standard United States Capitol

The United States Capitol , located in Washington, atop Capitol Hill ,  is the meeting place of the United States Congress, and the legislature of the Federal Government of the United States.  United States Capitol is among the most symbolically important and architecturally impressive buildings in the nation. It has housed the meeting chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate for two centuries. The Capitol, which was started in 1793, has been through many construction phases. It stands today as a monument to the American people and their government.

Capitol

United States Capitol - Washington

Construction

Construction on the Washington U.S. Capitol began in 1793 when George Washington laid the cornerstone. The majority of the construction work was actually done by African Americans, both free and slaves. The building was later expanded in 1850 and a new dome replaced the older, smaller one. The massive weight of the new dome, more than 3 times the height of the old one, led to further renovation on the East portion to help support the new weight in 1904.

In places its walls are four or five feet thick. When construction began, electric lighting did not exist and mechanical heating and ventilating were primitive at best. Before it was complete, great strides had been made in building technology. Electricity was used to light the Capitol and advances in heating had been incorporated into it.

The Capitol Rotunda

US Capitol Rotunda

Today, the Capitol covers a ground area of 175,170 square feet and has a floor area of about 16.5 acres. In addition to its use by Congress, the Capitol is a museum of American art and history. It stands as a focal point of the government’s legislative branch and as a centerpiece of Capitol Hill and the National Mall.

Visitor information

If you are heading to Washington , then the first place you will want to stop at as your tour the city is the United States Capitol Building located on the east end of the National Mall. The Capitol Building has a long history with  many revisions and is the fourth Capitol building and the first located in Washington D.C. The first three were located in Maryland, New York, and Philadelphia.

US Capitol

US Capitol - Washington

Visitors must obtain free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis, at the Capitol Guide Service kiosk . Ticket distribution begins at 9:00 a.m . The Capitol is open from 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday-Saturday.

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