Hall of Columns

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Hall of Columns facing north.

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. It is also the gallery for eighteen statues of the National Statuary Hall Collection.

History[edit]

The Hall of Columns emerged as part of the necessitated expansion of the north and south wings in the mid-nineteenth century due to the expansion of the United States westward and addition of more states to the union. The original chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate had become too crowded with the additional senators and representatives. Under the guidance of Architect of the Capitol Thomas U. Walter, plans were drawn up to expand the two wings and build new, larger chambers for both houses.[1]

Capital of one of the columns.

Built directly beneath the Chamber of the House of Representatives, construction had begun sometime before 1855, with the implementation of a cast iron ceiling, forged in Baltimore by the foundry Hayward, Bartlett, and Co.[2] The walls, themselves, were made with an imitation marble known as scagliola. The floor was set with imported encaustic Minton tiles from England (the same still found in the Brumidi Corridors), but were eventually replaced in the 1920s with a floor of Alabama and New York marble. By 1856, all the columns, made from marble quarried from Lee, Massachusetts, were finished and set in place.[2]

The capitals of the columns are based on Corinthian columns, but adjusted to reflect an American style with the usage of thistles and native tobacco leaves. [2]

National Statuary Hall Collection[edit]

Older image of Hall of Columns facing north.

Notes[edit]