SALEM, Ore. — There will be birthday candles for Oregon’s state Capitol as a weeklong celebration of the building’s 75th birthday begins Saturday, but there won’t be any flames — not in a state that has twice lost its government headquarters to fire.
Instead, there will be large light bulbs in the big candles ringing the Oregon Pioneer statue atop the Capitol dome, the Salem Statesman Journal reported.
The current Capitol was dedicated Oct. 1, 1938. It replaced one that burned in 1935. That building replaced one that burned in 1855 after it was open for just 11 days.
The 1855 fire followed years of wrangling over whether to have the seat of government in Oregon City, Corvallis, Eugene or Salem, and the fire renewed the controversy.
The Capitol eventually was rebuilt in Salem, and the completed structure was modeled with a dome similar to the U.S. Capitol’s. It opened in 1876.
The current Capitol was designed by Francis Keally with the New York architecture firm Trowbridge & Livingston.
The building was closed for two days in 2008 after a fire on the terrace of the governor’s office, but there was no talk of relocating the capital.
The birthday lights atop the Capitol will be up through Oct. 5, and there will be exhibits and activities to mark the occasion.
For those who attend the Oct. 1 birthday ceremony Tuesday afternoon, there will be free cake and cupcakes for the first 600 guests.