Statue of Roman Goddess, Ceres, removed from Capitol dome for refurbishment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- "It a very impressive piece of bronze," said Gayle Unruh of Jefferson City. "I think Missouri is very proud of her based on how many people are here today, including myself."

The statue of Ceres, the Roman Goddess of Agriculture, was suspended in mid-air while being removed from the Missouri Capitol dome for refurbishment on 11/15/2018

"She looks good for her age," mused Sylvester Schulte of Eldon.

Those were some of the first impressions Missourians had of Ceres, who for the last 94 years, hasn't been seen anywhere except the top of the Capitol Dome.

She's off to Chicago with a conservator to be refurbished.

"It's a nonabrasive system. There will be a lot of waxing of the statue. So, then when she comes back, she will look just beautiful again," said Cathy Brown of the Missouri Office of Administration.

The process to get the 10-foot-four-inch, 2,000 pound statue from her perch atop the People's House started at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Ceres was on the ground nearly five hours later.

"The process of removing Ceres was very intricate," Brown said. " [It] took a lot of time. This isn't something you just go up and wrap some straps around the statue and remove her."

Ceres' so called "spa-year" won't take a full year to complete, but that's how long contractors expect the work around the Capitol to be take before she can go back on the dome.

It's a project that started in the Spring of 2018 to stop the amount of water getting through the stone of the building.

It is expected to wrap up in December 2020 - a month before the next inauguration.

"I was up there yesterday. I can tell you, until you get up close and look at that, you can see some deterioration from the ground just naturally, but when you get up and look at it, it's amazing somebody didn't get hurt," said Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. "The stones are that deteriorated, there's that much separation in some of the joints. So, this project is very timely for the safety of all Missourians that come down, thousands per year, to enjoy the Capitol. So, I'm really happy we're getting all of this done."

If you missed your chance to see Ceres up close, the Office of Administration says you'll have another chance when she's refurbished, before she resumes her watch over the Capitol.