National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. The hall, also known as the Old Hall of the House, is a large, two-story, semicircular room with a second story gallery along the curved perimeter. It is located immediately south of the Rotunda. The meeting place of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 50 years (1807–1857), after a few years of disuse in 1864 it was repurposed as a statuary hall; this is when the National Statuary Hall Collection was established. By 1933 the collection had outgrown this single room, and a number of statues are placed elsewhere within the Capitol.
The Hall is built in the shape of an ancient amphitheater and is one of the earliest examples of Neoclassical architecture in America. While most wall surfaces are painted plaster, the low gallery walls and pilasters are 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 Capitol extension project.
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 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.
This chamber is the second hall and third meeting place built for the House of Representatives in this location. Prior to this, the House members met in a squat, oval, temporary building known as "the Oven," which had been hastily erected in 1801. The first permanent Hall, designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, was completed in 1807; however, it was destroyed when invading British troops burned the Capitol in August, 1814 during the War of 1812. The Hall was rebuilt in its present form by Latrobe and his successor, Charles Bulfinch, between 1815 and 1819. Unfortunately, the smooth, curved ceiling promoted annoying echoes, making it difficult to conduct business. Various attempts to improve the acoustics, including hanging draperies and reversing the seating arrangement, proved unsuccessful. The only solution to this problem was to build an entirely new Hall, one in which debates could be easily understood. In 1850, a new Hall was authorized, and the House moved into its present chamber in the new House wing in 1857.
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 1825 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 two days later in the adjoining office, at the time, of the Speaker of the House.
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 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 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.
In 1864, in accordance with legislation sponsored by Representative Justin Morrill, Congress invited each state to contribute two statues of prominent citizens for permanent display in the room, which was renamed National Statuary Hall. The legislation also provided for the replacement of the chamber's floor, which was leveled and covered with the marble tile currently in the Hall. This modification, along with the replacement of the original wooden ceiling (which was painted to simulate three-dimensional coffering) with the present one in the early 20th century, eliminated most of the echoes that earlier plagued the room.
The first statue was placed in 1870. By 1971, all 50 states had contributed at least one statue, and by 1990, all but five states had contributed two statues. Initially all of the state statues were placed in the Hall. As the collection expanded, however, it outgrew the Hall, and in 1933, Congress authorized the display of the statues throughout the building for both aesthetic and structural reasons. Presently, 38 statues are located in National Statuary Hall.
The room was partially restored in 1976 for the bicentennial celebration. At that time, the original fireplaces were uncovered and replicas of early mantels were installed. Reproductions of the chandelier, sconces, and red draperies were created for the restoration project based on The House of Representatives, an oil painting by Samuel F.B. Morse done in 1822, which now hangs in the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Bronze markers were placed on the floor to honor the presidents who served in the House of Representatives while it met here.
In 2008, 23 statues were moved from the hall to the new Capitol Visitor Center.
Today, Statuary Hall is one of the most visited rooms in the Capitol. It is visited by hundreds of tourists each day and continues to be used for ceremonial occasions. Special events held in the room include activities honoring foreign dignitaries and every four years Congress hosts a newly inaugurated President of the United States for a luncheon.
The following is an alphabetical list of the people depicted in the statues, along with the state represented by each statue. Note: Some statues have been replaced at the request of the states over time.
Andrew Jackson is a 1928 bronze sculpture of Andrew Jackson by Belle Kinney Scholz and Leopold Scholz, installed in the United States Capitol, in Washington D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. It is one of two statues donated by the state of Tennessee. The statue was accepted in the collection by Senator Kenneth McKellar on April 16, 1928.Ethan Allen (Mead)
Ethan Allen is a marble sculpture depicting Ethan Allen by Larkin Goldsmith Mead.Frederick Douglass (Weitzman)
Frederick Douglass is a 2013 bronze sculpture depicting the American abolitionist and politician of the same name by Steven Weitzman, installed in the United States Capitol Visitor Center's Emancipation Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection.Hall of Columns
The Hall of Columns is a more than 100-foot-long (30 m) hallway lined with twenty-eight fluted columns in the south wing extension of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is also the gallery for eighteen statues of the National Statuary Hall Collection.Hannibal Hamlin (Tefft)
Hannibal Hamlin is a bronze sculpture depicting the American attorney and politician of the same name by Charles Tefft, installed at the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Maine in 1935.Jacques Marquette (Trentanove)
Jacques Marquette is a statue by Gaetano Trentanove of Jacques Marquette, the most well known version being the 1896 marble one installed in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol in Washington D.C..John Sevier (National Statuary Hall Collection)
John Sevier is a bronze sculpture depicting the American politician of the same name by Belle Kinney and Leopold Scholz, installed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Tennessee in 1931.List of sculptures in the National Statuary Hall Collection
The National Statuary Hall Collection holds statues donated by each of the United States, depicting notable persons in the histories of the respective states. Displayed in the National Statuary Hall and other parts of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., the collection includes two statues from each state, plus one from the District of Columbia, plus Rosa Parks, making a total of 102.
