are accumulations of a number of centmies. The Capitol
of the United States is the stupendous work of less than
a single century. The elevated seat, formed by nature and
art, upon which the Capitol stands, is 89 J ft. above ordinary
low tide in the Potomac, 1 mile distant, and is admu-ably
adapted to the display of its vast proportions and architecture.
The entire length of the building is 751 ft., and the greatest
depths the breadth of the wings, 324 ft., including the porticos
and steps. The ground-plan covers about 3 J acres. The struc-
ture in detail consists of a main building and two extensions^
with connecting corridors. Tlie main or central building is
352 ft. iu length, and, exclusive of the W. projection, 121^
ft. deep, with an E. central colonnaded portico 160 ft. wide,
consistiug of rows of monolithic Corinthian columns, 24 in
number and 30 ft. high, exclusive of pedestals. The portico
is elevated on a rustic basement, surmounted by an enriched
entablature and pediment, th^ latter 80 ft. broad. Over this
rises an attic story, surmounted by the Dome^ 135 ft. in diam-
eter. In the rear and on either side of this main portico the
edifice rests on a basement to correspond with that of the
portico. Above this rises the order, two stories in height,
with pilasters, an entablature, frieze, and surmounting bal-
ustrade, carried out in the same architectural design. It is
proposed, at some future day, to take down this portico, and
extend the front of the central building E., to bring it at
least on a line with the E. front of the two extensions, so as
to perfect the architectural group. Between the original
building and each of the extensions, which lie at the N. and
S. ends of the building, is a connecting corridor of 44 ft. in
length and 56 ft. depth, with fom^ fiuted columns on either
front. Each extension has a front of 143 ft. facing the E.
and W., and depth of 239 ft. along the N. and S. fapades.
The latter is exclusive of the porticos and steps on the E.,
which correspond with the main building.
The facades of each extension are embellished with porti-
cos on three sides, those on tlie E. consisting of 22 fluted
THE DOME. 63
monolithic column?, in two rows, N. and S., and 10 on the
W. ends, the columns facing the N. and S. respectively^, con-
stitutino- the N. and S. fronts of the building. The porticos
of the N. and S. fagades are 124 ft. front.
The W. front of the main building presents a central pro-
jection of 83 ft. by 160 ft. front, with a recessed colonnade
100 ft. in extent, consisting of 10 coupled columns, elevated
on a rustic basement, as the E. front, and rising, with its en-
tablature and balustrade, to the roof, surmounted by a pan-
eled screen or attic. The rest of the W. front is the same
as the E. There are no steps on the W. front of the main
building, it being entered from the upper terrace . The exten-
sions stand on a foundation of granite, raised about 4 ft. on
all sides ; the basement or ground floor is reached by granite
steps. On the E. fapade are three broad flights of steps,
which lead to the commencement of the order. Beneath the
basement is a sub-basement, visible only and accessible on
the outside from the casemated terrace on the W.
The material employed in the central building first erected
is freestone, from the Government quarries at Aquia Creek,
about 40 m. below the city, purchased by the Commissioners
in 1791. This is painted, in order to conform in general ap-
pearance with the wings, which are built of white marble,
from Lee, Massachusetts. The marble columns of the exten-
sions are from the quarries at Cockeysville, Maryland, about
20 m. ]Sr. of Baltimore.
The appropriations made by Congress from 1800 to date
for the erection, repair, and preservation of the Capitol
amount to $13,000,000.
The Dome. â€” Out of the centre of the main building rises
the great Dome of the Capitol^ designed by Walter, and which
replaced a smaller one removed in 1856. It is of the follow-
ing dimensions :
Exterior Height â€” above the base line of the E. facade of the
Capitol to the top of the lantern, 288 ft.; above the W. gate
of the park, 360 ft.; above the Ijalustrade of the building,"218
ft.; statue of Freedom on the apex, 19-| ft. Total height from
base line to crest of statue of Freedom^ 307^- ft. Total height
above low tide in the Potomac, 397 ft. Diameter, 135|- ft.
The Dome rests on an octagonal base or stylohate^ 93 ft.
above the basement floor, and as it leaves the top line of the
building consists of a peristyle^ 124 ft. in diameter, of 36 u'on
fluted columns, 27 ft. high, a,nd weighing 6 tons each. Above
this is a balustrade. From the entablature of the x^eristyle
to the attic is 44 ft. Above the balustrade begins the domi-
cal covering. The apex is surmomited by a lanteim^ 15 ft. in
diameter and 50 ft. high, siirroiinded by a peristyle, and
crowned by the bronze Statue of Freedom. Just below the
lantern is a balustrade around the crowning platform. The
outer domical shell is pierced with glazed openings for the
admission â‚¬^ light. In the lantern is a reflecting lairnp^ lighted
by electricity, and used only when either or both Houses of
Congress are sitting at night. This light is visible from all
parts of the citj'".
