A SURVEY OF THE DEVELOPMENT
OF THE U.S. CAPITOL
DEVELOPMENT OF THE U*S* CAPITOL
Early in the planning of Washington, D.C., the commissioners
who were in charge of the project asked hajor Pierre L'Enfant,
who was planning the city, to give them some ideas for a capitol
building. There are no drawings to indicate whether L'Enfant
actually did this, but in any case George Washington and Thomas
Jefferson were both strongly in favor of a competition for the
designs of the Capitol and the White House. The original sketch of
the competition advertisement has been preserved in the U.S. Archives.
The first prise was to be a choice lot in the city, (which was
virtually all forest at the time), to be designated by impartial
judges, and either five hundred dollars or an equivalent medal.
The program read "... the building is to be of brick and it is to
contain the following compartments, to wits
a conference room
a lobby or antechamber to the latter to be of full.
a Senate room of 1200 square feet of area
an antechamber and lobby to the latter
twelve rooms of 600 square feet area each for committee rooms
and clerks, to be half the elevation of the former.
Drawings will be expected of the ground plats, elevations of each
front and sections through the building in such directions as may be
necessary to explain the material, structure, and an estimate of the
cubic feet of brickwork composing the whole mass of the wall."
The results of the competition reveal much about the state
of the architectural profession in this country at that time.
Although domestic building had progressed well, monumental
architecture of the kind called for by this competition
was more than the profession could deliver. The only professional
architect to enter the competition was Stephen Hallet, who later
became one of the bigger problems in the early construction of the
Jefferson himself entered the competition anonomously. I do not
know whether he submitted a design for the Capitol, but for the
White House be submitted a copy of the Villa Rotunda of Palladio.
The White House winner was James Hoban, an Irishman who immigrated after
the Revolution and unsuccessfully tried to operate a business in
Philadelphia. Hoban had moved to South Carolina and been more
successful, building the state capitol at Colbumbia. After winning
the competition, Hoban moved to Washington where he remained for the
rest of his life, working on numerous projects including the Capitol.
The competition for the Capitol design was won finally by
Dr. William Thornton. Thornton had been educated as a physician in
England, travelled around Europe spending much time in Paris,
moved to Tortula and finally came to the United States and
settled in Delaware. Although a doctor, Thornton had wide ranging
interests, one of which was steam powered boats. He was associated with
John Fitch's experiments with steamboats. He came into architecture
by way of a plan for the Philadelphia Library which won the
competition. The building was considered one of the finest buildings
in the country while it stood, which was until 1880. Thornton had
angered some of the more serious Philadelphia competitors by saying
that he had not given much thought to architecture, but sat dow~n
with some books for a. few days, then submitted a plan based on the
ionic order which was the rage of the day.2
In the Capitol competition, Thornton was three months late.
He wrote a. letter asking to submit plans late and permission was
granted for a couple of reasons. Because of the rather primitive
state of architecture referred to earlier, none of the plans
which had been submitted originally were satisfactory, and the
"clientan were still searching. Even though some entries were
acceptable solutions, the details and drawing quality were very
poor. Also influencing the decision to let Thornton enter late
was the fact that he had been introduced to George Washington by
the famous painter John Trumbull, whose paintings adorn the Capitol
In the time following the original competition, the only
real architect in the competition, Stephen Hallet, had been
retained by the commissioners to devise a more acceptable plan.
In the original competition, they had liked Kallets style but
thought that hia distribution of parts ", was inconvienent.
He was retained to work directly under the supervision of the
commissioners and was expected to win the second competition.
Meanwhile, 'Ehornton had decided, after discussions with others,
that his drawings could not win, and so after seeing some of
Hallet's work, he completely revised his design. When Thornton's
still unfinished drawings were shown to the President, and to
Jefferson, they were very impressed, as were the commissioners.