By act of Congress, which commissioned the statue in 2005, Rosa Parks is also there, though not representing a state. The year was 2013, the centenary of her birth. Hers is the only statue in the Hall not linked with a state, and the first full-length statue of an African American in the Capitol. Later that year (on Juneteenth, 2013), by act of Congress (P.L. 112-174), a statue of Frederick Douglass was added as a choice of the District of Columbia.Marcus Whitman (Fairbanks)
Marcus Whitman is a bronze sculpture depicting the American physician of the same name by Avard Fairbanks, installed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was donated by the U.S. state of Washington in 1953.National Statuary Hall Collection
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. Limited to two statues per state, the collection was originally set up in the old Hall of the House of Representatives, which was then renamed National Statuary Hall. The expanding collection has since been spread throughout the Capitol and its Visitor's Center.
With the addition of New Mexico's second statue in 2005, the collection is now complete with 100 statues contributed by 50 states, plus one from the District of Columbia, plus one for all the states (Rosa Parks). Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, and Ohio have each replaced one of their first two statues after Congress authorized replacements in 2000.Robert Fulton (Roberts)
Robert Fulton is a marble sculpture depicting the American engineer and inventor of the same name by Howard Roberts, installed at the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Pennsylvania in 1889.Ronald Reagan (Fagan)
Ronald Reagan is a bronze sculpture depicting the American politician of the same name by Chas Fagan, installed at the United States Capitol's rotunda, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was donated by the U.S. state of California in 2009, and replaced one depicting Thomas Starr King, which the state had gifted in 1931.Rosa Parks (National Statuary Hall)
Rosa Parks is a 2013 bronze sculpture depicting the African-American civil rights activist of the same name, installed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, as part of the collection of the Architect of the Capitol. The statue was sculpted by Eugene Daub and co-designed by Rob Firmin. It is the only statue in the Hall not linked with a state, and the first full-length statue of an African American in the Capitol.Sam Houston (Ney)
Sam Houston is a statue of Sam Houston originally modeled in 1892 by Elisabet Ney which resides in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US Capitol, Washington, D.C. as one of the two statues from Texas. The other statue from Texas, the Stephen Austin statue is also by Ney. Another carving of the statue is located in the Texas State Capitol.Samuel Adams (Whitney)
Anne Whitney created two public statues of Samuel Adams. One, made in 1876, resides in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US Capitol, Washington, D.C.. The other, made in 1880, is located in front of Faneuil Hall Plaza in Boston.Thomas Edison (Cottrill)
Thomas Edison is a bronze sculpture depicting the American inventor and businessman of the same name by Alan Cottrill, installed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Ohio in 2016, and replaced one depicting William Allen, which had been donated in 1887.United States Capitol crypt
The United States Capitol crypt is the large circular room filled with forty neoclassical Doric columns directly beneath the United States Capitol rotunda. It was built originally to support the rotunda as well as offer an entrance to Washington's Tomb. It currently serves as a museum and a repository for thirteen statues of the National Statuary Hall Collection.Uriah M. Rose (Ruckstull)
Uriah M. Rose, or Uriah Milton Rose, is a marble sculpture depicting the American lawyer of the same name by Frederick Ruckstull, installed in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Arkansas in 1917.William Jennings Bryan (Evans)
William Jennings Bryan is a bronze sculpture depicting the American politician of the same name by Rudulph Evans, installed in the United State Capitol's National Statuary Hall, in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue was gifted by the U.S. state of Nebraska in 1937.
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