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Statue of Freedom, 1863

Statue of Freedom, 1863

Thomas Crawford, an American artist living in Rome, was commissioned to design and sculpt a statue to grace the Capitol Dome’s apex. Crawford’s first two designs were rejected. His third and final design included a helmet topped with an eagle head and feathers in homage to the American Indian. It was cast by sculptor Clark Mills in his foundry at the edge of the District of Columbia from 1860 to 1862. Philip Reid, an enslaved laborer, provided Mills with invaluable assistance in the casting process.

Architect of the Capitol