The Statue of Freedom., by Crawford, 1865, which sur-
mounts the lantern of the Dome, rep-
resents the figure of a female, the r.
hand resting on the hilt of a sheathed
sword; the 1. on a shield, and holding
a wreath. The crest of the helmet con-
sists of an eagle's beak, embellished
^vith plumes of feathers. This head-
gear was not the conception of the
artist, but an after-suggestion. The
original model represented a simple
head-band, encircled Avith stars. The
drapery of the figure is both chaste and
Over an inner garb is a fur-
STATUE OF FREEDOM.
red robe, tastefully adjusted over the
1. shoulder and falling over the 1. arm ;
at the waist it is gathered in loose folds,
and held by a brooch, bearing the let-
ters U. S. The attitude of the statue
exhibits in a striking degree the beauty
of feminine grace with decision. The
statue is 19^ ft. high, and the weight of
bronze 14,985 lbs., or 6 tons (2,240 lbs.)
and 1,545 lbs. It was cast at Clark
Mills' foundry at Bladensburg, 5 m.
NE. of Washington, and cost $23,796. The statue stands on
a bronze capping for the Dome, representing ft globe, with
an encircling zone, upon which are the words "J57 Pluribus
Unum.'''' The weight of iron used in the Dome is 8,009,200
ibs., or 3,575 tons (2,240) 1,200 lbs. The Dome stands upon
a substruction of masonry, which forms the foundation of the
outside walls, and also upon 40 interior columns, which sup-
port heavy arches, upon which rests the pavement of the
Rotunda. The casting and erecting of the iron work of the
immense structure was done by Janes, Beebe & Co., New
York. There are two smaller domes and a number of lan-
terns and skylights. The roofoi the entire building is cov-
ered with copper.
The following are the dimensions of the three greatest
domes of Em'ope :
St. Peter's, Rome, from the pavement to the base of the
lantern, 405 ft. ; to the top of the cross outside, 458 ft.; ex-
terior diameter of the cupola, 195J ft. ; interior, 139 ft. St.
Paul's, London, England, to the top of the cross, 404 ft. ;
diameter, 112 ft. Hotel des Invalides, Paris, Prance, over
the Tomb of :Nrapoleon, 323 ft.
It will be seen that the Dome of the Capitol of the United
United States ranks fifth in height and fourth in diameter.
The dome of the Cathedral of St. Isaac, at St. Petersburg, the
N'ational Church of Russia, is 363 ft. in height, and is also a
magnificent structure, built of iron and bronze.
Porticos.â€” The E. facade of the Capitol is broken by three
grand porticos, reached by broad flights of steps, and from
which open the three principal doorways. Beneath each of
these porticos are massive vaulted carriageways to the base-
ment entrances, the centre one of which opens into the Crypt.
The main Portico^ 160 ft. in length, consists of 24 monolithic
colunnis, 30 ft. high. On the tympanum of the pediment is
an allegorical group in alto relievo^ by Persico, an Italian,
representing the Genius of America. Tlie principal figiu*e,
representing America, is of semi-colossal size, and standing
on a broad unadorned i)linth, holding in her hand a poised
shield, with U. S. A. emblazoned in the centre of a ray of
glory. The shield, which is oval, represents an ornamented
altar, in the centre of which is a Avreath of oak leaves, in hasso
relievo^ encircling July 4, 1776. In the rear of the figure rests
a broad spear, and at her feet an eagle, with partly-spread
wings. The head of the figure is crowned with a star, and
inclines towards the figure of "Hope," who is addressing her.
The right arm of "Hope " is raised, and the left rests on the
stock of an anchor, the hand grasping part of the di'apery.
The Genius of America, in reply to Hope, who is recounting
the glory of the nation, points to the figure on the other side,
Which represents Justice, with eyes uplifted, and holding in
the right hand a partly-unrolled scroll, on which is inscribed
" Constitution of the United States," and in the left the scales.
