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A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016. After going up the Bullfinch Staircase, you walk between the smaller dome (right of the photograph) and the larger dome, the latter of which is visible from the outside, on the way to the "skirt" section.

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016. After going up the Bullfinch Staircase, you walk between the smaller dome (right of the photograph) and the larger dome, the latter of which is visible from the outside, on the way to the "skirt" section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016. After going up the Bullfinch Staircase, you walk between the smaller dome (right of the photograph) and the larger dome, the latter of which is visible from the outside, on the way to the "skirt" section.

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016. After going up the Bullfinch Staircase, you walk between the smaller dome (right of the photograph) and the larger dome, the latter of which is visible from the outside, on the way to the "skirt" section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

An illustration of the U.S. Capitol in its early days.

An illustration of the U.S. Capitol in its early days. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Old paint near the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

Old paint near the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

The Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A staircase leading to the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

A staircase leading to the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A display in the Capitol dome.

A display in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view atop the Capitol dome.

A view atop the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

 Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Neptune, part of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

Neptune, part of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

 Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Artwork on the peristyle level of the Capitol dome.

Artwork on the peristyle level of the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Artwork on the peristyle level of the Capitol dome.

Artwork on the peristyle level of the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Visitors in the Capitol rotunda, from the peristyle level of the dome.

Visitors in the Capitol rotunda, from the peristyle level of the dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

The Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A closeup pf part of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

A closeup pf part of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

The Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

 Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome.

Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. Joe Abriatis demonstrates how high the scaffolding reached during the restoration process at the Cupola level.

Detail of the Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol dome. Joe Abriatis demonstrates how high the scaffolding reached during the restoration process at the Cupola level. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view outside from the peristyle level of the Capitol dome.

A view outside from the peristyle level of the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view from the Capitol dome shows construction work on the stage for the presidential inauguration.

A view from the Capitol dome shows construction work on the stage for the presidential inauguration. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Pentagon and Air Force Memorial, as seen from the Capitol dome.

The Pentagon and Air Force Memorial, as seen from the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Supreme Court, as seen from the Capitol dome.

The Supreme Court, as seen from the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view toward the east from the Capitol dome, with the courtyard above the visitors' center in the foregrouind and the Supreme Court beyond.

A view toward the east from the Capitol dome, with the courtyard above the visitors' center in the foregrouind and the Supreme Court beyond. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view from the Capitol dome's tholos level. Union Station is on the right.

A view from the Capitol dome's tholos level. Union Station is on the right. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view from the Capitol dome's tholos level across the Mall.

A view from the Capitol dome's tholos level across the Mall. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view of the Library of Congress from the Capitol dome.

A view of the Library of Congress from the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

 Even high up in the Capitol dome, a lady bug finds a place to crawl.

Even high up in the Capitol dome, a lady bug finds a place to crawl. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Closer detail of a column beneath the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome.

Closer detail of a column beneath the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Closer detail of the columns beneath the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome.

Closer detail of the columns beneath the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The upper section of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016. At the top of the columns is the Statue of Freedom.

The upper section of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016. At the top of the columns is the Statue of Freedom. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

On this bolt in the Capitol dome is the stamp of Gen. Montgomery Meigs.

On this bolt in the Capitol dome is the stamp of Gen. Montgomery Meigs. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The framework that holds together the inner (right) and outer sections of the Capitol dome. The Apotheosis of Washington mural is on the other side of the right section.

The framework that holds together the inner (right) and outer sections of the Capitol dome. The Apotheosis of Washington mural is on the other side of the right section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The framework that holds together the inner (left) and outer sections of the Capitol dome. The Apotheosis of Washington mural is on the other side of the left section.

The framework that holds together the inner (left) and outer sections of the Capitol dome. The Apotheosis of Washington mural is on the other side of the left section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The iron on the back side of the Apotheosis of Washington paintinmg in the Capitol dome.

The iron on the back side of the Apotheosis of Washington paintinmg in the Capitol dome. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016, shows the windows that have been repaired over the years. During this last restoration they fixed/replaced all the windows, but left some of the older ones to show the difference.

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016, shows the windows that have been repaired over the years. During this last restoration they fixed/replaced all the windows, but left some of the older ones to show the difference. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016, shows the windows that have been repaired over the years. During this last restoration they fixed/replaced all the windows, but left some of the older ones to show the difference.

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016, shows the windows that have been repaired over the years. During this last restoration they fixed/replaced all the windows, but left some of the older ones to show the difference. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The drainage system and air vents between the smaller and larger domes in the U.S. Capitol.

The drainage system and air vents between the smaller and larger domes in the U.S. Capitol. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Looking across from the Capitol dome's "peristyle" level.

