Q&AZ: Where did the Winged Victory statue on top of the state Capitol building come from?

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Monday, January 24, 2022 - 8:57am
Updated: Monday, January 24, 2022 - 12:16pm

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Winged Victory
Taylor Arrazola
Winged Victory atop the Arizona State Capitol copper dome.

Since 1901, Winged Victory has adorned the copper dome of the Arizona Capitol building.

But, through KJZZ's Q&AZ project, a listener asked: Where did the statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, come from?

Winged Victory is a 17-foot wind vane made entirely out of zinc.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s state historian. He says Winged Victory came to Arizona by way of the Midwest in 1898.

“Ohio, it came from Ohio. It was purchased by the Arizona territory for $175,” said Trimble.

Trimble says the statue was cast in 1889, meaning it wasn’t made specifically for the building, but Arizona purchased it during the construction of the Territorial Capitol. 

It has stayed on top of every iteration of the building ever since.

Winged Victory was also once a shooting target for cowboys.

“In the territorial days when the cowboys used to go down, Washington Street was the barbary coast of Arizona in those days, and all the saloons and things, the cowboys had come into town and they’d be drinking it up. Then they’d ride out to the Capitol, way out of town to the Capitol, and then they’d shoot at her wings to make her spin," Trimble told KJZZ News in 2015.

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