Today we toured the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Although lifetime Marylanders, this was the first time either of us had taken the opportunity to tour the place where the laws of the land are made. We couldn’t have been given a better tour than the one provided by Susan’s cousin Lindsay who is currently interning at the U.S. Capitol. Lindsay used her staff privileges to provide a personal tour while providing us the historical background and personal insights into her favorite part of the Capitol. We hadn’t seen Lindsay for several years and seeing her today was our favorite part of the trip but we also learned a thing or two!
Some of the things we learned with our children were:
- The Legislative Branch of government is housed at the U.S. Capital Building
- George Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building in 1793
- The British burned down the U.S. Capitol Building in 1814
- Abraham Lincoln continued the building of the capitol dome even during the Civil War because he saw it as affirmation that the union would continue: “”If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign we intend the Union shall go on.”
- The Supreme Court held session in the Capitol Building between 1800 and 1860
- The most (in)famous case argued before the Supreme Court while it was held in the Capitol Building was Dred Scott v. Sandford
- The Greek gods painted alongside George Washington on the dome of the rotunda include Athena, Poseidon, Hermes, Hephaestus and Demeter
We enjoyed this tour and it should definitely be part of a trip to Washington D.C. We would recommend visiting during the week, however, when the Senate and House chambers are open for the tour (we weren’t able to see them even with Lindsay’s staff credentials). We would also like to go back and visit while congress is in session so that we can experience congress in action.
Time Spent: About 2 hours
Cost: Free (we parked on the street at no cost but it may not be so easy to locate parking during the week)