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New sculpture installed on top of Vermont Statehouse

November 30, 2018
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A newly carved sculpture of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, is lifted by crane to the top of the Vermont Statehouse dome on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Montpelier, Vt. The 14-foot statue replaces an 80-year-old one that was removed this past spring over concerns that it was rotting. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A newly carved sculpture of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, is now standing on top of the Vermont Statehouse.

On Friday, the 14-foot (4-meter) wooden sculpture was raised by crane to its new home, the top of the Statehouse’s golden dome.

A large crowd turned out for the event, many getting photos taken with the sculpture while it was on the ground.

It’s the third Ceres statue to grace the top of the state capitol building. The previous one was 80 years old and was removed over concerns of rotting. The removal was part of a nearly $2 million project to renovate the Statehouse dome.

Sculptor Jerry Williams designed and created a model for the new statue and sculptor Chris Miller carved the new 14-foot (4 meter) piece out of mahogany at the Vermont Granite Museum in Barre, where the public could watch him work.

“This statue is a testament to our history and their craft,” Republican Gov. Phil Scott said at Friday’s dedication ceremony.

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson said the size of the crowd showed how meaningful the statue is to residents.

“The fact that we have our history and an anchor of our state as agriculture dominating our dome and the goddess looking over us as we do our work in the Legislature is an incredibly important testament to what our values are in Vermont, what is important to us and what we honor in this state,” Johnson said.

Windham County state Sen. Becca Balint said a new legislator had repeatedly asked if Ceres would be up before the legislative session starts.

“Like so many of us we are hesitant to start our important work without this formidable goddess watching over us,” Balint told the crowd.

The previous Ceres was created in 1938 by former Statehouse Sergeant-at-Arms Dwight Dwinell, who whittled the head while the Statehouse custodial staff carved the body. The first statue was installed in 1859.

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