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Capitol Building

The United States Capitol building is the Home of the US Senate and the House of Representatives

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The United States Capitol Building

The U.S. Capitol Building is home to the Legislative Branch of the United States Government. This branch includes the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate and the House are responsible for proposing, debating and passing laws for our country (with the approval of the President).

The building is unique and displays an important collection of American art. In fact, the architecture of the Capitol Building itself is quite a masterpiece of artful design and has become an iconic symbol of democracy internationally. Besides the beautiful grounds and historic structures built on them, there is a new structure which has been build underground. The U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center is adjacent to the Capitol, but is built mostly underground.

Visitors may enter through the Visitor’s Center, which has an Exhibition Hall, gift shops, and a restaurant. Visitors can make reservations to tour the Capitol Building, and it is also possible to obtain passes to watch Congress in session. Some special programs and tours are also offered.

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Capitol Building Useful Links

United States House of Representatives:

United States Senate:

Interesting Facts for the United States Capitol

  • Construction of the building began in 1793. President George Washington laid the cornerstone on September 18.
  • From 1899 to 1910, there was a law in place that made it illegal to construct within the limits of Washington D.C. any building taller than the Capitol Building.
  • The Capitol nearly burned to the ground during the War of 1812. What saved it was the providential timing of a thunderstorm that put out the fire.
  • The iconic dome that we have come to associate with the Capitol Building wasn’t added to the building until the 1850’s. The dome before it could not accommodate the expanding Congress as more senators were appointed to represent states that were added by the westward expansion.

Federal Government Attraction Links

Washington DC Capitol Building – CAPITOL BUILDING

United States Supreme Court – SUPREME COURT

The White House – WHITE HOUSE

National Archives – NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Other Sites

White House Visitors Center

Capitol Hill Visitors Center

More Information About the Capitol Building

William Thornton was an amateur architect from British West Indies who submitted 16 designs in competition held by Congress for their design of the Capitol building. Construction started on this neoclassical building with low dome in 1793 and ended two decades later when its initial use expired in 1800.

Since 1850, the Capitol has undergone many modifications and renovations, the most noteworthy being Thomas U. Walter’s design for its wings in 1850s – also responsible for designing its iconic dome which was completed in 1868 and remains one of its defining characteristics today.

The Capitol has been important in many ways throughout history. It is the home of the US Senate and House of Representatives and has been the location of many of the most-important legislative debates and decisions since it opened.

The Capitol stands as a beacon of American democracy and a popular tourist attraction. Visitors may tour it, touring its House and Senate chambers as well as its Rotunda containing an exhibit of American art and history.

The United States Capitol is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, while also being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Capitol is an active building that serves as home to the United States Congress. House of Representatives meets on its south wing while Senate meets on its north side; additionally it holds the Library of Congress, Supreme Court and numerous members’ offices within.

The Capitol building is an iconic symbol of American democracy and an incredible tourist destination.

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