Fralin Museum of Art
This souvenir of the Great Fire of October 27, 1895, is a fragment of one of the Rotunda’s original capitals. Made of Carrara marble, this and other remnants from the blaze were used as models for new Italian-carved capitals that are part of the Rotunda renovation completed in 2016. Nearby is a cast-iron capital that also survived the fire. It is one of few surviving remnants of the Rotunda Annex, an adjacent 1853 structure that was not reconstructed.
The fire, caused by an electrical short, destroyed the Annex and more than 60 percent of the library. In an effort to save the Rotunda, Professor William H. Echols actually launched 50 pounds of dynamite into the fire in an effort to destroy the portico that connected the building to the Annex. It didn't work. The Rotunda burned anyway.