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New cupola, weathervane adorn Nassau Hall

Nassau Hall
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

On Jan. 17, the University Office of Communications announced that the renovations for Nassau Hall’s clock tower had been completed in December, three months ahead of schedule. The scaffolding, which has obstructed the building since last June, has finally been removed to reveal a brand new cupola adorned with refurbished clocks and a new weather vane.

The project included replating the cupola’s rusted copper coat and rehabilitated the old decaying clocks.


According to the Communications announcement, this was the first major renovation to the clock tower in nearly 60 years. Assistant Facilities director of special projects Alexis Mutschler noted that the most visible change is the copper dome’s new brown color, which sharply differs from the previous dome’s bluish green.

“It will take about 20 years to turn the turquoise-colored patina that we grew accustomed to seeing,” Mutschler said in the announcement.

The project finished three months ahead of schedule; Facilities originally predicted that both the copper cupola and the clock face would be completely restored in March.

Mutschler credited the early completion to “the better-than-expected condition of some of the structure, scaffolding, and netting that allowed work to continue safely throughout the very wet summer and fall and the contractor’s decision to work many weekends during the long days of summer.”

In addition to the cupola and clock faces, Facilities also replaced the weather vane on top of the structure with a new one that rotates in the wind.

According to the announcement, the project used 10,000 pounds of copper to replate the dome.


Massimino Building Corp. of Newtown, Pennsylvania, managed construction for the renovation project. In addition, the University hired several local businesses for specific tasks, such as making new clock faces, painting gold leaf time marks, reslating the roof, and replacing the weather vane.

The Office of Communications did not disclose the project’s total costs.

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