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IL lawmakers return to tornado-beleaguered Springfield

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By IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois lawmakers returned to Springfield Tuesday after their usual weekend break.

While they came back to a city battered by tornadoes, legislators can continue their work because the seat of government itself escaped unscathed.

Long white drapes hanging in the hall just outside the Senate chamber were ripped in spots. The cloth was torn when storm winds cracked large windows of the builidng. The glass panes were temporarily replaced with cardboard.

But otherwise, the domed symbol of Illinois government was untouched by the tornadoes.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, says it's also fortunate that there was no damage to temporary heating and air systems installed recently as part of renovations.

The capitol has survived fires and natural disasters in the past, including a 1911 storm that inflicted heavy damage on the statehouse.

According to newspaper articles from September 14 of that year, the storm tore tons of copper sheeting from the capitol dome leaving a hole in the roof. It also flooded the marble floor of the rotunda, broke many windows, and uprooted trees around the complex.

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