Club Tours the U. S. Capitol

Submitted by Brooke C. Stoddard on Thu, 2007-07-12 12:35.

 

Fifteen Club members toured the U. S. Capitol on July 11 with Steve Livengood, the chief guide of the U. S. Capitol Historical Society. The tour was arranged by member Mike Eck; three special guests were staff members from the Embassy of Slovenia.

Livengood began the 2 1/2 hour tour in the Hart Senate Office Building where several models of the early Capitol are on display. He reminded his listeners that the Capitol was designed in the early republic by amateurs, that its architecture was meant to embody some of the principles of the government only recently established (equal balance to each chamber of the legislature, for example), and that the building was purposefully placed at a higher elevation than the home for the chief executive.

After a ride on the underground subway from the Russell Senate Office Building to the Senate wing, Livengood took members to the Brumidi Corridors, famous for the frescoes painted by the immigrant Italian who worked 25 years on the Capitol interior. One of the accompanying photos shows work underway to restore Brumidi's artwork to their original brilliance.

The tour passed through the Old Supreme Court Room, famous also for the first electronic message (Samuel Morse on a telegraph to Baltimore "What hath God wrought?") and then into the Rotunda -- where Livengood explained many of the paintings in detail -- and the Old House of Representatives chamber, now Statuary Hall.

Returning toward the Russell Building, tour participants heard bells, noticed flashing lights and then saw "about a third of the Senate" hasten to the subway for a vote on the Senate floor.

Several photographs accompany this story. Thanks especially to Mike Eck and to all who came and assisted.