US Capitol Building
If you are heading to Washington D.C., then the first place you will want to stop at as your tour the city is the United States Capitol Building located on the east end of the National Mall. The Capitol Building has a long history with almost as many revisions as the legislative branch of our government that calls the building home. The current building is the fourth Capitol building and the first located in Washington D.C. The first three were located in Maryland, New York, and Philadelphia.
US Capitol Construction
Construction on the Washington U.S. Capitol began in 1793 when George Washington laid the cornerstone. The majority of the construction work was actually done by African Americans, both free and slaves. The building was later expanded in 1850 and a new dome replaced the older, smaller one. The massive weight of the new dome, more than 3 times the height of the old one, led to further renovation on the East portion to help support the new weight in 1904.
The Capitol Houses Congress
The Capitol Building is home to the U.S. Congress and has north (Senate) and south (House) wings. Addresses in Washington, DC are labeled NE, NW, SE, or SW based on the location of the Capitol building’s rotunda. The Capitol also has its own private subway and underground tunnels connecting the main building with the Congressional Office Buildings.
Here is a video showing the fountain outside the Capitol.
Free guided tours of the Capitol are available to the public Monday through Saturday throughout the year except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.