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Facts About the US Capitol

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Facts About the US Capitol

US Capitol at Night.

Courtesy of Destination DC. By Jack McGuire.

The US Capitol is frequently mistaken for the White House by first-time visitors to Washington, DC. The US Capitol is one of the most visited federal buildings. Here are some facts that might interest visitors:

  • Congress first met in the Capitol Building on November 17, 1800.

  • No one is buried in the Capitol. A tomb area was created for George Washington's body, but Washington's will expressed his wish to be buried at Mount Vernon, and that is where he is buried.

  • The custom of flying the flags 24 hours a day over the east and west fronts was begun during World War I.

  • The top of the U.S. Capitol is 209 feet lower than the Washington Monument.

  • The U.S. Capitol Dome is made of 8,909,200 pounds of cast iron.

  • The Rotunda, used for inaugurations and distinguished individuals lying in state, is a circular room located on the second floor. It is 96 feet in diameter and rises 180 feet from the floor to the canopy.

  • That statue of King Kamehameha I was once the largest statue in the Statuary Hall Collection. It has since been moved to the Capitol Visitor Center. It is prominently displayed and is part of the lore, but the Hawaiian delegation had to approve its location because it's bad luck to step over him...so he couldn't be placed underground where people would walk above.

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