Dr. Richard Bergen, Salina sculptor, created Ad Astra, a bronze Kanza Indian, to place
on the top of the dome of the Kansas state capitol building. Monday, Oct. 7, 2002 it was raised.


Ad Astra on the Kansas capitol dome

the statue
"Ad Astra" is part of the Kansas motto: "Ad Astra Per Aspera" (To the stars through difficulty). The statue is 20' 2" & 4,420 lbs. Kansas was named after the Kanza Indians, who were native to this area. The arrow is to point at the North Star.
Ad Astra on the ground onlookers admire the statue Kanza brave detail statue from the back statue and capitol building
the crowd
Hundreds of area residents, school children, and visitors arrived during the lunch hour to watch the statue being raised. People perched on rooftops. Dignitaries came to be photographed with the statue. The news media was there in force. A helicopter and a small plane circled capitol square.

spectators get comfortable as they await the lifting crowd at statue's base view of partial crowd from capitol steps spectators watch from nearby roof

strapping up the statue
A crane 450 feet high was used to lift the statue, which had been wrapped in nylon slings. Rehearsals gave the lifting crew some time to experiment before the lift. Steve Smith ran the crane.

staff on lift wrap statue in slings positioning slings statue legs wrapped in slings slings in position and attached to crane crane operator, Steve Smith,  is the man of the hour

lifting the statue
The lifting took about 20 minutes, starting about 1 p.m.
view nearly blocked by building rising by dome statue at edge of dome nearing the top
in transit nearly there grabbed by workmen positioning on base
view on dome from the west capitol with no statue
capitol with statue

Postscript: The crowd went home happy--only to learn that the statue was removed
from the dome that evening around 5:00. There was a problem with the screw mounts
in Ad Astra's base matching those in the mounting plate on the dome.
After three days of repair, the statue went back up to the dome. The second time it fit.

Scaffolding was removed in late October.

Read Statue tops dome in 'a monumental moment,' by Jim McLean, Topeka Capital-Journal 10/10/2002

All photos © 2002 by Carol Yoho
Visit Acme e-media archive

Send comments about this site