Thornton's plan was accepted in March, 1793 and the commissioner
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PiATH S. DesilSn for the Capitol; submitted by James Diamond in the competition of 1792. It is difficultto take seriously a design
with a weathercock of such fantastic proportions. ReproducPd by courtesy of The Maryland Historical Society
PLATE 8. East elevation of Capitol as redesigned ~by William Thornton after his appointment ais commissioner in 1794.
drawing is in th~e Library of Congress
PLATE 11.. West elevation of Thornton's revised design (1795-1797). Drawing shows the "Temple" which was to surmount the
'circular Conferenci'Room. This "Temple" has been misunderstood as an alternative design for the Do~me. Original is~ in the
Library of Congress
PLAT.E 10: 1)esign for the Capitol, by Hallet (1793). Original drawing is in the Llbrary of` Congress
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PLATE 9 Plan or the apitol as moifid y ale hrnThrno'sdeig2
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PLUe 14. Plan shot
"History of the
oi Capilol when first occupied by Conpress in 18001. Reproduced from Brown's
began immediately pressing for more information and drawin68
so that the project could begin; they expressed hope that they could
have the foundations in by the latter part of the year.
Thornton got married after the competition, and some sources
say that his wife, an artist, assisted him in the drawing of
the Capitol plans. As the first of the Capitol architects, he
made many friends in Washington. His interest in race horses gave
him something in common with many of the Southerners, and influenced
his getting the commission for the home of John Tayloe, Octagon
House.3 He built Tudor Place in Georgetown, Woodlawn in Alexandria,
and Brentwood in the Federal District. Thornton was later appointed
to the Board of Commissioners and after that was put in charge of the
first JSatent Office due to the broad interests referred to earlier.
Two points of interest in his career at the Patent Office are his
action in the Fulton/Fitch steamboat controversy, and his saving of
the Patent Office during the War of 1812.
When Robert Fulton was claiming credit for developing the
steamboat, Thornton defended the work of John Fitch who he knew,
fromt personal association and involvement, had done the earlier
work. He wrote a pamphlet in 1810 which defended the work
of Fitchr Later in his career, during the War of 1812, when the
British were burhing Washington, Thornton stood in the door of the
Patent Office and chastised the British for their barbarism in the
burning of the building. The British withdrew and left the building
unharmed. Thornton was fortunate in that his work was recognized
while he was living, and on his death many government leaders,
including the President, followed his body to its burial.
Those early days as Capitol architect, however, had not been
at all smooth, largely due to conflicts with Stephen Hallet.
Thornton turned down an opportunity to supervise the Capitol
construction, and the commissioners, who had expressed disappointment
that Hallet had not won the competition, appointed him to study
Thornton's plans and estimate the cost. With the aid of other
losers in the competition, Hallet began objecting to many points
in the plan and eventually caused serious doubts about the
feasibility of executing the design. Structural complaints
were made about some spans being too great, and objectionable
columns under other spans. Eventually Thornton's plan came
through with minor changes, but Hallet and Hoban were appointed
joint supervisors on the project. Hallet continued to attack the
Thornton plan, spurred by the affront of being beaten out by an
amateur. He continued to work on and submit unsolicited plans
of his on, and to make minor changes in the construction without
approval. Hoban was largely absorbed in the supervision of the
White House, which was his design, and Hallet was left unchecked
in changing numerous things. The final straw came when he made
a major foundation change, laying the foundation for an open,
square court. This alteration focused attention on all that he
had done, and the commissioners sharply checked him in a letter.
Hallet resigned, but the commissioners were so angry that they
refused to accept the resignation and fired him instead. An
illustration of the displeasure is Washington's reaction over
Ptun 18. The old Seriate Chamber; Later remodeled for the Supreme Court., Photographled fpolr aIn.old print by L, C. Handy
the foundation changes it is said that when he saw the changes
he expressed his disapproval in a style of such warmth as his
dignity seldom permitted.".l Hallet's major contribution had
been the the idea of the dome with the flanking wings, and although
he kept all of his records when he left, his original design drawing
is in the Library of Congress.
Hallet was replaced by a young and inexperienced George
Hadefield. Hadefield came highly recommended by the British
ambassador at the time, but according to Thornton, he later
admitted that be h~ad never supervised any project, public or private.