Justice has neither bandage nor sword, representing that
American justice judges intelligently. The emblematic char-
acter of the group suggests that, however Hope may flatter,
all prosperity should be founded in public right and the pres-
ervation of the Constitution. The execution of the work is
excellent, but cannot be entirely appreciated from its raised
position. All the figures are cut in sandstone, and 7^ ft. in
height. The sculptor at first contemplated giving more
nudity to the group, but being persuaded that it was con-
trary to the sentiment of tlie people of the United States, went
to the other extreme. The ascent to this portico is by an im-
posing fliglit of freestone steps, flanked on either side hj mas-
sive buttresses. On the S. buttress stands a semi-colossal
group of statuary by Persico, an Italian, 1846, representing
the Discovery of America^ in a figure of Columbus, holding
aloft a small globe, on the top of which is inscribed America.
At his side crouches an astonished and awe-stricken Indian
maiden. The group consumed 5 years in execution, and
cost $24,000. It is said that the armor is true to a rivet, hav-
ing been copied from a suit in the palace of the descendants
of the discoverer at Genoa. The corresponding group on
the N". buttress, by Greenough, 1842, represents the Mrst Set-
tlement of America^ consisting of five figures : a hunter rescu-
ing a woman and child from the murderous Indian, while by
the side is a faithful dog. The work consumed about 12
years in execution, and cost $24,000. It is of Servazza mar-
ble. Persico was first designated to make this group. In the
niches on the r. and 1. of the great Bronze Door, opening into
the Rotunda, are the colossal statues of Peace and War^ both
hy Persico, 1832. Peace is represented by the Goddess Ceres,
a gentle maiden, "with loose flowing robes and sandals. In
her r. hand she bears fruit, and her 1. an oUve branch. War
is represented by Mars, a stern warrior, attned in Roman
toga, belt, and tunic, with helmet and sandals. The tunic
bears the symbols of his victims. The statues are of the
finest quality of Cararra marble, each 9 ft. in height, were
5 years in execution, and cost $12,000 apiece. Botii are fine
specimens of art. Over the Bronze Door is a basso relievo by
Capellano, 1827, representing Fame and Peace in the act of
placing a laurel wreath upon the brow of Washington. In
panels on either side are bundles of radiating arrows, with
surroundings of leaves.
The E. Portico of the North or Senate Extension is reached
by a broad flight of 46 marble steps, broken by 4 landings, â€¢
and flanked by massive cheek-blocks, carrying out the design
of the central Portico. This portico measures 143 ft., and is
adorned by a double row of monolithic Corinthian columns,
22 in all, 30 ft. high, exclusive of base, and is surmounted
by a pediment of 72 ft. span. The group of figures on the
Tympanum, by Thomas Crawford, symbolizes the Progress
of Civilization in the United States. The centre figure repre-
sents America, with the rising sun in the background. On
her r. are figures of War and Commerce, Youth and Educa-
tion, Mechanics and Agriculture. On her 1. the Pioneer, the
Hunter, and the Aboriginal Race. The latter is represented
MAIN BRONZE DOOR.
by an Indian and squaw, with an infant in her arms, seated
by a filled grave, typical of the decadence of the red race.
This group, ordered in 1862, was cut by Italians, out of Amer-
ican marble from Massachusetts, and cost $45,950.
The E. Portico of the South or ^'- House'''' Extension^ in archi-
tectural design, dimensions, and material, is the same as
that of the N. Extension. The portico is without statuary
or sculptiu-ed embellishment ; ^'^et, with its beautiful marble
columns supporting the entablature and surmounting pedi-
ment, it is grand in its nude proportions.
The W. facade, the central projection and extensions, and
the ]Sr. and S. 'faces of the building, are decorated with col-
onnades, of beautiful proportions, and sm-mounted by balus-
trades, all in harmony with the porticos on the E .
Main Bronze Door. â€” The great Bronze Door, designed and
modeled in Rome, in 1858, by
Randolph Rogers, and cast in
bronze in Munich in 18G0 by F.
V. Mller, fills the main door-
way, from the grand Portico
into the Rotunda. The leaves
or valves of the door, which is
double, stand in a superbly en-
riched casing, also of bronze,
and, opened, fold back into suit-
ablj^ fitted jambs. The entire
height is 19 ft; width, 9 ft.;
weighs 20,000 lbs, and cost $28,-
000. Each leaf is di^dded into
8 panels, in addition to the
transom-panel under the arch.
Each of these contains a com-
plete scene, in alto relievo. The
back of the door is finished with
a simple star in the centre of
each panel, corresponding with
the front. A plain molding re-
lieves the blank space of each.
In every respect the great
Bronze Door is a credit to the
magnificence and magnitude of
the edifice in which it holds so
conspicuous a part. The statu-
ettes and relievos are wrought
In 1862, contrary to the views of
MA IX BRONZE DOOR.
