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February 13, 2014

Historic lamp back in Senate chamber

Oklahoma City — It’s been almost 100 years since the nine-foot-tall bronze lamp shone its light at the state Capitol, but now it is back in its original home—the Senate Chamber.  

Eleven others just like it once helped light the chamber, although no one is exactly sure when they were removed or where they were taken.  But now the lamp is back in the Senate, where it was first placed when the building was completed in 1917.

“We are exceedingly grateful to have this historic lamp back in the Senate chamber,” said Trait Thompson, Chair of the Capitol Preservation Commission.  “This beautiful piece is a direct tie to the history of the State Capitol.  It serves to remind us of those who blazed the trail to create our wonderful state over 100 years ago.”

Last summer a Senate staffer was working in an attic space in the Capitol building and discovered 11 of the wall sconces that had originally been in the chamber.  

Coy Green, of Norman, saw a newspaper article about the discovery and the 1918 photo of the chamber. He immediately noticed the tall floor lamps and realized he had one of them.  He’d found it at an Oklahoma City swap meet some 40 years ago and bought it for about $25.  It had been stored in his barn ever since.  He and his wife, Debbie, returned the lamp to the Senate in July.

“When I saw the picture, I knew it was a Senate lamp,” Green said at the time. “We were very happy, and it’s good to be able to do this—it needs to be home.”

On Tuesday, Senate Floor Leader Mike Schulz pointed the lamp out to members of the Senate and told them how the Greens had returned the lamp last summer.

“It is in unbelievable condition for the life that it’s been through,” said Schulz, R-Altus, adding it was hoped that additional historic pieces would be discovered and returned to the Capitol in the future.  “If you see something that you think might be of historical significance, bring it up and we’ll find out.”

Anyone who believes they may have an original piece from the Senate Chamber, such as a lighting fixture or other historic pieces, are asked to call Thompson or Randy Dowell, Senate Chief of Staff at (405) 524-0126.

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