He also began by abrasively criticising the plans and the work.
Thornton was immediately alienated and by this time he was a commissioner,
so Hadefield never had a chance. He also undertook other commissions
in Washington, such as the treasury and Extecutive Offices, the City
Hall, the county jail, the arsenal, Branch Bank of the U.S., and
private residences for: Commodore Porter and George Washington
Parke Custis. The last is known as the Custis-Lee mansion in
Arlington Cemetery. His supervision of the Treasury and Executive
Offices, together with the problems in supervision of the Capitol,
led to his removal, in 1798. His failure on the Capitol project
dominated his other successes, and years later Latrobe wrote of
Hadefield, he loiters here, ruined in fortune, temper, and
After Hadefield was removed, George Washington gave Thornton
a mandate to get the construction going. Thornton gave Hallet
credit for many valuable contributions to the Capitol, but he accorded
him the total blame for the change in the foundations and the
reduction in size of the Senate chamber. He ordered Hallet-'s
square foundations torn out and replaced by circular ones.
Construction proceeded smoothly under Thornton until the Board
of Commissioners was abolished In 1802, at which time Thornton
was appointed to head the Patent Office.
Meanwhile, President Jefferson had become acquainted with
architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Latrobe had been asked by Jefferson
to design a huge dry dock for the Navy. Jefferson had suggested a size
about 175 feet by 200 feet, with a roof like the Halle aux Blds in
Paris. Latrobe came up with a design which Jefferson likg ~and
supported, but Congress never approved funds for. Lattrobe's
plan called for a structure 165 feet by 800 feet, and used
laminated beams for the roof type that Jefferson suggested.6
Jefferson determined through his dealings with Latrobe that
the architect was both easy to work with, and capable of handling
a, project of great scale. Jefferson had such a project on his
hands in the building of the Capitol.
Although the Capitol had been occupied since 1800 when the
House of Representatives began meeting in the North wing, there
were many problems to be solved. Basic repairs were already necessary,
the roof leaked and the plaster cracked. The House of Representatives
was using; a temporary room which they called the n Bake Oven ", due
its shape and the lack of ventilation. The central portion of
the building was a complex arrangement of foundations based
on two separate plans.
It was in this climate and when Congress appropriated
$50,000 to begin the South wing, that Jefferson off erred Latrobe
the job of Surveyor of the Publie Buildings of the United States
on March 6, 1803. Latrobe had only been in this country five years.
Latrobe visited Washington in March and April mainly for the
task of selecting a clerk of the works that he could rely on.
Latrobe did not plan to move to Washington, and he had several
other projects going. It was essential that a competent and compatible
clerk be chosen so that Latrobe could make the decisions by mail
when necessary, and be sure that they were executed properly.
Re selected John Lenthall, an experienced builder who lived in
Washington. Lenthall's wife was the daughter of Robert King, the
city surveyor, so Lenthall had an intimate knowledge of
Washington conditions and personalities. The first letter from
Latrobe to Lenthall says that Latrobe has secured housing for him
near the Capitol*r There was a warm personal relationship between
the two even though Lenthall grew increasingly emotional and
volatile over his tenure. His single-mindedness toward the Capitol
work led him to be intolerant and rude to those of lesser dedieation,
bupmis admiration of Latrobe was unfailing.
When Latrobe was appointed to the job and studied the state
of the project, he was given five different plans, but only had
room shapes to go by as Thornton had not provided any sections
Latrobe wrote a long report on his examination of the work, and
met with Thornton to get information he needed. The main points
of his report were that the quality of work was so low, much of it
should be removed for safety reasons, auxiliary spaces called for
were not there and lighting the spaces that were would be difficult.
