Renovations on Cherokee National Capitol begins
TAHLEQUAH – According to a Cherokee Nation press release, the tribe has started interior renovations of the Cherokee National Capitol building that are expected to help prepare it to serve as a museum in future years.
“We are beginning the interior restoration of our most iconic building,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Because so much critical history has happened on those premises, it’s important we take the proper steps to ensure its preservation for future generations. This historic structure will soon begin a new chapter as a museum that will educate Cherokees and visitors alike about the powerful and inspiring story of the Cherokee people.”
According to CN Communications, Cherokee Nation Businesses is funding the project and Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism is managing it. Officials said the estimated budget for renovations is $2.3 million.
The project consists of plaster restoration, new public restrooms, new flooring, a new geothermal HVAC system and the addition of an elevator and second stairwell, the release states.
“Preservation projects are one of the most rewarding investments we can make,” CNB CEO Shawn Slaton said. “Once renovations are complete, this iconic building will serve as a museum and further expand the tribe’s impressive tourism offerings within the Cherokee Nation.”
The release states that Builders Unlimited, a TERO-certified company, is performing the work while being managed by Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. Renovations are slated to be complete in early 2019, according to the release.
“We’ve had a longstanding commitment to the preservation of our historic sites,” CNB Executive Vice President Chuck Garrett said. “This project, along with the many others we’ve completed, is another way of keeping our history and culture alive and gives us an opportunity to share our Cherokee story with the world.”
This is the latest of several preservation projects to take place at the Capitol. In 2013, a replica cupola was constructed to bring the building back to its 1870s appearance. A few years later, the building underwent a masonry restoration in which more than 2,000 bricks were replaced to strengthen the structure. That work also included removing paint from the existing brick to help return the building to its historic look.
Additional restoration work throughout the years has included roof repairs with new decking and historic era shingles, restoration of soffits and fascia, a gutter system and updated doors and windows.
The Capitol building was built in 1869, and all three branches of the CN government occupied it prior to statehood. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a National Landmark.