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U.S. Capitol Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 1:20 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014

(CNN) -- Here's some background information about the U.S. Capitol. Located at 100 Constitution Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress.

The Building:
The length of the building from north to south is 751 feet 4 inches. Its height, measured above the base line on the east front to the top of the Statue of Freedom, is 288 feet.

The Capitol building houses 540 rooms and has 658 windows (108 in the dome alone).

The Dome - 8,909,200 pounds of cast-iron with 108 windows, constructed between 1855 and 1866. The statue at the top of dome is the Statue of Freedom.

The Rotunda stands 180 feet, 3 inches tall and is 96 feet in diameter. The circular space serves as gallery for paintings and sculptures depicting significant people and events in U.S. history. The bodies of presidents and distinguished citizens will also lie in state here.

The Crypt is a large circular area on the ground floor containing 40 Doric columns supporting the dome. The area displays sculpture. The star in the center of the floor denotes the point from which the streets in Washington are laid out and numbered.

National Statuary Hall was the House of Representatives chambers - The Old Hall of the House (1809-1857). The hall holds 100 of the Capitol's collection of statues donated by the states in honor of notable citizens in U.S history, two per state.

Brumidi Corridors are named after the artist, Constantino Brumidi, who designed the murals along the walls. The work began in 1855, continuing until his death in 1880.

Visitor areas on the ground floor include the Hall of Columns, the Brumidi corridor, the Old Supreme Court Chamber and the Crypt (historical exhibits are presented here). The Minton floor tiles, first laid in 1856, are considered part of the building's beauty.

Chambers for the Senate are in the north wing and chambers for the House of Representatives are in the south wing, as well as the offices of the congressional leadership.

The third floor has areas designated for visitors where they may watch House or Senate proceedings. It also has Congressional staff offices, committee rooms and press galleries.

The Capitol Complex includes include the Capitol, Capitol Visitor Center, Senate Office Buildings, House Office Buildings, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, U.S. Botanic Garden and Capitol Campus grounds.

The Capitol Complex is maintained by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC).

The first AOC was Dr. William Thornton in 1793.

History:
September 18, 1793 - The cornerstone is laid by President George Washington.

1800 - Congress moves from Philadelphia to the new Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Only the north wing is complete.

1801 - Supreme Court holds first meeting in the Capitol.

1814 - The Capitol is burned by British troops.

1819 - The Supreme Court, Senate and House meet in newly reconstructed rooms in the Capitol.

1829 - Building reconstruction is completed.

1851 - President Millard Fillmore appoints Thomas U. Walter as the main architect to build extensions onto to the Capitol.

1857 - The House of Representatives holds its first session in its new hall.

1859 - The Senate holds its first session in its new chamber.

1863 - The Statue of Freedom is raised into place atop the dome.

1870 - Exteriors of Capitol extensions are completed.

1890-1900 - Electric lighting is installed throughout building and grounds.

1897 - The Library of Congress moves into its first building (later named the Thomas Jefferson Building).

1935 - The U.S. Supreme Court moves into its own building.

1949-1951 - The House and Senate chambers are redesigned and remodeled.

March 1, 1954 - Five members of the House of Representatives are shot on the House floor from the spectators' gallery (Gallery 11); Alvin M. Bentley, (R-MI), 35, Ben F. Jensen (R-IA), 61, Clifford Davis (D-TN), 56, George H. Fallon (D-MD), 51, and Kenneth A. Roberts (D-AL), 41. Four Puerto Rican nationals, Lolita Lebron, 34, Rafael Cancel Miranda, 25, Andres Figueroa Cordero, 29, and Irving Flores Rodriguez, 27, all from New York, are arrested and later indicted on five counts each of assault with intent to kill and five counts each of assault with a deadly weapon. The shooters were heard to be shouting, "Freedom for Puerto Rico," as they fired. This incident ends up changing the security measures at the Capitol.

1958-1962 - East front addition to the Capitol.

July 24, 1998 - A gunman, Russell Eugene Weston, Jr., fires shots in the Capitol building, killing two U.S. Capitol Police officers: Jacob Chestnut, an 18-year veteran and Detective John Gibson, an 8-year veteran, and wounding one other, Angela Dickerson.

October 30, 2003 - Shortly after 1 p.m., U.S. Capitol Police perceive the image of a .38-caliber revolver on an X-ray machine, causing the entire building to be evacuated. The image is later determined to be a toy gun, part of a Halloween costume.

December 2, 2008 - The latest addition to the Capitol, the Visitor Center, opens. The Center is nearly 3/4 the size of the Capitol and is located underground.

April 24, 2009 - The Capitol is briefly evacuated and the White House temporarily locked down when a single-engine plane accidentally wanders into restricted airspace over D.C.

May 13, 2010 - President Barack Obama appoints Stephen T. Ayers to a 10-year term as the Architect of the Capitol.

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