Wood beam were already rotting and the structure needed a roof which
would not leak. Latrobe's task was multiface~tedb He had to remove
unsafe construction, prepare drawings for the work to be done,
negotiate changes in the plan where he felt they were necessary,
acquire the stone necessary to get the exterior up so that Jefferson
would have something to show Congress, negotiate contracts and
a multitude of other related jobs, all from a distance.8
A year after Latrobe hrad been hired, the final plan for the House
of Representatives was still not decided upon. Thornton was asked
to show what he intended, and he furnished a plan with the committee
rooms encircling the chamber. Latrobe said that this would make the
chamber an impossibly dark area, and he went on to get all his facts
together and once and for all air out all the difficulties and
problems with Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was finally convinced
that changes were necessary and ordered Latrobe to do what was
required to straighten things out, but to stay as close as possible
to the plan approved by Washington. It was at this time when Latrobe
changed Thornton's ellipse to two semi-circles butting against a
parallelogram; he had objected to the former plan on acoustical and
Thornton became an intractable enemy and was the source or
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PLATE 19. Latrobe's; modification of Thornton's design for the Hall of Representatives. Origina ~drawing is in ~the Library of
inspiration for countless personal attacks on Latrobe during his tenure.
Many of these attacks came through the Washington Federalist, the
local newspaper. This conflict was finally halted when Latrobe
initiated a libel suit against Thornton. Thornton's lawyer,
Francis Scott Key, had to ask for numerous delays while trying to
prepare a defense. Thornton's letter had been full of biased,
unsubstantiated, fictitious material, that he never could provide Key
with data for a defense, and Latrobe won the decision. His Rawyer
did not press for damages.
Latrobe was responsible for bringing two Italian sculptors
to this country to work on the decoration for the Capitol.
Fransoni and Andrei created much of the rich sculpture on the
Capitol. Fransoni was the more prolific of the two, but much of the
work he did was destroyed when the British burned the building.
Andrei was very slow, but one of his works was creation of the
Sworn Cob Capital which was designed by Latrobe. Latrobe said he got
more praise from Congress for the capitals than he did for anything
in the major work. He also designed the Tobacco Leaf Capital, still
there today, and a Cotton Capital which might have been used in the
North wing destroyed by the British.9
In spite of a traumatic budget overrun, and Lenthall's tragic
death when an arch collapsed on him, Latrobe had completed the
Rouse and Senate chambers, the Supreme Court chamber and all
required auxiliary rooms. Latrobe then studied the building and
recommended the extension to the west in which a library would go.
The final appropriation was made in April 1812, but the finished
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PLATEC 1-t. Drlaing or 'Tobacco leaf" capital. De-signed by Latrobe. Re-
prodigd from Brown's "History of the United States Capitol"
Capitol would not long stan. During the War of 1812, the British
burned fires in every room, shot rockets through the roof, and
when the House of Representatives withstood the punishment, they
built a great bonfire in the middle of the chamber with all the
combustible material they could find until the roof structure was
Latrobe was recalled to rebuild the Capitol. This was a certain
vindication of Latrobe of the complaints and criticisms lodged
against him during the original construction. He went at the job
with great enthusiasm, seeing the opportunity to create a better
and finer building. The same old problems arose again, however,
with rising material costs and scarcities Latrobe's attention
to other commissions in other cities, labor problems and strikes,
pressure from Congress to build faster with better materials on
less money, and a deteriorating relationship with the commissioner
to whom he reported, made.the project increasingly difficult for
Latrobe. There was a hostility toward Latrobe among members of
Congress and the President that can only be only be understood
after careful, study of the channels of authority in the construction
and of the peculiar personalities of all the individuals involved.
Ramlin points out in his Biography of Latrobe what the architect
accomplished in twenty months,
Completed demolition of damaged structure
-Designed a different, better plan for the south wing
Designed an almost new horth wing, with a larger Senate
chamber that Congress wanted
-Designed the central rotunda and western extension
-Despite problems mentioned above, completed the north
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PULTO 29.-l(p~earbnce of Capitol after fire of 1814. Sketrp by miniahltapainitr n~mrd Cllllrnden Rrprodu~d from Blo~
"History of the United States Capitol"
and south wings except for roofing and finish work.
