Due to a special event, on Wednesday, July 8, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol after 11 a.m. Emancipation Hall and Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center will be unavailable all day. While reservations prior to 11 a.m. will be honored, same-day passes will not be available. The Capitol Visitor Center will close at noon except for individuals on official business and those going to the House and Senate Galleries.

Continuing Construction

Congress allocated $50,000 in 1803 to build the Capitol’s south wing. President Thomas Jefferson hired the architect-engineer B. Henry Latrobe, who reconfigured the wing’s interior while preserving the exterior design.

Latrobe built the south wing with fireproof masonry vaults. He also used these to rebuild about half of the north wing, which already suffered from rotting timbers and falling plaster. Latrobe constructed a new Senate Chamber and created a new Supreme Court Chamber.

One enduring Jefferson and Latrobe legacy is the use of symbolic sculpture in the Capitol. Sculptors were recruited from Italy. An eagle and statue of Liberty were made for the House Chamber. Giovanni Andrei and Giuseppe Franzoni produced for the Senate figures representing Arts, Commerce, Agriculture, Science, Military Force, and Civil Government.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Capitol 1789-1815

Next Image Next Image Previous Image Previous Image
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, by Charles...
Image Caption

Benjamin Henry Latrobe, by Charles Willson Peale, ca. 1804

Benjamin Henry Latrobe, by Charles Willson Peale, ca. 1804

White House Historical Association (White House Collection) (445)

Benjamin Henry Latrobe, by Charles Willson Peale, ca. 1804

Benjamin Henry Latrobe, by Charles Willson Peale, ca. 1804

White House Historical Association (White House Collection) (445)

Pages