Capitol Hill Washington, D.C.

U.S. Capitol

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The main purpose of the legislative branch is to make the laws that govern the people. There are 100 Senators (two from each state) and 435 members of the House of Representatives (based on the population in each state). The Senate meets in the North Wing of the U.S. Capitol, and the House of Representatives meets in the South Wing. A flag flies over each wing of the Capitol when that part of Congress is in session.

Interesting Facts:

  • The flag flying over the entrance to the Capitol is one of several flags authorized by Congress to remain raised 24 hours a day.
  • Below the Rotunda, there is an empty crypt that was built to hold the body of George Washington. It remains empty today, as Washington’s body is buried at his home, Mt. Vernon.
  • The cast-iron dome atop the Capitol is the fourth largest in the world, rising 180 feet above the floor and weighing almost nine million pounds.
  • In 1864, Congress passed a law stating “The President is hereby authorized to invite each state to provide two statues, in marble or bronze, of deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious of their historic renown or for distinguished civil service or military services, such as each State may deem to be worthy of this national commemoration.” These statues are on display in Statuary Hall and throughout the Capitol.
  • The Capitol has remained open all night long only once in history. This was when John F. Kennedy was laid in state in the Rotunda, prior to his funeral.

Links:

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Architect of the Capitol

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