Because of the extent of the damage, and the new plans,
this was the equivalent of at least six years of original
building accomplishment, completed in two and a half years*11
The climax of the problems came when the commissioner with
whom Latrobe was having problems, reprimanded Latrobe in front of
the President. Latrobe, his son having recently died, having
broken with an old friend over a design disagreement, and being
heavily in debt, was in no frame of mind to endure further insult
at the hands of Lane. He physically grabbed Lane and told him
that if he were not a cripple he would shake him to atoms".12
As a result of the incident, Latrobe knew that he could not remain
on the project so he resigned.
On a couple of occasions, when President Monroe visited
Boston, he was shown around by Charles Bulfinch. Bulfinch had been
born in Boston, and had grown up during the Revolution, and remembered
such events as the Boston Tea Party, the fight against the Stamp Act,
and the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill. He was able to see
the latter from the roof of his home. Bulfinch was born into a
wealthy family and later spent a year and a half travelling
around Europe, visiting places which were recommended by 'Thomas
Jefferson. He returned home and acted as an advisor on construction
matters for friends. He submitted a plan for the state house to
be built on Bunker Hill, and the plan won. It was delayed for a
few years because of the cost, but when it was commenced in 1795,
Samuel Adams laid the cornerstone and Paul Revere conducted the
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I)LATE 46. Eleuati-n drawing of Capitol, by C. A,,Dusby, an English architect. Measurements taken in Ls19; pu61BheJ ir~ Ir zi
Masonic ceremonies. From his early success, he built a successful
practice, but lost his family fortune in a big housing
development scheme which forced him into bankruptcy. From this
point he was to rely exclusively on his architectural practice
to support his family. On one of his jobs, he had met James Monroe
before he was President, and Monroe had him shown around the
Capitol ruins*1) Monroe, therefore, knew Bulfinch before he went
to Boston. Near the end of Latrobe's time on the job, Bulfinch
began getting feelers about the job. Although Latrobe's
removal as architect was thought to be coming soon, Bulfinch
refused to submit any application which might lead to Latrobe's
dismissal. He did, however, submit an application promptly
upon Latrobe's resignation.
Bulfinch was appointed to execute the plans, and was very enthused ibout the~
about the work. As an aid in communication, he had a model built
which he used to present the building to Congress, and explain the
plans. This was a very successful move and resulted in an early
appropriation.14 He also showed the Congress several proposals
for the Capitol dome, including one which he thought was too
high for good taste. To his dismay, Congress liked'the highest
dome and some were heard to express the wish that it could be
higher. Thanks to Latrobe, Bulfinch found many plans and
much material on hand. Bulfinch was a sensitive and understanding
individual who realized that his task was to build according to
existing plans, and he willingly did this, making only corrections
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PLATE 47. Plan of the Capitol, by C. A. Busby, showinP rhonnPP R.I uPi(j
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of errors and refinements. He gave attention to the hazards
of storing fuel, and completed the Library of Congress. One
of the changes he made was in the details of the Western fronts
he followed the theme of his Boston State House, and the result is a
more delicate treatment than Latrobe had designed. He worked on the project
until 1829 when the Congress abolished his position. Under Bulfinch
the Capitol was restored and the design completely executed much
as Latrobe had intended.
It wasn't long before growth of the country created the need for
more space. The Commission on Public Buildings recommended expansion
of the Capitol, and Robert Mills, then Architect of Public Buildings,
was ordered by Congress to hold a competition. In the notice, Mills
said that the extension could be projecting wings or a separate
building within the enclosure to the east. He stated that they
preferred plans which related to the present building; and preserved
the present symmetry. Though only one plan would be adopted, the
commission reserved the right to form a final plan from the elements
of the submitted plans. The prize was to be five hundred dollars*15
Architect Thomas Ustick Walter was selected as a result of the
competition, but the plan he finally came up with was not his
submission, for his earliest plans were for a single building.
After he was sworn in on .1June 10, 1851, we worked on several
other plans, and the cornerstone of the extension was laid on
July rcth, 1851. Among other things placed in the stone was a
speech made by Daniel Webater, Secretary of State, at the ceremony.
