20.05.

1759: The United States Capitol

1759: The United States Capitol
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 20 May 1759
  • The original draft of William Thornton included the dome of the building, which was inspired by the buildings he had seen in Europe. Today's pompous white dome was actually made of cast iron.

William Thornton, a man who designed the United States Capitol in  Washington D.C. (the capital of the United States), was born on this day in 1759.

Of course, the Capitol is the seat of the Unites States Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government (consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives).

The Capitol Building has a symbolic meaning as the center of American political life, and is also the geographical center of Washington.

Interestingly, William Thornton was actually a doctor. In the 18th century, people had many interests regarding science, natural science and philosophy.

Therefore, William Thornton was interested in architecture, and other professions. He was also the first supervisor of the United States Patent Office.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson liked Thornton’s idea, and it was adopted. His draft included the dome of the building, which was inspired by the buildings he had seen in Europe. Later, the Capitol Building was largely rebuilt and modified.

Therefore, only the basic conceptual core had roots in  Thornton’s draft. For example, today’s pompous white dome of the Capitol was completed in 1866 (after the assassination of President Lincoln).

It is particularly interesting that this is the dome, although it looks like it was made of stone, is actually made of cast iron, similar to the Eiffel Tower. The iron on the dome is painted white, and it looks like stone.

There is a room where the Senate meets, and a room where the House of Representatives meets. There are reliefs of the famous historical legislators.

For example, the Roman Popes Gregory IX and Innocent III, Saint Louis IX of France, Hammurabi, Moses, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and Napoleon Bonaparte are among them.

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