Video by Tom George/CNS-TV
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — It’s featured on Maryland’s state quarter, and is the oldest statehouse in continuous use in the United States. It’s also where George Washington famously resigned his commission in the Continental Army in 1783, and where Maryland’s General Assembly still meets today.
But now, the statehouse dome, which has been painted white for the last 180 years, is closed for a new paint job. Officials are now debating whether to keep the dome white, or re-paint it yellow.
Maryland State Archivist Dr. Edward Papenfuse, along with Governor Martin O’Malley and House Speaker Michael E. Busch want to keep the dome white, arguing that white is the most historically accurate representation.
But the case for yellow came up when evidence of yellow paint was found in the dome, along with sketches from 1788 which show the dome as being labeled “straw color.” Some historians also believe builders originally wanted yellow paint with black shingles to match the Maryland state colors being considered by the General Assembly at that time.
Maintenance on the dome is fairly routine, but this is the first time in recent history that there has been such a debate over the color. Still, officials hope to have the dome, which is right now covered while it’s being renovated, back in the public’s eye by end of this year.