Miss Penn

1 Conversation

’Commonwealth’ is the official name of the statue atop the dome of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. But if you would ask anyone on the streets of the city, they would tell you the statue’s name is simply ‘Miss Penn.’

The statue was designed by architect Joseph Huston to crown the great dome of the Capitol Rotunda. Sculptor Roland Hinton Perry was commissioned to create the bronze and gold-gilded statue. Miss Penn was set into position atop the dome on May 25, 1905. She has come down from her high perch only twice - in 1940s and the late 1990s for reguilding as the dome was repaired.

Many associate her with Letitia Penn, daughter of state founder Quaker William Penn and his first wife Gulielma Springett Penn. In fact, she is the creation of Huston. He said she ‘reresented the symbolic embodiment of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.’

She is 14 feet 6 inches tall and stands atop a gilt ball facing west. The top of her head is 272 feet above the ground. Her right hand is extended in a kind of benediction and her left hand holds the standard of statehood, a rod with eagle on top. In 1999 the US Treasury began the issue of commemorative quarters honoring all 50 states. The second one minted was the Pennsylvania quarter and on its obverse is Miss Penn standing before an outline of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Miss Penn's golden lustre had faded over the years so she was removed from the roof of the dome by helicopter on Saturday, 13 December, 1997 in a ceremony that drew hundreds of spectators and statewide media attention. She returned to her perch on 12 September, 1998, in a ceremony which drew thousands and national media attention. Reguilded, she is expected to retain her golden appearance for at least 50 years.

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written and Edited by


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more