State Capitol 'Treasure' Hunt Underway

July 14, 2017 06:12 PM

Indiana Jones had his "Holy Grail," and Natalie Heneghan has hers. In fact, she has several hundred.

"Cass Gilbert had a very particular vision, I think, for the State Capitol," Heneghan said. "It was so intricately designed."

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He not only had a vision for the building itself, but also the furnishings he designed specifically for the Capitol.

"The bench I'm sitting on is not an ordinary bench," Heneghan said while sitting in the Capitol rotunda. "It's quite ornate, and this was part of Cass Gilbert's vision that complemented his exterior design."

Gilbert was the architect of the State Capitol that opened in 1905. He designed about 1,600 pieces of furniture for the building, but only about 800 are still there. That's why Heneghan has her Indiana Jones hat on, at least figuratively.

Heneghan is the project manager for an effort by the Cass Gilbert Society to locate and document as many of the missing pieces of furniture as possible. The society doesn't want to retrieve them, but simply to document where they are and how they're now being used.

"That's been the cool part: to meet the people who have a chair from the Capitol building or have a chair from the House chambers in their family office and have used it and loved it and taken care of it," Heneghan said. 

When new furniture was purchased in the 1960s and 1970s, some old furniture was sold to lawmakers or others, and some was likely discarded.

As Heneghan continues to track down missing items, she will post pictures and historical information about them on the Cass Gilbert Society website and on the society's Facebook page.

Credits

Tom Hauser

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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