(See pages 6S, C9.)
in the highest style of art.
Mr. Walter, the Architect of the Capitol, the" door was placed
68 MAIN BRONZE DOOR.
in the doorway leading from the old Hall of Representatives,
now the Hall of Statuary, into tlie corridor leading to the New
Hall. In 1871 it was removed to its present position, and
properly constitutes the main door to the edifice. In event
of the extension of the portico, so as to bring it in harmony
with the wings of the building, the Bronze Door, it is suggest-
ed by the architect, should form the inner or vestibule door,
where the architecture will be consistent with its form and in
harmony with its design.
The events portrayed on the door constitute the principal
events in the Life of Columbus and the Discovery of
America, with an ornate enrichment of emblematic de-
signs. On the key of the arch of the casing is a Head of
Columbus ; a very excellent piece of facial execution. On
the sides of the casing are four admirable typical statuettes,
placed in niches at the top and bottom of the door, and
arranged chronologically: A, Asia; B, Africa; C, Europe;
D, America. The rest of the casing is embellished with a
running border of ancient armor, banners, and heraldic de-
signs ; and at the bottom, on either side, an anchor â€” all in
hasso relievo^ and emblematic of Navigation and Conquest.
Oh the frame of each leaf of the door, set in niches, are six-
teen statuettes of the patrons and contemporaries of Colum-
bus. They are given as nearly as possible in the order of the
importance of their association with the promulgation and
execution of his theory, or in the extension of the range of
geographical exploration inaugurated by him. The first 8
figm-es are associated in pairs when the doors are closed;
when opened, they are divided, but should be examined in
the order of the references.
1. Alexander VI, Roderigo Lenzoli Borgia, a native of Spain, Pope of Rome
2. Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza, Archbishop of Toledo, and Grand Cardinal of
Spain, a man of great influence at court, and early patron of Columbus.
3. Ferdinand, King of Spain, royal patron of the undertaking of Columbus.
4. Isabella, Queen of Spain, and royal patroness of Columbus.
5. Charles VllI, King of France, an enlightened monarch and friend to the cause
6. Lady Beatriz de Bobadilla, Marchioness of Moya, and friend of Columbus. It
is said that the likeness is of Mrs. Rogers, wife to the sculptor.
7. John II, King of Portugal, the monarch who rejected the proposals of Colum-
8. Henry VII, King of England, appealed to by Bartholomew Columbus on behalf
of his brother; meantime the discovery was accomplished under the auspices of
9. Juan Perez de Marchena, prior of the Convent of La Rabida, and friend to
10. Martin Alonzo Pinzon, commander of the Pinta, the second vessel in the first
fleet across the ocean.
11. Hernando Cortez, early companion of Columbus, and conqueror of Mexico.
12. Bartholomew Columbus, brother to Christopher, advocate of his theory at the
court of Henry VII, and first Adelentado of Hispaniola. It is said that the likeness
is of the sculptor.
13. Alonzo de Ojeda, a companion of Columbus in his first voyage of discovery,
and one of the most daring of his contemporaries.
14. Vasco Nunez de Balboa, discoverer of the Pacific Ocean from the Isthmus of
15. Amerigo Vespucci, oneof the earlier discoverers of the main land of America,
author of the first account of the New World, and from v/homthe continent takes its
16. Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru.
The panels illustrate in alto relievo the leading events in the
career of Columbus, beginning at the lower panel of the r. or
S. leaf of the door,
I. Columbus examined before the Council of Salamanca respecting his theory
of the globe, which was rejected.
II. Departure of Columbus for the Spanish coast from the Convent of La Rabida,
III. Audience at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella.
IV. Departure of Columbus from Palos on his first voyage of discovery.
V. Transom panel, Columbus landed on the Island of San Salvador, and taking
possession in the name of his sovereign.
VI. Encounter with the natives.
VII. Triumphal entree of Columbus into Barcelona.
VIII. Columbus in chains.
IX. The death-bed of Columbus. He died at Valladolid May 20, 1506, aged 70
years. His last words were : '' In manus tuas^ Domine^ commendo spiritum meum.^^
"Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." Thirty years after his remains
were transferred to the Cathedral of San Domingo, on the island of that name. In
1796, when the Spaniards lost their hold on the island, they were removed to Havana.
Between the panels are a series of heads, representing the
historians of the voyages of Columbus and his followers. That
above the lower or N. panel of the door is Washington Irving^
and in the corresponding position opposite W. H. Prescott.
