Fun Fact: Capitol Hill

Fun Fact: Capitol Hill

So it took me forever to get around to it, but finally (after three months of being in DC) I made my way to the Hill. One great thing about being in DC, and particularly The Washington Center, is that we have a very large Political Leadership Program. A number of the students in said program actually intern on the Hill for a Congressman/woman or Senator, and thus have easy access to the Capitol building at all times. So luckily for my friends and me, a couple of our staffer pals decided to take us on a little guided tour this past Saturday without having to wait in the rain for an hour. Oh, the benefits of connections.

 

The RAF is in area of DC called "NoMa" (North of Massachusetts Ave.) although if you say that to someone who lives in the city, half of them won't have a clue what you're talking about. The area itself is nice and is apparently a lot safer than it used to be, but it's also conveniently situated close to the Hill, so we decided just to walk there from the apartment. Before we got the Hill, though, we stopped by the Supreme Court to wait for some friends.

 

The Supreme Court

 

 

 

 

Please excuse my ridiculous face... it was bright

 

The roomies: Diego, Kenny, and me. Kenny acted as one of our tour guides for the day.

 

I'm not sure if people can go inside the Supreme Court, but if we can I'll try to get some pictures of that up at some point. However, I think the judges may have their hands full at the moment. Anyway, on to the Capitol.

 

On the Hill

The lobby of the visitors center

 

A to-scale replica of the Statue of Freedom, which sits atop the dome of the Capitol.

 

The gang all putting their foot in at the exact center of DC grid system, which "just so happens" to be the same vertical location of both the Statue of Freedom and where George Washington was supposed to be buried.

 

This is where George Washington was supposed to be buried, but he died before the completion of the Capitol building and was thus buried at his home in Mt. Vernon.

 

My boy, Sam Adams. Represent, New England!

 

So every state has to submit a couple of statues of a notable figure to the Capitol and this is one of New Hampshire's contributions. Not even going to lie; I had no idea who John Stark was before visiting the Capitol.

 

 

Old Supreme Court Chamber

 

The first Supreme Court chamber in the basement of the Capitol (read: before they got cocky and wanted their own building)

 

This is where the justices sat. Notice that there are only seven seats. The Constitution leaves it up Congress to determine how many justices should be on the Supreme Court and at this time it was deemed seven. I feel like we might run into some trouble if Congress ever determined that the Supreme Court should have an even number of justices, but hey, I'm no mathematician.

 

 

Our staffer comrades, Haley and Kenny, being fantastic tour guides.

 

The busts of our first four Chief Justices

 


Some more notable justices outside the chamber

 

 

Hopefully these gents look familiar to you

 

The old door to the Capitol. This thing literally ways a ton.

 

Old House of Representatives Chamber


 

Fun fact: The old House chamber was designed to have really good acoustics because obviously there was no other means of amplification at that time. Because of this, in certain spots you can literally hear a whisper coming from a couple hundred feet away that sounds like it's being amplified by modern technology. The best place to hear this is at the infamous "whisper spot", which is where John Quincy Adams sat during his time in the House. As the only president to ever serve in the House after his presidency, Adams was frequently spotted sleeping at his desk due to his old age (he served in the House until his death at 80), but it is rumored that he was simply pretending to be asleep while listening in on his Congressional opponents' conversations across the aisle. 

As a native Texan, I felt obligated to throw up ol' Sam Houston. As the general of the Texan Army (which defeated Mexican forces at the Battle of San Jacinto and subsequently won Texan independence), the Republic of Texas's first president, US Senator, and eventual governor of Texas, Sam Houston was one of America's greatest statesmen. Remember the Alamo!

 

The Capitol Rotunda

 

Jefferson and Washington guarding the entrance to the Rotunda

 

The original painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence which, coincidentally, did not happen like this at all.

 

De Soto..?

 

 

 

The apotheosis of Washington, flanked by the goddesses of Victory and Liberty

 

Another fun fact: The guys that painted this piece (which encircles the whole dome and is literally impossible to fully photograph with my camera) were not allowed to sign their names on their artwork like artists traditionally do. So instead, they decided to just paint their faces into their work. If you look closely at the baby's face, you can make out the beard and the wrinkles of an old man, which is the face of the first painter.

 

The second painter decided to paint himself into the picture as well. The man in the background is the profile of the second artist.

 

Ronald Reagan defeating communism

 

Fun fact: The different colored stone in between the slabs of granite is actually a piece of the Berlin Wall.

 

 

Our fearless leader, Kentrell Palmer, who I am indebted to for all these fun facts about the Capitol

 

And finally: the gang

 

I just want to say thanks to our staffers Haley, Kenny, and Lucas for a wonderful tour! Hopefully these pictures are enjoyable.

 

Until next time, folks!

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