The Dome and Lightning Rod


The Second Dome: 1785-1794

1st Dome

According to the Intendent of Revenue, Daniel St. Thomas Jenifer, the first dome of the State House was a contradiction of architectural design. A survey of the timbers in 1784 revealed that they were so decayed by water damage that a new dome would be required.

"It was originally constructed contrary to all rules of architecture; it ought to have been built double instead of single, and a staircase between the two domes, leading up to the lanthorn. The water should have been carried off by eaves, instead of being drawn to the center of the building, to two small conductors, which are liableto be choked by ice, and overflowed by rains. That it was next to impossible, under present construction, that it could have been made tight".

On February 24, 1785 Jenifer placed a notice in the Maryland Gazette for carpenters work to be made to the dome and roof under the execution of Joseph Clark

"The work We are a Doing is to put a Roof on the Governor's House and we are going to take the Roof of the State house and it is a going to Raise it one story higher and the Doom is to be Sixty foot higher then the old one".

Clark raised the pitch of the dome to facilitate the runoff of excess water, the chief reason the timbers rotted in the original dome.

"The Annapolis dome is in its proportions like the original Karlsruhe tower. Possibly its more classical feeling is a result of the universal trend of architectural styles rather than the influence of the altered Schlossturm. Yet the arched windows below the architrave in Annapolis, one with the lower part closed, are like the windows below the Architrave in Karlsruhe in all of which the lower parts are closed. The horizontal oval windows below the main curving section of the dome in Annapolis resemble the vertical ovals in the equivalent part of the Karlsruhe tower. The small square windows above the balustrades and the architraves themselves in both buildings are similarly placed."