All Weekend, Every Weekend. On C-SPAN3.

Designing the Capitol: 1803-1814

Exterior of the Original Capitol

Exterior of the Original Capitol

Washington, DC
Saturday, March 29, 2014

Architect Richard Chenoweth chronicles Benjamin Latrobe and President Jefferson’s efforts and disagreements over constructing the first U.S. Capitol building. When completed in 1811, Jefferson called the Hall of the House of Representatives the "finest room in the world."  No detailed visual record of the finished project exists, but using period drawings, letters between Latrobe and Jefferson, and original construction documents from the Library of Congress, Chenoweth has creates a virtual tour of the Hall of the House of Representatives and the Capitol exterior before the building was burned by the British in August 1814.

Chenoweth’s computer-graphic simulation was supported by two fellowships from the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, who hosted this hour-long event. 

Updated: Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 1:31pm (ET)

Related Events

The Role of Slave Labor in Building U.S. Capitol
Sunday, July 25, 2010     

When the U.S. Capitol was built over 200 hundred years ago, slaves played an important part in its construction. The U.S. Capitol Slave Task Force, appointed by Congress to find out more about this aspect of the building’s history, delivered its report to the House Administration Cmte. on November 7, 2007.

Honoring Slaves Who Built the U.S. Capitol
Sunday, July 25, 2010     

Congressional leaders unveiled two plaques honoring African-American slaves who helped build the U.S. Capitol. Historians say those slaves worked 12 hours days, six days a week. The Federal government rented those slaves from local slave owners at a rate of $5 per person per month.

Construction of the Capitol Visitor Center
Saturday, December 24, 2011     

The Capitol Visitor Center, part of the United States Capitol complex, was completed and opened to the public in December, 2008.

Next on American History TV, CVC marketing and communications director Tom Fontana speaks to a group at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society about the history of the construction of the largest and latest addition to the Capitol.

The Civil War: Building the U.S. Capitol
Saturday, September 7, 2013     

Author Guy Gugliotta examines the development and evolution of the U.S. Capitol building, which was started in 1790 with the help of slave labor. The Capitol was rebuilt after it was partially burned by British troops during the War of 1812. In the 1850s, the Capitol went through significant expansion to accommodate the growing number of legislators from newly admitted states. That process continued into the Civil War, with the 1863 completion of the Capitol dome coming to symbolize northern resolve to preserve the Union. The U.S. Capitol Historical Society hosted this event.

Design of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda
Saturday, September 21, 2013     

Architectural historian Don Alexander Hawkins explores how the U.S. Capitol was designed--specifically, the rotunda - the central room under the dome. He also introduces multiple blueprints and discusses the Capitol design competition. The U.S. Capitol Historical Society hosted this event.

U.S. Capitol Art of the American Revolution
Sunday, January 5, 2014     

In this program we look at art in the U.S. Capitol depicting the American Revolution. The chief of art and archives at the U.S. House of Representatives, Farar Elliott, analyzes the images of key Revolutionaries -- especially George Washington -- and profiles the artists behind the iconic paintings.

U.S. Capitol Dome Restoration
Saturday, January 18, 2014     

Reporters in Washington, DC were recently given a tour of the U.S. Capitol dome, which is undergoing a complete restoration. The cast iron outer shell of the dome has more than 1,000 cracks caused by aging and weather. Kevin Hildebrand from the U.S. Capitol Architect’s office explains the restoration process and gives reporters an inside look at how the dome was built over the original that sat on top of the capitol building. 

House Select Committee on Assassinations & the CIA
Today     

Author and English Professor Joan Mellen explains the CIA’s involvement in the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which met in 1976 to investigate the JFK and King murders.

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
Sunday     

Historians and law professors met at the University of Baltimore Law School to discuss Mick Caouette’s film “Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP.” They explored Marshall’s early law career as well as his work in the South to expand voting rights for African Americans. We also hear about his arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, and how he became the first African American appointed to the highest court in the land.  

The Presidency: John Quincy Adams
Sunday     

A conversation with author Fred Kaplan about his biography, “John Quincy Adams: American Visionary.” Although he was not remembered for being a great president, Fred Kaplan argues that John Quincy Adams was one of the most intellectual commanders in chief, and also the best Secretary of State in American history. The New-York Historical Society hosted this event. 

Share This Event Via Social Media

Photo Gallery

C-SPAN on Twitter (late 2012)