Looking across from the Capitol dome's "peristyle" level. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A view from the Capitol dome's "peristyle" level onto the Supreme Court and Senate office buildings.

A view from the Capitol dome's "peristyle" level onto the Supreme Court and Senate office buildings. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stri)

A look down from the Capitol dome into the rotunda on November 15, 2016.

A look down from the Capitol dome into the rotunda on November 15, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The view from the Capitol dome's "peristyle" level into the rotunda.

The view from the Capitol dome's "peristyle" level into the rotunda. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Bullfinch Staircase in the U.S. Capitol.

The Bullfinch Staircase in the U.S. Capitol. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016, started in the crypt for George Washington (he is entombed at Mount Vernon).

A tour through the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., on November 15, 2016, started in the crypt for George Washington (he is entombed at Mount Vernon). (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayres speaks at a press conference about the Capitol dome restoration project on November 15, 2016.

Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayres speaks at a press conference about the Capitol dome restoration project on November 15, 2016. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Examples of the floral ornaments that had to be replaced during the Capitol dome restoration.

Examples of the floral ornaments that had to be replaced during the Capitol dome restoration. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A rusty piece of the original iron that had to be replaced during the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C.

A rusty piece of the original iron that had to be replaced during the restoration of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Examples of the floral ornaments that had to be replaced during the Capitol dome restoration.

Examples of the floral ornaments that had to be replaced during the Capitol dome restoration. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A guide to the location of some if the photos of the Capitol dome in the photo gallery ...

A guide to the location of some if the photos of the Capitol dome in the photo gallery ... (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes illustration)

WASHINGTON — A restored Capitol dome will gleam behind President-elect Donald Trump on Inauguration Day in January.

For over a year, the dome on the U.S. Capitol building was surrounded by more than 6,000 pounds of netting, 1.1 million pounds of scaffolding and two miles of decking. Fourteen layers of paint had to be removed and some of the original restored for the final look. More than 1,300 cracks and deficiencies were repaired in the dome.

The total cost of the restoration since it began in the spring of 2014 was $96 million. It was a time-consuming project: For example, an individual scroll on top of a column had 18 individual castings that had to be worked with, a few sent to a special foundry in Salt Lake City to be recast.

“I’m so proud of the team that worked through the night in blizzards and blistering sun,” Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers said.

And for disappointed tourists and photographers looking for a pristine view of an American architectural icon, the wait is finally over.

“We call the Capitol and [its] west front 'our nation’s stage,'” said Ayers.

A tour of the restoration this week started in the crypt of the Capitol — the area where George Washington was originally going to be entombed until his will dictated that he be buried at Mount Vernon.

The tour headed to the Bullfinch Staircase, a winding staircase that opens to a skylight. That, too, had been restored to how it looked in the mid-1800s.

The Bullfinch staircase leads to a new level, and the first glimpse of an iron world behind the sleek, familiar interior design of the rotunda. When entering the area, a small dome — the one with artwork visible from the rotunda on its other side — is to the right. The second, larger dome that is visible from the outside hides the smaller one. In between the two domes — where visitors walked — you can see the drainage system and air vents.

According to Joe Abriatis, the construction manager, about 100 people a day worked on the project, though thousands were involved with it overall.

Even the windows had been taken out during the restoration process. On one level alone there are 36 windows, each with 20 panes.

The tour ended with a visit to a small balcony near the tholos balustrade. The outside walkway rings the columns directly underneath the Statue of Freedom. The breathtaking view of the National Mall from so high up quiets the typical city sounds of sirens and people. For a moment, politics is lost in the wind, the only sound on the balcony.

Though the cornerstone for the Capitol Building was laid in 1793 — during the first large public event in the federal city — the dome would not be added until decades later.

The dome on the Capitol is believed to be the largest cast-iron dome in the world. Work on it started in 1857 with iron columns being installed. More than 150 years later, restoration workers in 2015 found some memories of the original workers hidden in the dome:

• Montgomery C. Meigs, an 1836 West Point graduate, oversaw the building of two wings of the Capitol Building as well as the dome. On the ironwork inside the dome, Meigs — the Army's Civil War quartermaster general, who was also critical in the development of Arlington National Cemetery — stamped his name on the iron.

• A worked named Al Ports carved his name into the plaster.

• A crowbar was left behind.

By 1866, the interior artwork "Apotheosis of George Washington" was completed. Almost 100 years later, in 1959, the dome went under extensive restoration, including the installation of bronze window frames and repairs to the drainage system.

Twitter: @mjtibbstibbetts.meredith@stripes.com

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