The United States Capitol crypt is the large circular room filled with forty neoclassical Doric columns directly beneath the United States Capitol rotunda. It was built originally to support the rotunda as well as offer an entrance to Washington's Tomb. It currently serves as a museum and a repository for thirteen statues of the National Statuary Hall Collection.
The crypt originated with the initial designs drawn up for the United States Capitol by William Thornton, which called for a rotunda to be placed between the two wings of the building.The room beneath the rotunda was therefore required to support the large space above it. However, construction did not begin on the central part of the Capitol, where the rotunda and the room beneath it were located, until after the War of 1812.
Construction on the Capitol itself began in 1793, when the first American President, George Washington, laid down the cornerstone to the north wing of the building. [ citation needed ]Upon the death of Washington in 1799, the designers of the Capitol went to Martha Washington and requested permission to build a tomb for her husband in the Capitol. She acquiesced to this request and plans were made to construct the tomb underneath the floor that supported the rotunda. This area was designated the crypt, as it would serve as the entry to the tomb.
Delays wracked the construction efforts of the Capitol's builders, notably the interruption by the War of 1812, when all construction came to a halt. In August 1814, the British captured the city of Washington and set fire to the Capitol, nearly destroying the entire building. Thus, when construction recommenced after the war ended in 1815, it was initially to rebuild what had been lost to the fire.
The central section of the Capitol comprising the rotunda and the crypt was not completed until 1827 under the oversight of Architect of the Capitol Charles Bulfinch.However, plans to re-inter Washington in the Capitol fell apart when attempts were made to retrieve his body from Mount Vernon, the President's home, due to restrictions of Washington's will and refusal of the plantation's then owner, John Washington.
A marble compass was set into the floor of the chamber to mark the point where the four quadrants of the District of Columbia meet.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s the crypt was used for bicycle parking.
Today, the crypt serves as the main thoroughfare of the ground floor of the Capitol and is a stop for all Capitol Tours provided through the Capitol Visitor Center. The crypt also contains the Magna Carta Case, a gold case which held one of the copies of Magna Carta when it was on loan to the United States for the Bicentennial celebration.
There are 12 (previously 13) statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection, representing the 13 original states, located in the crypt. They are:
The bronze statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Virginia (by Edward V. Valentine, 1934) was removed on 21 December 2020. It is planned to be replaced by a statue of civil rights activist Barbara Johns.
The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the meeting place of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Though no longer at the geographic center of the federal district, the Capitol forms the origin point for the district's street-numbering system and the district's four quadrants.
The National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. The hall, also known as the Old Hall of the House, is a large, two-story, semicircular room with a second story gallery along the curved perimeter. It is located immediately south of the Rotunda. The meeting place of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 50 years (1807–1857), after a few years of disuse in 1864 it was repurposed as a statuary hall; this is when the National Statuary Hall Collection was established. By 1933 the collection had outgrown this single room, and a number of statues are placed elsewhere within the Capitol.
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. Limited to two statues per state, the collection was originally set up in the old Hall of the House of Representatives, which was then renamed National Statuary Hall. The expanding collection has since been spread throughout the Capitol and its Visitor's Center.
The Lincoln Tomb is the final resting place of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their four sons, Edward, William, and Thomas. It is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Constructed of granite, the tomb has a single-story rectangular base, surmounted by an obelisk, with a semicircular receiving room entrance-way, on one end, and semicircular crypt or burial-room opposite.
The Kentucky State Capitol is located in Frankfort and is the house of the three branches of the state government of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Larkin Goldsmith Mead, Jr. was an American sculptor who worked in a neoclassical style.
The Connecticut State Capitol is located north of Capitol Avenue and south of Bushnell Park in Hartford, the capital of Connecticut. The building houses the Connecticut General Assembly; the upper house, the State Senate, and lower house, the House of Representatives, as well as the office of the Governor of the State of Connecticut. The Connecticut Supreme Court occupies a building across Capitol Avenue.
Washington's Tomb is an empty burial chamber two stories directly below the Rotunda of the United States Capitol building. It was included in the original design of the building by William Thornton and intended to entomb the body of George Washington, the first President of the United States. The original design of the rotunda, and the Crypt beneath it, included a central glass floor allowing the public to view Washington's Tomb two floors below, but this was never implemented.
The Idaho State Capitol in Boise is the home of the government of the U.S. state of Idaho. Although Lewiston briefly served as Idaho's capital from the formation of Idaho Territory in 1863, the territorial legislature moved it to Boise on December 24, 1864.
The United States Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) is a large underground addition to the United States Capitol complex which serves as a gathering point for up to 4,000 tourists and an expansion space for the US Congress. It is located below the East Front of the Capitol and its plaza, between the Capitol building and 1st Street East. The complex contains 580,000 square feet (54,000 m2) of space below ground on three floors. The overall project's budget was $621 million.
The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., built 1818–1824. It is located below the Capitol dome, built 1857–1866; the later construction also extended the height of the rotunda walls. It is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart".
Franklin Bachelder Simmons was a prominent American sculptor of the nineteenth century. Three of his statues are in the National Statuary Hall Collection, three of his busts are in the United States Senate Vice Presidential Bust Collection, and his statue of Ulysses S. Grant is in the United States Capitol Rotunda.
The Hall of Columns is a more than 100-foot-long (30 m) hallway lined with twenty-eight fluted columns in the south wing extension of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is also the gallery for eighteen statues of the National Statuary Hall Collection.
The United States Capitol dome is the dome situated above the rotunda of the United States Capitol. The dome is 288 feet (88 m) in height and 96 feet (29 m) in diameter. It was designed by Thomas U. Walter, the fourth Architect of the Capitol, and constructed between 1855 and 1866 at a cost of $1,047,291.
Anne Whitney created two public statues of Samuel Adams. One, made in 1876, resides in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US Capitol, Washington, D.C.. The other, made in 1880, is located in front of Faneuil Hall Plaza in Boston.
John C. Calhoun is a marble sculpture depicting the American statesman of the same name by Frederick Ruckstull, installed in the United States Capitol's crypt, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of South Carolina in 1910.
James A. Garfield refers to two different sculptures depicting the American president of the same name by Charles Henry Niehaus. One is installed in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the other is installed at the United States Capitol's rotunda, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Nathaniel Greene is an 1870 marble statue of Nathanael Greene by Henry Kirke Brown, installed in the United States Capitol, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. It is one of two statues donated by the state of Rhode Island. The statue portrays Greene dressed in the uniform of a Revolutionary War general, holding a sword in his left hand.
Peter Muhlenberg, or John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, is an 1889 marble sculpture depicting the American clergyman, soldier, and politician of the same name by Blanche Nevin, installed in the United States Capitol's crypt, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. It is one of two statues donated by the state of Pennsylvania. The statue was accepted into the collection on February 28, 1889 by Pennsylvania Congressman Daniel Ermentrout.
Richard Stockton is a marble sculpture depicting the American lawyer, jurist, legislator of the same name by Henry Kirke Brown, installed in the United States Capitol's crypt, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was donated by the U.S. state of New Jersey in 1888.