The most celebrated bronze doors of Em'ope are in Florence,
in the Church of the Baptistry of St. John, opposite the Duo-
mo. They are three in number, the centre one, by Lorenzo
Ghiberti, about 1420-1450, consumed thirty years in execution,
and illustrates scenes in the Old Testament. Michael Angelo
declared this gate worthy to be the portal of Paradise. The
earliest of the remaining two is by Andrea Pisano, 1330, and
the other by Ghiberti, 1400-1420, consumed 20 years in exe-
cution, and was the first of the sculptor's works illustrating
scenes in the New Testament.
Eotunda. â€” From the central Portico, passing through the
great Bronze Door, the visitor stands under the lofty canopy
of the Rotunda. The height from pavement to canopy is
180 ft., and diameter 96 ft. The circuit of the sides is di-
vided into eight panels, separated by massive Roman pilas-
ters, supporting an entablature ornamented with wreaths of
olive. Festoons of elaborately traced flowers, scrolls, and
wreaths embellish the upper portions of these panels. The
wreaths on either side, over the panels on the r. and 1.
of the E. and W. doors, encircle busts of Columhus^ Cabot,
Ealeigli, and La Salle, four names most conspicuousl}^ iden-
tified with the history of the early discovery and exploration
of the N. American continent. Tliey were executed by
Capellano and Caucici, Italians, both pupils of Canova, were
ordered in 1827, and, with the frieze of wreath-work, cost
$9,500. That over the panel on the 1. of the W. door is
Columbus ; in the corresponding position on the r. is Raleigh ;
over the panel on the 1. of the E. door is Cabot; and corre-
sponding on the r. La Salle. Over the fom- entrances are
smaller panels, containing historical subjects in basso relievo.
E. Door. â€” The Landing of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Eock,
1620 : Caucici, a pupil of Canova.
W. Door. â€” Pocahontas Saving the Life of Captain Smith,
1606 : Capellano, 1821, a pupil of Canova.
N. Door. â€” William Penn (tlie founder of Pennsylvania)
Eoldi7ig a Conference with the Lidians, 1682 : Gevelot, 1827.
S. Door. â€” Daniel Boone in Conflict with the Indians, 1773 :
All these sculptured subjects are wretched caricatures, and
disfigure the conspicuous places they were designed to em-
belhsh. Thev were ordered in 1826, and cost $3,500 each, or
It is designed to ornament the frieze, 300 ft. in length,
with sculpture, representing the History of the United States,
and make other improvements necessary to the appropriate
finisli of this part of the Capitol. In the eight large panels
between the four doors of the Rotunda are a corresponding
number of historical paintings, four illustrating the discovery
and settlement of l!f orth America, and f om* the leading events
in tlie struggle for independence. The fii'st executed were
by Trumbull, ordered in 1817. The last of which was com-
pleted in 1824. The artist, Colonel John Trumbull, of Con-
necticut, in 1775 was an Aid-de-Camp to Washington, and
in 1776 Deputy Adjutant General of the N. Department,
under Gates. He first cultivated the art of painting in
America, and later studied in Europe. In 1786 his pictm-e
of the Death of General Warren at Bunker Hill was com-
pleted in London. John Adams, at the time, was residing
in that city as Minister of the United States, and Jefferson,
in tlie same capacity, was at Paris. The artist expressed
to them Ifis intention to commemorate the leading events of
the Revolution in a series of historical paintings. In 1789
he returned to his native land to carry out his purpose. He
at first established himself at N'ew York, then the seat of gov-
ernment, and secured life portraits of the leading actors in
the stirring scenes he proposed to transfer to canvas. Having
finished there, he traveled from New Hampshire to South
Carolina, completing his collection of portraits, and sketch-
ing the localities of the events. In 1794 he had nearly com-
pleted this preliminary work. In 1817 Congress ordered the
execution of the four revolutionary paintings now in the Ro-
tunda. If the paintings do not exhibit the artistic touch and
spirit of a master, they are at least faithful representations of
great events in our national history. The majority of the
portraits are from life.
The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. â€”
Trumbull. Ordered 1817, cost $8,000. The painting in the
panel on the r. of the S. door represents the memorable
Congress of 1776 at the moment of signing that instrument
of American liberty. In the disposition of the characters the
artist consulted Jeiferson and Adams, both of whom were
present. The style of dress, the furniture, and the liall itself,
are exact reproductions of the time and place. The promi-
nent group of figures on the r. in the painting are Jefferson
of Va., the author of the instrument before named, Adams