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The Capitol fronts the east, and stands on a plateau eighty-eight feet above the level of the Potomac, in latitude 38° 53' 20''.4 north and longitude 77°00' 35".; west from Greenwich.
The southeast corner-stone of the original building was laid on the 18th of September, 1793, by President Washington, aided by the Freemasons of Maryland. It was constructed of sand. stone, painted white, from an island in Aquia Creek, Virginia, under the direction of Stephen H. Hallett, James Hoban, Geo. Hadfield, and afterwards of B. H. Latrobe, architects. The north wing was finished in 1800 and the south wing in 1811, a wooden passage-way connecting them. On the 24th of August, 1814, the interior of both wings was destroyed by British incendiaries, but they were immediately rebuilt. In 1818, the central portion of the building was commenced under the architectural superintendence of Charles Bulfinch, and the original building was finally completed in 1827. Its cost, including the grading of the grounds, alterations, and repairs, up to 1827, was $2,433,844.13.
The corner-stone to the extensions of the Capitol was laid on the 4th of July, 1851, by President Fillmore, Daniel Webster officiating as orator of the day. Thomas U. Walter was architect, and subsequently Edward Clark, under whose direction the work was completed in November, 1867. The material used for the extensions is white marble from the quarries at Lee, Massachusetts, with white marble columns from the quarries at Cockeysville, Maryland.
The dome of the original central building was constructed of wood, but was removed in 1856 to be replaced by the present stupendous structure of cast iron, which was completed in 1865. The entire weight of iron used is 8,909,200 pounds.
The main building is three hundred and fifty-two feet four inches long in front and one hundred and twenty-one feet six inches deep, with a portico one hundred and sixty feet wide, of twenty-four columns on the east, and a projection of eighty-three feet on the west, embracing a recessed portico of ten coupled columns. The extensions are placed at the north and south ends of the main building, with connecting corridors forty-four feet long by fifty-six feet wide, flanked by columns. Each extension is one hundred and forty-two feet eight inches in front, by two hundred and thirty-eight feet ten inches deep, with porticos of twenty-two columns each on their eastern fronts, and with porticos of ten columns on their ends and on their western fronts. The entire length of the building is seven hundred and fifty-one feet four inches, and the greatest depth, including porticos and steps, is three hundred and twenty-four feet. The area covered by the entire building is one hundred and fifty-three thousand one hundred and twelve square feet.
The dome is crowned by a bronze statue of Freedom, modeled by Crawford, which is nineteen feet six inches high, and which weighs 14,985 pounds. The height of the dome above the base-line of the east front is two hundred and eighty-seven feet five inches; the height from the top of the balustrade of the building is two hundred and seventeen feet eleven inches; and the greatest diameter at the base is one hundred and thirty-five feet five inches.
The rotunda is ninety-five feet six inches in diameter, and its height from the floor to the top of the canopy is one hundred and eighty feet three inches.
The Senate Chamber is one hundred and thirteen feet three inches in length, by eighty feet three inches in width, and thirty-six feet in height. Its galleries will accommodate one thousand persons.
The Representatives' Hall is one hundred and thirty-nine feet in length, by ninety-three feet in width, and thirty-six feet in height.
The Supreme Court room was occupied by the Senate until December, 1859, the court having previously occupied the room beneath, now used as a law library.
The Library of Congress was burned by the British in 1814, and was partially destroyed by an accidental fire in 1851. The present centre hall was finished in 1853, and the wing halls were finished in 1867.
Committee on Claims.
Committee on Manufactures,
Committee on the Territories.
Committee on Shipping.
Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds.
Committee on Expenditures on Public Buildings.
Committee on Manufactures.
Superintendent of Folding-Room.
then occupied by the Speaker of the House, that
The Supreme Court, formerly the Senate Chamber.
used as a statuary hall, to which each State has
distinguished citizens. The Congressional Library contains 314,000 vol.