society in Columbia.


Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2011, Water supply restored.  Fire put out.


Feb. 9, 1911, Bill introduced in House to appropriate $5 million for a new Capitol, financed by a bond issue.


Feb. 13-14, 1911, Dome of the Capitol ruins collapses.


Feb. 16, 2011, Inmate Ned Henry paroled by Hadley for service in fighting fire.


Feb. 17, 2011, Inmate John Trigg paroled for service in fighting fire.


Feb. 23, Inmate William Wedley paroled for service in fighting fire.


Feb. 26, Inmate Harrison “Bear” Clay paroled for service in fighting fire.


March 25, 1911, Governor Hadley signs two bond issue bills. One is for August 1 vote leaving capital in Jefferson City. If it fails to get 2/3 vote, Missourians will decide on a larger bond issue in November with no location listed and a simple majority needed.


Aug. 1, 1911, Voters approve bond issue to build new Capitol in Jefferson City, eliminating need for a second election in November that would have provided more money but left the location of the capital city open.


Oct. 6, 1911, First meeting of the Capitol Commission Board


Nov. 3, 1911, J. Kelly Pool elected Secretary to the Board.


Dec. 13, 1911, L. Bayard Pendleton of St. Louis appointed advisory architect.


Jan. 19, 1912, Contract closed for purchase of additional property.


April 29, 1912, John T. Short of Jefferson City named superintendent of construction.


Oct. 6, 1912, Tracy and Swartwout of New York (Evarts Tracy & Egerton Swartwout) appointed architects.


Nov. 6, 1912, Board of Permanent Seat of Government ratifies decision


April 21, 1913, Contract for foundation let to T. H. Johnson, Sedalia


May 6, 1913, groundbreaking


Aug. 16, 1913, Contract for powerhouse issued to A. Anderson of St. Louis


Sept. 25, 1913, Carpenters S. C. Hyde and Ira H. Green are killed by the cave-in of a 40-feet deep hole being dug down to bedrock for construction of a piling.  First two fatalities on the project.


Nov. 18, 1913, Contract issued to John Gill & Sons of Cleveland, Ohio, for superstructure.  Kermode F. Gill, one of the sons, is the point man for the Capitol project.


Dec. 5, 1913, Foundation finished.


Aug. 10, 1914, Construction crewman Samuel Ritchie dies in 156-foot fall from steel dome girder.


Aug. 12, 1914, Three women and eleven men lifted 280 feet in a boat to the dome where they raised an American flag celebrating completion of the steel work..


Oct. 19, 1914, Construction worker Tony Templeton dies of injuries suffered in a fall from a wall while building the Capitol power plant.


Nov. 7, 1914, first of an estimated five-milliion bricks laid.  Each member of the commission lays one brick in a special ceremony.


Dec. 21, 1914, First shipment of stone from Carthage arrives.


Dec. 31, 1914, First stone set on an exterior wall of the building.


April 19, 1915, Board approves columns of Vermont Royal Antique Marble for the Senate, Windsor Green Granit monoliths for the House.


May 11, 1915, Board decides on Missouri Red Granite for first floor columns.


June 21, 1915, Board approves hiring of Harvard acoustics professor Wallace Sabine to study anticipated sound reflection problems off stone walls in House and Senate chambers.


June 15, 1915, H. Robert Deighton electrocuted while operating a motor at the Carthage stone-cutting plant where stone was being prepared for the Capitol.


June 24, 1915, Laying of the cornerstone.


Nov. 19, 1915, Foreman Henry T. Smith crushed when 25-30 ton piece of Carthage stone being quarried for the Capitol falls on him.


Feb. 23, 1916, Six columns arrive from Iron County for the first floor rotunda.


March 30, 1916, Columns for House of Representatives taken inside building for installation


May 22, 1916, Workers start setting stone columns on the south front entrance.


May 23, 1916, Workmen put stone cap on dome


June 22, 1916, Board asks Contractor John Gill & Sons to submit proposal for installation of acoustic felt in House and Senate, upon advice from Sabine.


July 1, 1916, Original completion date for building.


Sept. 12, 1916, Board approves an 11 ½ foot diameter chandelier to be placed in the rotunda, suspended on a 96-foot chain.


Oct. 15, 1916, Board approves the quotations to be carved inside and outside the building.


Oct. 26, 1916, First formal event in the Capitol: The Missouri Democratic Club held a rally. But it was only for White Democrats.  The Negro Democratic Club met in a building behind the Cole County Courthouse.


