Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Capitol Hill in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Capitol Square

Historical Information

 
 
Capitol Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 13, 2017
1. Capitol Square Marker
Inscription.

1 Summerhouse
Constructed in 1879-1880 , the Summerhouse offers visitors a shaded place to rest, admire views of the Capitol, and have a drink of water. Olmstead's principal architectural assistant Thomas Wisedell, was the designer. The Summerhouse is a tribute to the bricklayer's craft-constructed of carved and radial brick, creating elaborate architectural features. Nestled in the hillside, the structure features a "grotto" with running water that, along with the central fountains, adds a cooling effect during the summer.

2 The Olmstead Terrace
Constructed between 1884-1892, the marble terrace that surrounds the Capitol on the north, west, and south sides provides a strong visual platform for the building, correcting the illusion that the massive structure was about to slide down the hill. The cascading monumental stairs also add to the apparent height and imposing nature of the building. To accommodate growing Congressional space requirements, the area under the terrace was divided into 93 rooms for offices and meeting spaces.

Between the grand stairs, a semi-circular exedra features arranged trees and flowers in an elevated bed surrounding an octagonal fountain. Though Olmsted spearheaded the vision for the terrace, its detailed design was left to architects Thomas Wisedell and
Capitol Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 13, 2017
2. Capitol Square Marker
C. Howard Walker to complete. Some controversy ensued as the terrace was detailed in the Romanesque Revival style, which was popular at the time, in contrast with the neo-classical architecture of the building above.

The 18 bronze urns atop the balustrade piers were cast by Schultz Co., a foundry in Baltimore, Maryland in 1890. A more highly decorated urn was initially envisioned but the design was not used. A prototype of the more ornate urn is now in use at the front of the Botanic Garden Conservatory along the seven recent cast bronze replicas.

U.S. Capitol
Visitor Center

Average walking time: 5 to 6 minutes

Hours:
Monday - Saturday
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
For more information visit:
http://www.visitthecapitol.gov

Visitor Center
Located Below Ground Level

Capitol Tours
Official Business and Appointments
House and Senate Galleries
Gift Shops
Restaurants

 
Location. 38° 53.27′ N, 77° 0.595′ W. Marker is in Capitol Hill, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Southwest Drive west of South Capitol Street SW, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. On the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20016, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Capitol Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 13, 2017
3. Capitol Square Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Capitol Square, SW (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Capitol Square (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named Capitol Square, SW (about 700 feet away); United States Botanic Garden (about 800 feet away); Bartholdi Fountain (about 800 feet away); a different marker also named Bartholdi Fountain (about 800 feet away); Rain Garden (about 800 feet away); Native Plants (about 800 feet away).
 
Categories. Architecture
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 15, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 13, 2017, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 64 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 13, 2017, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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