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Capitol Vaults

Restoration workers recently uncovered intricate oil paintings on six vault doors during the continued renovation of the Wyoming Capitol. The Capitol will reopen to the public on July 10.

Workers discovered hidden oil paintings on six vault doors during the renovation of the Wyoming Capitol, the project announced Tuesday.

Capitol Vaults

Restoration workers recently uncovered intricate oil paintings on six vault doors during the continued renovation of the Wyoming Capitol. The Capitol will reopen to the public on July 10.

EverGreene Architectural Arts discovered the work in late May on historic vault doors in the lower level of the building. Several layers of brown paint were removed. The process took between one and two days for each door, the announcement said.

“Everyone is delighted, but it was a very big surprise,” project spokeswoman Rachel Girt said.

The vault doors likely date back to before 1891, being placed during the 1888 or 1890 building phases. Wyoming became a state in 1890.

Tony Ross, the chairman of the Capitol renovation oversight group, believes the art represented Wyoming entering the grand stage and wanting people on the East Coast to know the state was ready.

“We’re not just rodeo and horses, we have sophistication,” Ross said.

All six vault doors have lettering listing Cincinnati, Ohio, and were created by Mosler Safe and Lock Co.

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Corinthian column
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Opera house posters
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Hidden door knob
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Elevator panels
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Elevator panels

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The company is known for its creation of the United States Gold Storage Vault at Fort Knox, the 50-ton safe that guards the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights, and bank vaults that withstood the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

The artist of the paintings is unknown as there is no signature, the announcement said. But whoever they are, their work will remain enshrined in the Capitol, which reopens next month.

“They’re going to put some kind of protective layer on them and they’re going to stay,” Girt said.

Ross said there have been multiple pieces of art found and other surprises throughout the renovation period and that “this is just one of those little treasures that no one knew was around.”

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House windows
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Decorative paint in old court chambers
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Historic items
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Decorative paint on first floor
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Unique paint on second floor

The public can view the vault doors at the Capitol Open House and Celebration being held at noon on July 10.

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