Nov. 1, 1916, steam heat turned on in the building for the first time.


Dec. 5, 1916, Officials and guests formally place capstone on the dome.


Dec. 6, 1916, Board decides on wording to be carved in the cornerstone which had been in place since June 24, 1915.


Jan. 2, 1917, Governor Major, Board members, and other officials transact the first official business in the new Capitol when the Governor signs a copy of his message to the General Assembly “fumed oak room of the Governor’s suite…being the Governor’s private office.”


Jan. 8, 1917, Governor Frederick Gardner inaugurated in first outdoor inauguration in Missouri history because facilities in the temporary Capitol were inadequate and plans to hold the swearing-in in one of the wings of the new building became controversial because of limited issuance of tickets. The first inaugural ball is held at the Capitol. Previous events had been in the Governor’s Mansion.


March 16, 1917, The House and Senate leave the temporary Capitol and meet for the first time in the House and Senate chambers in the new building using temporary chairs and desks.


April 10, 1917, Governor Gardner appoints a five-member Capitol Decoration Commission.


May 9, 1917, Contract let for construction of terrace walls.


May 14, 1917, August Baker falls into a 12-foot hole while working under the roof of the Capitol, dies of a fractured skull.


June 25, 1917, Capitol dome illuminated for the first time.


July 4, 1917, Original dedication date.  Cancelled because building not completed and finished.


July 12, 1917, contract let to St. Louis Brass Col for electrical fixtures


Aug. 9, 1917, Contract for floor coverings and drapes let to J. Kennard & Sons, St. Louis


Aug. 17, 1917, Contract for furnishings let to Globe-Wernicke, St. Louis


Sept. 8, 1917, Gill turns building over to Capitol Commission


Sept. 13, 1917, Board accepts master key and custody of the building.


Sept. 13, 1917, Contractor turns over the building to the state.

Sept. 28, 1917, All documents and agreements are signed by the board, contractor, and architect making the building the official State Capitol.


Oct. 9, 1917, Contract let for construction of House and Senate Rostra.


Oct. 15, 1917, State agencies begin to move into the new building.


Jan. 2, 1918, Gorham Architectural Bronze Door Company ships the great bronze doors for the south front of the building. Doors apparently off-loaded somewhere and freight car rerouted to carry war material.


Feb. 21, 1918, The bronze doors arrive.  Installation will not take place until summer.


Feb. 25, 1918, Boxcars filled with desks and chairs for the House and Senate arrive.


April 16, 1918, U. S. Senator William Joel Stone, former Governor, becomes the first person to lie in state in the rotunda.


June 24, 1918, second date set for dedication (third anniversary of laying of the cornerstone).  Cancelled because of war complications.


Aug. 20, 1918, The first wedding is held in the Capitol. A judge married Lewis Abott of Tulsa and Cecile Weeks of Jefferson City in the rotunda.


Oct. 5, 1918—third date established for dedication. Cancelled because of war complications.


Oct. 24, 1918—electricity turned on for the rotunda chandelier for the first time.


Dec. 24, 1918, “Adjourned indefinitely,” writes Commissioner Theo Lacaff in his journal.


Oct. 31, 1918, Flag hoisted over the Capitol, lights left on at night to celebrate the practical completion of the building.


Dec. 6, 1918, Board of the Permanent Seat of Government announces the first restaurant in the Capitol will open in time for the legislative session.


Jan. 8, 1919, Fiftieth General Assembly convenes in the Capitol for the first full session of the legislature in the new building.


Feb. 5, 1919, Capitol Commission Board makes its final report to the General Assembly on the eighth anniversary of the Capitol fire.


Jan. 22, 1919, Restaurant opens in the Capitol.  Waffles with honey for twenty cents; a small steak for a quarter; a bowl of soup for a dime; a sirloin steak was sixty cents and pie was five cents a slice.


Feb. 15, 1919, First crime in the Capitol. Burglars steal $15 from a call box next to the Senate Cloak Room.


Oct. 6-7, 1919, First meeting of the Missouri unit of the American Legion is held in the House Chamber.


Sept. 14, 1920, First violent incident at the Capitol although no charges were ever filed. Former legislator Edward “Jelly Roll” Hogan, the leader of one of the rival Irish gangs of St. Louis (the other was Hogan’s Rats), attends meeting of Democratic legislators in Jefferson City to pick a new committeewoman from St. Louis. Former State Democratic Committee Chairman Ben Neale and Hogan disagree on the choice.  After the meeting, Neale is beaten as he walks down the steps on the east side of the building by Hogan and city committeeman John Byrne. Hogan denies his involvement but there was no doubt he started the incident and Byrne finished it by kicking Neale in the face (recounted in Daniel Waugh’s Gangs of St.Louis, 45)


Jan. 31, 1922, Evarts Tracy, architect, dies in Paris.


