Shop Amazon

The National Statuary Hall


  • Vicinity: S of Rotunda, US Capital Building

National Statuary Hall, also known as the Old Hall of the House, is the large, two-story, semicircular room south of the Rotunda. This historic space was the meeting place of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 50 years (1807-1857), and now serves as the main exhibition space for the National Statuary Hall Collection. - US Architect of the Capital


Advertisement

Timeline

Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1809/03/04 Dolley Madison First Lady James Madison gives his First Inaugural Address as Presidential of the United States. First Inauguration of James Madison
1809/03/04 James Madison US President James Madison gives his First Inaugural Address as Presidential of the United States. First Inauguration of James Madison
1809/03/04 John Marshall (Chief Justice) Chief Justice Chief Justice John Marshall administers the presidential oath to James Madison. First Inauguration of James Madison
1809/03/04 George Clinton (vice president) US Vice President George Clinton is inaugurated as Vice President of the United States. It is his second term as Vice President. First Inauguration of James Madison
1809/03/04 Thomas Jefferson Guest James Madison gives his First Inaugural Address as Presidential of the United States. First Inauguration of James Madison
1824/12/09 Marquis de Lafayette Guest of Honor Speaker of the House, Henry Clay introduces Lafayette at the House of Representatives. Congress pays Lafayette $200,000 for his distinguish serve to the United States, the amount he had spent of his own money on the war. Lafayette's Triumphal Tour of America
1825/09/06 Marquis de Lafayette Guest of Honor Lafayette addresses a joint session of the US Congress in Washington, DC Lafayette's Triumphal Tour of America
1848/02/23 John Quincy Adams Home John Quincy Adams suffers stroke at his desk on 21 February 1848, and dies 2 days later in an adjoining room.

Information »

National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building is built in the shape of an ancient amphitheater and is one of the earliest examples of Greek revival architecture in America. While most wall surfaces are painted plaster, the low gallery walls and pilasters are of sandstone. Around the room's perimeter stand colossal columns of variegated Breccia marble quarried along the Potomac River. The Corinthian capitals of white marble were carved in Carrara, Italy. A lantern in the fireproof cast-steel ceiling admits natural light into the Hall. The chamber floor is laid with black and white marble tiles; the black marble was purchased specifically for the chamber, while the white marble was scrap material from the U.S. Capitol extension project. The four fireplaces on the south side of the room, in conjunction with an ingenious central heating system, warmed the room during cold months.

Only two of the many statues presently in the room were commissioned for display in the original Hall of the House. Enrico Causici's neoclassical plaster Liberty and the Eagle looks out over the Hall from a niche above the colonnade behind what was once the Speaker's rostrum. The sandstone relief eagle in the frieze of the entablature below was carved by Giuseppe Valaperta. Above the door leading into the Capitol Rotunda is the Car of History by Carlo Franzoni. This neoclassical marble sculpture depicts Clio, the Muse of History, riding in the chariot of Time and recording events in the chamber below. The wheel of the chariot contains the chamber clock; the works are by Simon Willard. - US Architect of the Capital

History »

Many important events took place in this Chamber while it served as the Hall of the House. It was in this room in 1824 that the Marquis de Lafayette became the first foreign citizen to address Congress. Presidents James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Millard Fillmore were inaugurated here. John Quincy Adams, in particular, has long been associated with the Chamber. It was here in 1824 that he was elected President by the House of Representatives, none of the candidates having secured a majority of electoral votes. Following his presidency, Adams served as a Member in the Hall for 17 years. He collapsed at his desk from a stroke on February 21, 1848, and died 2 days later in an adjoining room.

The fate of the vacated Hall remained uncertain for many years, although various proposals were put forth for its use. Perhaps the simplest was that it be converted into additional space for the Library of Congress, which was still housed in the U.S. Capitol. More drastic was the suggestion that the entire Hall be dismantled and replaced by two floors of committee rooms. Eventually, the idea of using the chamber as an art gallery was approved, and works intended for the U.S. Capitol extensions were put on exhibit; among these was the plaster model for the Statue of Freedom, which was later cast in bronze for the Capitol dome. The lack of wall space effectively prevented the hanging of large paintings, but the room seemed well suited to the display of statuary. - US Architect of the Capital


Shop Amazon
Google Ad

Google Ad
?