The most well-known symbol of autonomous government in the world, the United says Capitol has housed Congress due to the fact that 1800. The Capitol is whereby Congress meets to compose the legislations of our nation, and also where presidents are inaugurated and deliver their yearly State the the Union messages. For virtually two centuries, the Capitol has actually grown in addition to the nation, adding brand-new wings come accommodate the increasing number of senators and also representatives as new states gotten in the Union. That ceilings room decorated with historic images, and its halls are lined through statuary and paintings representing great events and people in the countries history.

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The initial Capitol was designed by Dr. William Thorton, and the cornerstone was laid by president George Washington ~ above September 18, 1793. Benjamin Henry Latrobe and also Charles Bulfinch, amongst other architects, command its early construction. In 1800, as soon as the federal government moved from momentary quarters in Philadelphia come Washington, DC, the Capitol the awaited them to be an loose brick and sandstone building. The conference moved into the small, cramped north wing. At first, the house met in a big room ~ above the 2nd floor intended because that the Library the Congress; the met in a room on the floor floor. Between 1810 and also 1859, the provided a chamber on the second floor, now known as the Old Chamber.
In 1807, the south wing top top the Capitol was completed because that the home of Representatives. A wooden walkway across the vacant yard intended because that the domed center building linked the House and wings. This was exactly how the Capitol showed up in respectable 1814, during America"s second war with good Britain, as soon as British troops melted the Capitol and also other public structures in Washington. The exterior wall surfaces survived, but much the the inner was gutted. In 1819, the rebuilded wings that the Capitol were reopened. The center building, perfect in 1826, join the two wings. A short wood and copper dome extended the Rotunda.

By 1850, so many brand-new states had been admitted to the Union that the House and also had out-grown their chambers. It was made decision to enlarge the Capitol by adding grand wing to the end of the original building. In 1851, Daniel Webster, who had actually served in both residences of Congress, delivered one that his famous orations in ~ the laying of the cornerstone because that the brand-new wings. The residence occupied its existing chamber in 1857, and the moved into its chamber in 1859.
The Old room of the residence was later devoted as national Statuary Hall. Congress invite each state to contribute two statues of its many notable citizens. Today, these statues are presented in Statuary Hall and also in corridors transparent the building.
During the polite War, work ongoing on the new cast-iron dome, design by cutting board U. Walter. On December 2, 1863, the Statue the Freedom, through American artist thomas Crawford, was inserted at the top of the dome, 287 feet over the eastern Plaza.
In the 1870s, see architect Frederick law Olmstead draft the terraces the run across the north, south, and also west elevations of the Capitol. These terraces provided extra rooms and a cool pedestal because that the building perched ~ above the brow of Capitol Hill.
By the opened of the twenty century, the need for much more space again came to be acute. The an initial House and also office buildings were finished in 1908 and also 1909, respectively. Tunnels and also electric subway cars connect these buildings with the Capitol.
Severe degradation of the original sandstone wall surfaces prompted major renovations the the Capitol"s exterior. Between 1958 and also 1962 the eastern Front was extended thirty-two feet and also the initial facade replicated in marble. Portions of the old outside walls have the right to still be regarded inside the east Front corridors. In the 1980s, the West front was very closely repaired and also restored; it is the only part of the original exterior not covered by marble additions.
The Rotunda is the an extremely heart the the Capitol. Although it offer no legislative function, that is a ceremonial facility where state funerals have been held for presidents indigenous Abraham Lincoln to lindon Johnson, differentiated members of Congress, military heroes, and also eminent citizens. Visiting top of state have been obtained in the Rotunda, and also memorable individuals and events celebrated.
Hanging in the Rotunda are 4 giant canvases painted by john Trumbull, an aide-de-camp to general Washington, who videotaped scenes of the American Revolution. Four other artists added paintings illustrating events associated with the discovery and also settlement the the joined States. Top top the canopy, suspended 180 feet over the Rotunda floor, the Italian-American artist Constantino Brumidi painted The Apotheosis that Washington. It depicts George Washington surrounding by symbols of American democracy and technological progress. Brumidi painted and also decorated plenty of of the rooms and corridors that the Capitol, and he was painting the frieze the rings the Rotunda as soon as he died. Various other artists completed his work, i beg your pardon illustrates significant events in the nation"s history. The events illustrated at the end of the frieze took ar years ~ Brumidi"s death, an proper suggestion of the continuity of history.

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Capitol building

Russell Office structure

Dirksen Office structure

Hart Office structure

Key to abbreviation

S: Capitol ( side) SR: Russell BuildingSD: Dirksen BuildingSH: Hart BuildingSVC: Capitol Visitor center ( side)

Key to building Abbreviations

Map of Capitol Hill

Related web links

The Capitol visitor Center"s website provides extr information around visiting the Capitol.