July 25, 1922, Lights along the driveways are turned on for the first time.


Dec. 29, 1922, Capitol Commission Board holds its last meeting.


April 24, 1924, Capitol Commission Board member A. A. Speer writes to Chairman E. W. Stephens suggesting a dedication ceremony be held while all four board members are still alive. Suggests Oct. 6, the thirteenth anniversary of the board’s first meeting.


Oct. 6, 1924, dedication of the building, finally.  Heavy rain washes out the last act of the pageant.
Crowds gathered for the dedication of the new capitol
View Photos from Capitol Dedication Day

Oct. 29, 1924, Sherry Fry’s bronze statue of Ceres is lifted to the dome of the Capitol.


Jan. 22, 1925, first violent crime inside the Capitol.  A robber threatens Rep. Fred Frye of Dade County with a pistol and demands money.  Frye takes away the pistol and clubs the robber, who runs away.


June 8, 1925, Capitol Commission Board member Theo Lacaff dies at 83.


Dec. 1, 1927, Herbert Hadley, the Governor when the Capitol burned, dies at age 55.


May 22, 1931, Capitol Commission Board Chairman Edwin W. Stephens, dies at age 82.

Dec. 18, 1933, Frederick D. Gardner, who appointed the Capitol Decoration Commission, dies. He was 64.


Nov. 20, 1935, Death of Alfred A. Speer, Capitol Commission Board member, dies at 77.


Feb. 14, 1942, Joseph C. A. Hiller, dies at 86, the last of the Capitol Commission Board members to die.


Feb. 18, 1943, Egerton Swartwout dies in New York.


Oct. 17, 1947, Arthur M. Hyde, first Governor to serve his entire term in the new Capitol, dies at 70.


July 12, 1951, Kermode Gill,  Capitol Contractor, dies in Cleveland. Company goes out of business two years later.


July 9, 1959, Governor Elliot Major, who transacted the first official act in the new Capitol, dies. 84.


Jan. 25, 1980, State Archivist Gary Behan gets a call from the Capitol that some old records have been found in the basement.  They are the almost complete records of the Capitol Commission Board, including minutes, journals, and a series of photographs by T. G. Cooper who took his camera to the roof of the Supreme Court building every two weeks to document progress on the construction of the building.


Jan. 3, 1990, Restored House Chamber rededicated.

2001, Senate meets in restored chamber.


July 1, 2001, budget for FY 2001-02 includes $500,000  to study ways to make Capitol ADA-complaint. Part of the study is to include moving employees out of the Missouri Department of Transportation Building and shifting some offices in the Capitol to the MODOT building (also designed by Swartwout) to create better ADA access to legislative offices in the Capitol. Plan also calls for studying feasibility of a fifth floor on the Capitol or building an underground museum/office space on the north side—originally proposed as a Mel Carnahan memorial museum.

Aug. 28, 2001, Legislation goes into effect creating the Second Capitol Commission, originally intended to raise and hold money for publication of a book by Bob Priddy and Jeffrey Ball about the construction and decoration of the Capitol.

Sept. 11, 2001, Terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania cause economy to go into tailspin, forcing reallocation of Capitol restoration funds.


Dec. 30, 2004, One of the 600-pound front chandeliers in the Senate falls, crushing a pages bench in front of the rostrum but not damaging the rostrum. No one was in the chamber when it fell.  The bench was rebuilt by prison industries and is indistinguishable from the others.  The chandelier was repaired and is in service today.


Nov. 10, 2006, Rotunda chandelier, lowered for re-lamping and the installation of a new cable, falls about five feet after weight is put on the new cable overnight.  Repairs cost about one-half million dollars. They include installation of some new lights that improve illumination of the rotunda.


Feb. 5, 2011, Fire trucks from several departments surround Capitol for centennial observance of the 1911 fire.


May 11, 2011, Book signing in rotunda marks debut of “The Art of the Missouri Capitol” book by Priddy and Ball, almost ten years after bill creating Second Capitol Commission went into effect.

May 6, 2013, ceremonies in rotunda observe centennial of groundbreaking for new capitol.