Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.


In 1891, a conservatory was erected on the grounds of the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Re­ferred to as “the first State Botanical Conservatory,” it was commonly called the “Rose House” – even by Joseph M. Huston, architect of the present Capitol. The prefabricated conservatory was purchased from the Joseph A. Plenty Horticultural and Skylight Works, New York. Enlarged in 1896, the landmark was distinguished by sweeping wings, vaulted roofs, large fanlight windows, and a central cupola capped by a decorative finial. The landscape plans of Arnold W. Brunner, a New York urban park designer, called for the removal of the Rose House. It was demolished in December 1918.



Following intensive restoration, Commonwealth – measuring nearly eighteen feet in height and weighing three tons – has been returned to her place of honor high atop the dome of the State Capitol. Sculpted by New York artist Roland Hinton Perry (1870- 1941) and cast by the Henry Bonnard Bronze Company, New York, Commonwealth was originally placed on the dome on May 25, 1905. Restoration of the monumental bronze took nine months, during which conservators replaced pedestal bolts, repaired a crack, removed corrosion, and reapplied gold leaf to the entire surface. Commonwealth was returned shortly before the State Capitol was designated a “Commonwealth Treasure” by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.