The year-long odyssey of the Ceres statue from atop the Missouri Capitol reached its conclusion Tuesday morning as Ceres was lifted back to the summit of the building's dome — after some uncertainty in the days and hours before about whether the heavy lift would happen Tuesday.
Lanette Woodland, of Jefferson City, marveled from 238 feet below on the Capitol-side sidewalk of West High Street.
"It's historical, (a) very momentous occasion. It's Missouri history — Missouri history in the making," Woodland said of the moment.
She said she would not have missed Ceres being raised back up, having come with a neighbor despite the bitter cold temperature — which Woodland also recalled of the weather on the day she watched Ceres being taken down.
Ceres was taken down in November 2018 and transported to Objects Studio Inc., at Forest Park, Illinois, for conservation treatments by laser.
The statue was transported back to Jefferson City earlier this month and was publicly displayed the weekend of Dec. 6 on the Capitol grounds.
A few dozen other onlookers braved the frigid air Tuesday to view Ceres' return to the top of the Capitol, including groups of children in front of the Selinger Exhibit Hall and St. Peter Church.
The date for a 550-ton crane to raise the 10-foot, 4-inch and 1,407-pound bronze Ceres back to the top of the dome had not been confirmed with the commissioner's office of Missouri's Office of Administration on Monday morning.
When the announcement was made later Monday afternoon, though — that the plan was to raise Ceres on Tuesday sometime between 9 a.m. and noon — the operation was still contingent on the weather, as wind speed could not exceed 8-10 mph, and snow or ice could not be falling.
The OA's Facilities Management, Design and Construction office and Bulley & Andrews Masonry Restoration monitored the weather and could have changed the time and date for safety reasons, OA spokesman Chris Moreland said.
Bulley & Andrews is the Chicago-based company leading the renovations of the Capitol, including the work on Ceres.
On Tuesday, the Twitter account for Ceres, @Ceres_MO, tweeted a few minutes after 8 a.m. that problematic weather had held off, and the lift was a go.
A horn blast signaled the start of the lift at about 9:30 a.m.
However, not everyone wanted Ceres to go back up to the top the dome.
State Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, released a letter earlier this month asking Gov. Mike Parson to "direct the Capitol Commission to not return the false god Ceres, the Roman goddess, to the top of the Capitol dome."
Ceres is the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. Images and likenesses of Ceres also adorn the dome of Vermont's statehouse, the Chicago Board of Trade building and the state seal of New Jersey — and Ceres is the name of a dwarf planet that's also the largest object in the asteroid belt between the planets of Mars and Jupiter, also named after Roman gods.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't on top of it," Moon said last week of why he did not raise his objection through his letter until after Ceres had been taken down and returned from conservation treatments.
Moon said he would not have spoken up if Ceres had been left atop the dome.
The stone of the lantern, or cupola, beneath Ceres' base atop the dome had been compromised due to exposure to the weather, and that structure was taken apart and lifted back up.
With Ceres back and the money already spent to have the statue restored, Moon said it ought to be housed indoors in a climate-controlled environment — and he would be fine with that being inside the state Capitol's museum.
He said his issue was merely with Ceres being atop the dome again and said a lightning rod could take the statue's place.
"If the plan can't be changed, that's the way it is," Moon said.
For people who missed Ceres being lifted back to the top of the Capitol, the OA recorded the event from the Harry S. Truman State Office Building and livestreamed it on Facebook, available at www.facebook.com/MissouriOA/videos/789137118225845/. Ceres becomes visible in the lift at about the 46-minute mark.
Ceres' Twitter account,
@Ceres_MO, also shared photos from the top of the Capitol as the statue was lowered into place.