In order to allow for the installation of scaffolding and floor, statuary, and artwork protection in conjunction with the Dome Restoration Project, the Rotunda of the Capitol will be closed from Monday, July 27 through Monday, September 7. While the Rotunda is unavailable for tours, an alternate tour route will be provided. The Capitol Visitor Center is open during the closure of the Rotunda and will offer special activities which do not require advance reservations. You can also download our new U.S. Capitol Rotunda app.

A Gateway to the Capitol

When it opened in 1908, Union Station quickly became the primary entry to Washington. The terminal was among the first and finest achievements of the Senate Park Commission (also called the “McMillan Commission”), a board of design professionals determined to beautify Washington. The station itself was grand. Outside, however, a motley assortment of residences, hotels, boardinghouses, and taverns greeted visitors.

City planners and congressional leaders considered the area between Union Station and the Capitol undignified. They proposed clearing it to create a park. The project took $10 million and 30 years to complete (1910-1940). It required buying 18 city squares and demolishing hundreds of buildings. The new park was so successful that some wished to see the proposed Lincoln Memorial built there instead of its eventual site on the Mall.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Capitol 1913-1945

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Proposed design for the Lincoln...
Image Caption

Proposed design for the Lincoln Memorial on the Capitol grounds, by Daniel Burnham, ca. 1910.

Proposed design for the Lincoln Memorial on the Capitol grounds, by Daniel Burnham, ca. 1910.

Architect of the Capitol

Proposed design for the Lincoln Memorial on the Capitol grounds, by Daniel Burnham, ca. 1910.

Proposed design for the Lincoln Memorial on the Capitol grounds, by Daniel Burnham, ca. 1910.

Architect of the Capitol

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