For the second time in 15 years, the cupola atop the Molly Pitcher Inn is getting an overhaul.

Because of exposure, “the wood has become so soft that you can actually penetrate it with your finger,” said James P. Barry, president of J.P. Barry Hospitality Inc, which owns the Molly Pitcher and the Oyster Point hotels. “But hey, that’s what happens when you live at the shore, right?”

This time, the cupola will be be replaced with a woodlike plastic material that’s weather-resistant, while the gold-leaf dome will be preserved.

The job, which will take about a month to complete, will cost the hotel $150,000, an expense Barry says is necessary to maintain the distinctive character of the building, which was modeled on Independence Hall.

According to a New York Times story from 1932, the hotel cost $800,000 to build four years earlier, including $125,000 for furnishings.

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