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APPENDED to L'Enfant's plan were certain designs for public buildings and works of art intended to dignify and adorn the new city, which originated with the three founders, and which we shall describe in this early chapter not only on account of their intrinsic interest, but also to recall them to public remembrance, for not all of these plans have been carried out.
“I. An equestrian figure of George Washington, a monument voted in 1783 by the late Continental Congress.
“II. An historic column, also intended for a mile or itinerary column, from whose station at a mile from the Federal House all distances and places throughout the continent are to be calculated.
“III. A naval itinerary column, proposed to be erected to celebrate the first rise of a navy, and to stand a ready monument to perpetuate its progress and achievements.
“IV. Fifteen squares to be divided among the several States of the Union for each of them to improve; the centres of these squares designed for statues, columns, obelisks, etc., such as the different States may choose to erect.
A church intended for national purposes, such as public prayer, thanksgiving, funeral orations, etc., and assigned to the special use of no particular sect or denomination, but equally open to all. It will likewise be a proper shelter for such monuments as were voted by the late Continental Congress for those heroes who fell in the cause of liberty, and for such others as may hereafter be decreed by the voice of a grateful nation.
“VI. Five grand fountains.
“VII. A grand avenue, four hundred feet in breadth, and about a mile in length, bordered with gardens ending in a slope from the houses on each side ; this avenue to lead to the monument of Washington, and to connect the Congressional garden with the President's park.
“VIII. The water of Tiber Creek to be conveyed to the high ground where the Congress House stands, and after watering that part of the city, its overplus to fall from under the base of the edifice, and in a cascade of twenty feet in height and fifty in breadth, into the reservoir below, thence to run in three falls through the gardens in the grand canal.”
The site designated for the statue of Washington was the one now occupied by the Monument. The historic or itinerary column was to have been placed in the open space east of the Capitol, where East Capitol Street, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Tennessee avenues meet. The church (why should it not now be built as the American Westminster Abbey?) was to have occupied the site of the present Patent Office. The “five grand fountains” were to have been placed at reservation 17 on New Jersey Avenue, at the intersection of F Street North and Maryland Avenue toward the Baltimore road, at H Street North and New York Avenue, at N Street North and Pennsylvania Avenue, and in Market Space.
Washington in the Territory of Columbia. A premium of a lot in this city to be designated by impartial judges, and five hundred dollars, or a medal of that value at the option of the party, will be given by the Commissioners of the Federal Buildings to the person who before the 15th of July, 1792, shall produce to them the most approved plan for a Capitol to be erected in this city; and two hundred and fifty dollars, or a medal, for the plan deemed next in merit to the one they shall adopt. The building to be of brick, and to contain the following apartments, to wit: A conference-room and a room for the Representatives, sufficient to accommodate three hundred persons each ; a lobby or ante-room to the latter ; a Senate room of twelve hundred square feet area ; an ante-chamber ; twelve rooms of six hundred square feet each for committee rooms and clerks' offices. It will be a recommendation of any plan if the central part of it may be detached and erected for the present with the appearance of a complete whole, and be capable of admitting the additional parts in future, if they shall be wanted. Drawings will be expected of the ground plots, elevations of each front, and sections through the building in such directions as may be necessary to explain the internal structure ; and an estimate of the cubic feet of brickwork composing the whole mass of the walls."
Of the many designs sent in two only seem to have been seriously considered by the President: one by Dr. William Thornton, an Englishman of fine natural abilities, but unskilled in architecture; a second by Stephen L. Hallett, a cultivated French architect, then residing in New York.
There is evidence that Dr. Thornton's plan was at first favored. Writing to the commissioners from Philadelphia, January 31, 1793, Washington observed that he had under consideration Hallett's plans for the Capitol, “which have a great deal of merit.” “Dr. Thornton," he continues, " has also given me a view of his, which come forward under very advantageous circumstances. The Grandeur, Simplicity, and Beauty of the exterior, the propriety with which the apartments are distributed, and the economy in the mass of the whole structure will, I doubt not, give it a preference in your eyes as it has in mine"; and he suggests that if the Doctor's plan is adopted, Hallett should be soothed as much as possible, and some employment be given him about the Capitol. Hallett, however, pointed out grave defects in Thornton's plan, and at the latter's request a commission of two practical architects chosen by himself was appointed to examine it. On July 25, 1793, Washington again wrote the commissioners that Mr. Carstairs and Colonel Williams (the two architects forming the commission) had rejected Dr.