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The Library of Congress, Washington, DC

The Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress in Washington, DC is one of the largest national libraries in the world. Before this building was constructed, the Library of Congress was housed in the U.S. Capitol’s west center building, but it eventually outgrew this space. In 1886, it was decided that the library should have its own location. In 1897, the new Library of Congress building was completed. At this time, it was the largest and more expensive library building in the world; its design incorporating many luxurious materials such as marble, granite, bronze, gold, and of course a tremendous amount of decorative copper work.

Over time, the copper cupola and main dome which covers the central reading room began to age and deteriorate. More than 70 sheet metal contractors were approached to handle this historic restoration project, but Heather & Little was ultimately awarded the job.

Along with James Myers Co. of Maryland, our team worked to replicate the pressed ornamental copper stampings, decorative sheet metal elements, cornice for the building’s main dome, lantern, and “Flame of Knowledge” finial. Using sheet metal copper and a combination of traditional and modern techniques, our craftsmen carefully reproduced the original ornamental features of the distinctive dome atop the Library of Congress.

We are also pleased to note that this project was awarded the NRCA Gold Circle Award for outstanding craftsmanship in restoration. To learn more about our work on the Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress, browse the images below:

Preservation Consulting

And if you are looking for a second opinion on your project or have a particularly complex issue that needs a fresh eye, we’re here for that too. Tackling tricky challenges is our specialty and we welcome the opportunity to provide consulting advice, with the same exacting attention to detail we bring to all our commissions.
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