Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

passed and unsurpassable. It springs into the heavens, and rests there as lightly as a cloud. One finds it almost impossible to believe that there are four thousand tons of iron in so airy and ethereal a creation.

One can scarce comprehend at first glance the titanic proportions of the Capitol. It is in three por

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

tions, representing three distinct epochs of time, a central body and two wings. The length of all is seven hundred and fifty-one feet--nearly a fifth of a mile,--and the width three hundred and twenty feet. The dome rises three hundred and seven feet above the foundation, and two hundred and eighteen feet above the balustrade of the roof, and is surmounted by Crawford's colossal statue of Freedom. The old Capitol—the centre of the modern edifice—is three hundred and fifty-two feet four inches in length, with wings, each one hundred and twenty-one feet wide, and including the portico two hundred and ninety feet deep. The extensions, each three hundred and twenty-four feet long, and one hundred and fifty-two feet wide, are joined to the old Capitol by fine marble corridors, each forty-four feet in length and twenty-six feet in width, with outside colonnades of four columns, making a total width of fiftysix feet. The whole edifice rests upon a rustic basement, which supports donnance of Corinthian pilasters. Adorning the centre the east front is noble portico one hundred and sixty feet in length, supported by a double row of columns, each thirty feet high-the

an

or

on

a

forum in which most of the Presidents of

STATUE OF FREEDOM ON CAPITOL DOME.

the Republic have been inaugurated. This is really the main entrance to the Capitol, although the city, growing in a different direction from what the founders expected, lies mainly to the westward, in the rear of the edifice,-an anomaly that will be remedied when the improvements now being made on the western front are completed. A grand stairway leads to the portico. On the tympanum above is an allegorical group designed by John

ALLEGORICAL GROUP ON PORTICO OF THE CAPITOL,

DESIGNED BY JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. Quincy Adams, symbolical of the Genius of America. At the right and left of the main entrance, in niches, are two massive statues of Italian marble, representing Peace and War. A basso-relievo representing Washington as being crowned with laurel by Fame and Peace is seen over the door. The door itself is a triumph of art. It is of bronze, massive in form, and bears designs in high relief, intended to illustrate the career of Columbus—the work of the American

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]

THE ROGERS BRONZE DOOR AT THE MAIN ENTRANCE OF THE CAPITOL.

199

sculptor Randolph Rogers. The Senate and House extensions have similar porticos, supported by massive marble columns, and on the tympanum of the Senate portico is a marble group sculptured by Thomas Crawford, representing American civilization and the decadence of the Indian races.

There are also porticos on the north and south projections, and on the west front, and a series of pilasters and columns that extend quite around the edifice.

Such is the exterior of this grand temple of the people. Let us enter and see how the people's business is conducted within. There are here three great branches of government each worthy of our careful attention—the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court. Here too is the people's library, originally designed for the sole use of members of Congress and other officers of government, but which has become such a vast storehouse and treasury of books that it is sought by students and literary men in general, and is soon to be removed to an edifice of its own.

If we enter by the east portico we shall pass first into the grand Rotunda which occupies the centre of the old Capitol, and has for a ceiling the great dome itself. The Hall of the Senate is on the right at the extreme north end of the building, the Hall of the House on the left or at the south end, the two occupying what are known as the Senate and House extensions. On the right, in the original building, between the Rotunda and the Senate, is the Chamber of the Supreme Court, formerly the Hall of the Senate; on the left, between the Rotunda and the

« ZurückWeiter »