During the next couple of months, Walter entered into many contracts
for materials and services. Some examples are, 5,ooo,000 bricks Q
$1.67 per thousand, hydraulic cement at $1.17 a barrel with 12)#
credited for each returned barrel, and marble from Lee, Mass. at
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PCl ATE 61. Pla ofI th Cap to-. co p e e y at r e r d cd f o ro n it r ft e t d S a e a Ito
65iP a cubic foot for blocks under thirty cubic feet, and $1.98
a cubic foot for all blocks over thirty cubic feet.16
Arrangements were moving along well, but without keeping
the Congress informed of the progress. Congress began pressing the
president for details they were especially interested in
the arrangements for proper heating, ventilation, lighting and
acoustics, all of which had troubled them in the older building.
By December 1852, all the foundations had been laid, and they ranged
in thickness from fifteen to forty feet.
About this time, the LibrarysofCon ress burned, and Walter was commissioned
to examine the damage and make recommendations for repair, and
expansion. The Senate approved his plans which called for interior
structural and decorative detail of iron, even including bookcases
and shelves. The contract for the ironwork went to Beebe and Co. of
It seems that no work could be done on the Capitol without
the controversy caused by jealous and self-serving personalities
involved in the supervision, or trying to gain some authority
in the matter. President Fillmore was not moved by the Congressional
pressures to do this or do that, and he supported the architect in
pursuing the work as it was planned. Walter, however, was to
report to the Secretary of the Interior on the extension work.
The Commissioner of Public Buildings, William Esby, wanted
supervision of the work, and he complained from the beginning about
methods of work. He finally made charges of fraud in the employment
practices, in the letting of contracts, and the quality of materials
and workmanship. Examination of the projectzbecause of these charges,
showed that the work had been well done, and that the problems
which did exist were due to governmental red tape forcing the
architect to do something other than what he felt was best. One
example was the purchase of stone and the working of the stone let
as contracts with separate parties, instead of as one contract as
When President Franklin Pierce took office, he was not as
strong when it came to resisting Can~gress and other critics.
He changed supervision to the War Department, and Captain MI.C.
Mleigs was put in charge. Meigs conducted a thorough study of the
state of the work and Walter was thoroughly vindicated by the
results. They concluded that the work was done well, and that the
marble, after it dried out, would be the most beautiful specimen
of marble work in the United States. Some changes were made in the
interior design, however, and the chambers were moved to the center
of the wings, on axis with the old Capitol. This resulted in a
clam for compensation by Charles Anderson, one of the competitors,
because he was the only one in the competition who placed the
chambers in that position.
Costs went up and the bricks ordered in December 1852, 10,000,000
were to cost $5*85 per thousand.17The basement story was completed in
1853, except for the arches to support the main floor, but the
supply of stone was too slow. It had to be shipped ninety miles
by rail to Bridgeport, Conn., then by water to Washington.
Finally however, after a few years of relatively smooth work, Captc.
Meigs reported that the House of Representatives was ready for
Walter had been authorized to design a new dome for the
Capitol, and the result was the cast iron dome we know today.
By 1858, the dome was complete to the cornice of the colonnade.i
Work on the Senate was slowed by delays in getting the necessary ironwork.
Stairs, fixtures and other decorations were ready for the Senate,
and a new ten inch gas main was installed with an eight inch branch for
each wing, but when they were put in, it was discovered that the
gas company was incapable of providing that quantity of gas. They
had to install a new gasometer in order to have that capability.
The Library of Congress was completed, and the Senate wing
was ready for occupancy on January 4th, 1859*
The internal construction of the buildings is solid brick
masonry with all ceilings and floors of brick vaulting, except
the ceilings over the chambers which were cast iron with glazed i
panels on which were painted the heralds of the states. The roof
was carried by trusses of rolled beams and iron rods, ang'covered
by glass and copper laid on rolled iron purlins.
