The event begins at 6 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda with welcoming remarks and a brief tour of the building. A reception and book signing will follow in the Culture Center with award-winning authors Ann Thomas Wilkins and David G. Wilkins.
Cass Gilbert’s West Virginia State Capitol examines the importance of this often overlooked architectural accomplishment, solidifying its significance as a socio-political symbol as well as its place within the history of American public architecture.
At the turn of the 20th century, West Virginia was in the throes of its formative years as a state. After more than two decades of alternating its government seat between Wheeling and Charleston and the destruction of the original Gothic Revival capitol in Charleston by fire in 1921, a building commission was formed to create a permanent capitol that would display the young state’s pride, wealth and sophistication to the entire nation.
To achieve these goals, the legislature approved a budget of more than $6.5 million for the design and construction of the new statehouse and a commission appointed by the governor hired internationally renowned Cass Gilbert as the architect.
Cass Gilbert’s West Virginia State Capitol not only examines the design, construction, execution and cultural importance of this public building, but also reveals the social, political and financial climate of West Virginia during the period it was built.
Cass Gilbert’s design process is traced through unpublished documentation, drawings, and letters from several archives. More than 100 accompanying photographs—many historical and others newly commissioned for this book—divulge the subtle beauty of the Capitol complex.
Ann Thomas Wilkins retired as associate professor of classics at Duquesne University. She is author of “Villain or Hero: Sallust’s Portrayal of Catiline.”
David G. Wilkins is professor emeritus of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. He served as both director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Art Gallery and as chair of the department. In 2005 he was honored by the College Art Association with its national award for the Distinguished Teaching of Art History.
The event is free of charge, but reservations are recommended. E-mail UniversityEvents@mail.wvu.edu by June 5 if you plan to attend.
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