Color photos of Missouri State Capitol zoomed into the south portico featuring a statue, columns, and bronze doors.

Missouri State Capitol Bronze Doors Restoration

State of Missouri
Architectural Design, Planning
Historic Preservation
Jefferson City, MO
Project type
F.E. Ciccone and Company
Bronze doors before restoration

Restoring the ceremonial entrance

The Missouri State Capitol’s ceremonial front entrance at the south portico features monumental, 18-foot-tall bi-fold bronze doors and two flanking bronze sliding pocket doors. An original architectural feature, the State of Missouri installed the bronze doors in May 1918—one year after it constructed the capitol—and they remained operable until the 1960s. In the 1980s, the State repaired the doors, and they remained in use until 2017, when they were reportedly closed off to reinstitute security checkpoints in the building.

Since 1918, the building has been subject to weathering, repairs, and modifications that caused the doors to corrode, discolor, and deteriorate, as well as experience mechanical failures resulting in issues that made them difficult to open. The Missouri State Capitol Commission and the State of Missouri’s Division of Facilities Management, Design & Construction (FMDC) started a project in 2021 to restore the historic bronze doors.

Bronze doors before restoration
Condition assessment testing

Planning the restoration of historic doors

Our team, working with FMDC, documented the bronze doors’ conditions and inspected the doors’ external and internal components to identify the failures in operational functionality and malfunctioning locking and latching mechanisms. The inspection identified pinch points, water damage, and rust jacking that hindered the monumental bi-folding doors. The pocket doors had impaired sliding action due to defective hardware, upper trolleys, and tracks.

Restoration will be completed by removing the doors from the capitol, transporting them to a specialty machine shop, repairing the salvageable parts, and reconstructing and reinstalling mechanical assemblies. The bronze door frames, transoms, and other bronze components will be cleaned and refinished at the capitol. Craftsman will restore the doors and the surrounding components to the original dark statuary bronze finish. The contractor will reinstall the doors once the machine shop’s work is complete.

Bronze doors before restoration
Bronze doors before restoration from inside the capitol
Photo shows a close up view of the bronze and glass transom above the Missouri State Capitol's south portico bronze doors.

Restoring tradition through historic preservation

The bronze doors have served as the backdrop to many important events at the Missouri State Capitol’s south portico since 1918. Historically, the doors serve as the governor-elect’s entrance to the State’s inauguration ceremony after they descend the ceremonial stairs leading from the governor’s office through the south portico bronze doors. This is a tradition that hasn’t been observed in recent history due to the door’s mechanical issues, but it will be honored once again after the doors are restored.

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