The relationship between Meigs and Walter began to deteriorate,
(Shades of Lane and Latrobe.), and a battle of authority was carried
on over the possession of the drawings. Interestingly, a series
of office relocations carried them physically farther apart as the
relationship declined. Walter was finally upheld by an interpretation
of policy by an Ulndersecretary of War, who stated that the drawings
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PLATE 67. Section of Dome; designed by Thomas U. Walter. Original
drawing is in the Ljinary of Congress Il3
PLAT~E5' 68.' Secio of Dome show;j~iTing cosruto o caflin n
temprar rof;dsgF y hmsU atr Oiia si h
Librar of Cogress
i ~ ~ ~ 195 ]i~w d
were to remain in the office of the architect, even though Meigs
should have them as he needed them for work. Mleigs then wrote him
a rather insubordinate letter in which he said that he, Meigs, was
as capable of interpreting~ the policy as any undersecretary or clerk.
When the Secretary of War returned and learned of the letter, Mieigs
was sternly censured and relieved a9 duty on the project. Meigs
wrote a letter to the President defending his position, but to no
The War Betw~een the States slowed wofik on the building, due
to the focus of attention which it demanded, the expense of it,
and the scarcity of materials and labor it caused. For a time the
western portion was turned into a bakery for the soldiers, and the
crypt was used for flour storage. Then it was converted into a
hospital when 1500O beds were moved into every part of the building.
Finally the Commissioner of Public Buildings protested, and President
Lincoln ordered everything moved out just in time to clean up for
Some work continued, however, and the dome was completed
and the Statue of Freedom raised into place on December 2, 1863*
When the Statue was put in place, a thirty-five gun salute was
fired at the Capitol, followed by a dozen more thirty-five gun
salutes, in successiongfrom forts around the city.20
After another shift in the supervision, Walter resigned in
1865 when the Secretary of the Interior voided a contract that
Walter had made and ordered the Commissioner of Public Buildings to
PLATE 72. The Capital with city and Potomac River in background. The Washin tn Mlonument is show n with square base,, de-
signed by Robert Mills, but. never built. Tiber canal occupies present location of Constltution .Avenle f'rom which it hirns to
the south. Fmrontan old engraving in the author's collection
assume control of the project. When Walter left/ the dome and the
new wings of the Capitol were virtually complete.
With Walter's resignation, the Capitol as we know it was
completed. It is an interesting story in which the personalities
of the parties involved cannot be separated from the architecture.
Even now, questions have arisen on changes in the Capitol, and
bracing of the columns on the western extension bear witness that
some work will have to be done on the building. In light of
past experiences related here, it will be interesting to follow
the progress of the issue.
I.T. Frary, They Built TheCapitol (Richmond, Virginias Garret and
Massie, 1980O), p.21
'H.P. Caemmerer, Washington. The National_ Capital (Washington, D.C. sGovernment
Printing Office,1932), p.259*
4Frary, op. cit., p.146.
6T. Hamelin, Bengimin Henry Latrobe (Nlew Yorks Qxford University Press, 1955)
13rary, op.cit., P.137.
15 GlnLrwHsoyof the U.S. C~apitol. (Washinfltonc, D.C.1 C overnmen~t
Printing; Office, 1903), p.1169
Brown, Glenn. A History of the_ U~nited States Capitol. Washington, D.C.s
Government Printing Office, 1900.
Caemmerer, H.P. Washington, The Na~tional Capital. Washington, D.CIs
Government Printing Office, 1932.
Frary, I.T. They Built The Capitol. Richmond, Vrirginias Garrgtt and
Gallagher, H.MI.P. Robert Mills. New Yorks Columbia University Press, 1935*
Hamlin, Talbot. Benjamin Henry Latrobe. New Yorks Oxford University Press,
Kite, Elizabeth S. L'Enfant and Washi~niton Arno Press, 1970.
Padover, S.K., ed. Thomas Jefferson and the National Capital. Washing-
ton, D).C.s Government Printi~ng Office, 196
Truett, R.B., ed. Wa shingtonL, D.C. A @uide to the Nation's Capital.
New Yorks Kastings House, 168