Not for the Acrophobic: Painting the Capitol Dome

Painting the Capitol Dome, Washington, D.C. Photo by National Photo Company, August 26, 1922.

Painting the Capitol Dome, Washington, D.C. Photo by National Photo Company, August 26, 1922. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.23293

Here’s a job that’s not for the acrophobic — painting the outside of the Capitol dome! In fact, this 1922 photograph from our National Photo Company Collection may bring on a bit of vertigo in our heights-sensitive readers when they realize how high up in the air this painter is suspended. If this thought hasn’t yet got to you, then just imagine the position the fearless camera operator must be in to capture the image!

Tarzan Paints the Senate Flagpole, Washington, D.C. Photo by Harris & Ewing, July 11, 1939.

Tarzan Paints the Senate Flagpole, Washington, D.C. Photo by Harris & Ewing, July 11, 1939. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.26966

As for this second image from Harris & Ewing taken during the summer of 1939, their original caption says it all: “Tarzan paints the Senate flagpole. Washington, D.C., July 11. There comes a time each year when things around Capitol Hill need a bit of fresh paint, flagpoles no exception. Here is the flagpole over the Senate Office Building getting its new paint job, curiously enough, from a steeple-jack named Tarzan–Jack Tarzan.”

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One Comment

  1. Clarence Talbert
    June 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Looking a newspaper / photo of Jack Tarzan sitting atop of the Godess of Freedom on the US Capitol Dome approximately in the 1940’s My father George Clarence Talbert also a painter precariously holding a ladder( outstretched one hand and foot barely on the dome and the other hand and foot holding a ladder vertically. Very dangerously painting the top of the dome.

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