Destination List > United States Capitol

United States Capitol

The history...

The United States Capitol is where the U.S. Congress meets to make laws. It is a symbol of American democracy and stands proudly on Capitol Hill.

The story of the Capitol began in 1793 when President George Washington laid the first stone, marking the start of its construction. The design for the Capitol was chosen through a contest, and the winning plan was created by architect William Thornton. His design was inspired by ancient Roman and Greek buildings, which symbolized the young nation's connection to democracy.

The Capitol's construction was challenging and involved several architects, including Stephen Hallet, George Hadfield, and James Hoban. However, Benjamin Henry Latrobe made significant improvements to the design and construction in the early 1800s.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces burned down parts of the Capitol. Reconstruction began immediately, led by Latrobe and later Charles Bulfinch, who added the famous domed rotunda.

By the mid-1800s, the Capitol needed to be larger to accommodate the growing government. Architect Thomas U. Walter designed new wings for the House of Representatives and the Senate. In 1855, construction started on the current cast-iron dome, replacing the original wooden one. The dome, completed in 1866 during the Civil War, is a defining feature of the Capitol.

Over the years, the Capitol has undergone many renovations to keep it functional and preserve its history. The building is also home to a rich collection of art, including frescoes, murals, and statues that depict important moments and figures in American history.

Today, the United States Capitol is not just a place where laws are made but also a symbol of the nation's strength and commitment to democracy. It has witnessed significant events and debates that have shaped the country.

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Washington D.C., journey on...

Founded after the American Revolution, it's now the capital of the US.