Capitol


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Capitol,

seat of the U.S. government at Washington, D.C. It is the city's dominating monument, built on an elevated site that was chosen by George Washington in consultation with Major Pierre L'EnfantL'Enfant, Pierre Charles
, 1754–1825, American soldier, engineer, and architect. Born in France, he volunteered as a private in the American Revolution. He won Gen. Washington's attention with his design for the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati.
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. The building as it now stands took many years to build and is the result of the work of several architects. In 1792 a competition was held to select an architect, but William ThorntonThornton, William,
1759–1828, American architect, b. Tortola, British Virgin Islands, He studied (1781–84) medicine at Edinburgh but received his medical degree (1784) at the Univ. of Aberdeen. In 1787 he emigrated to the United States and became a citizen in 1788.
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 gained the president's approval with a plan separately submitted and was appointed. In 1793 the president set the cornerstone, with Masonic rites, and the building was begun. Later three additional architects were employed—E. S. HalletHallet, Étienne Sulpice
, 1755–1825, French architect. He emigrated c.1789 to the United States, where he became known as Stephen Hallet. Before the opening of the public competition for the design of the Capitol, at Washington, D.C.
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, George Hadfield (d.1826), and James HobanHoban, James
, c.1762–1831, American architect, b. Ireland. By 1789, Hoban had immigrated to the United States. He designed the South Carolina statehouse, which was burned in 1865. In 1792 he moved to Washington, D.C.
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. In 1814 the uncompleted building was burned by the British, and B. H. LatrobeLatrobe, Benjamin Henry
(Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe) , 1764–1820, American architect, b. Yorkshire, England. He is considered the first professional architect in the United States.
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, who had been appointed (1803) surveyor of public buildings, undertook its restoration. He was succeeded in 1818 by Charles BulfinchBulfinch, Charles,
1763–1844, American architect, b. Boston. A member of the Boston board of selectmen in 1791, he was chosen chairman in 1799—an office equivalent to mayor and held by Bulfinch for 19 years.
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, who brought the design to completion in 1830.

The building proved inadequate in size and was greatly enlarged (1851–65) by T. U. WalterWalter, Thomas Ustick,
1804–87, American architect, b. Philadelphia. In 1819 he entered the office of William Strickland in Philadelphia as a student. In 1830 he began practice, the county prison (1831) at Moyamensing, Philadelphia co., being his first important work.
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, who added the extensive House and Senate wings at either end and the imposing dome, c.288 ft (90 m) in height, which dominates the composition. Elaborate murals depicting a variety of inspirational American subjects, painted (1854–79) by the Italian-born fresco artist Constantino Brumidi (1805–80), adorn much of the Capitol's interior. The building proper is over 750 ft (229 m) long, including approaches c.350 ft (110 m) wide. In 1960 the east front of the Capitol was extended 32 ft (9.8 m), and the original sandstone facade was replaced by marble. The greater Capitol Complex includes (in addition to the Capitol itself) 274 acres (111 hectares) of grounds with gardens, monuments, memorials, a carillon, and fountains; the United States Botanic Gardens (est. 1820), one of the oldest such gardens in the nation, although the present conservatory dates only to 1933; the several House and Senate office buildings; the buildings of the Library of Congress; and the Supreme Court building.

Bibliography

See I. T. Frary, They Built the Capitol (1940); U.S. Capitol Historical Society, We, the People (11th ed. 2011); G. Gugliotta, Freedom's Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War (2012).


Capitol,

in Rome: see Capitoline HillCapitoline Hill
or Capitol,
highest of the seven hills of ancient Rome, historic and religious center of the city. The great temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, on its southern summit, was dedicated in 509 B.C.; it was foremost among the temples and altars of Rome.
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.

Capitol

The building in which a state legislature assembles. An important building type, seat of all state governments, almost all centered on a high dome with flanking lower wings, built of masonry in a classical style, and need continual restoration to maintain the proper civic image.

Capitol

 

a building in Washington, D.C., the capital of the USA, where the US Congress meets. It was built in the classical style during the years 1793–1865 (architects W. Thornton, B. Latrobe, and T. Walter). The buildings in the US state capitals where the legislative assemblies meet are also called capitols.

capitol

Official meeting place for a legislative body.

Capitol

1. 
a. another name for the Capitoline
b. the temple on the Capitoline
2. the. the main building of the US Congress
3. (in the US) the building housing any state legislature
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