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Capitol Hill Trivia

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Our annual Legislative Day is just around the corner April 25-26 and although the Cherry Blossom Festival will have ended, there will still be many be flowers in bloom on the trees at the Tidal Basin. The Capitol’s dome is still being restored and under scaffolding as it was when we were here last spring. Here is some interesting trivia about our capitol dome that I hope you will find interesting.

The first U.S. Capitol’s dome was finished in 1824. It was designed by Charles Bulfinch, a Boston architect who was bringing the building to completion after more than 30 years of sporadic construction.   The dome was constructed of cast iron. In 1959-1960 it was restored but due to age and weather there were over 1,000 new cracks and deficiencies.

Now underway it’s a multi-year project to restore the Dome to its original, inspiring splendor. The architect of this project is Architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, and LEED AP.

When you visit the Hill, here is some interesting capitol themed trivia you may want to keep in mind. They are good Jeopardy answers!

  • What is the name of the statue on top of the dome? It is the Statue of Freedom, an allegorical female figure. She is a classical female figure with long, flowing hair wearing a helmet with a crest composed of an eagle’s head and feathers. She stands on a pedestal on a globe encircled with the motto E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one).
  • How many statues are in the National Statuary Hall Collection? There are 100 statues in the Hall. Each state may contribute two statues and every state has done so. Do you know what statues your state contributed?
  • How many women are represented in the National Statuary Hall Collection? Nine, Mother Joseph (Washington), Ester Hobart Morris (Wyoming), Jeannette Rankin (Montana), Dr. Florence Sabin (Colorado), Sakakawea (North Dakota), Maria Sanford (Minnesota), Frances E. Willard (Illinois), Sarah Winnemucca (Nevada), and Helen Keller (Alabama).
  • Which is taller, the Capitol or the Washington Monument? The Washington Monument is taller, standing 555 feet tall and is 267 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol. Because the base of the Washington Monument is 30 feet above sea level, and the Capitol’s is 88 feet above sea level, the top of the Washington Monument is 209 feet higher than the top of the Capitol Building.
  • Is anyone buried in the Capitol? No. A tomb area was built for the remains of George Washington beneath the c, but his will specified that he wished to be buried at his home at Mount Vernon. His descendants honored this wish.
  • What is the function of the U.S. Capitol? The Capitol Building houses the meeting chambers of the Senate (in the north wing) and the House of Representatives (in the south wing), the two bodies that compose the legislative branch of our government. It also includes the offices of congressional leadership. It is used for ceremonies of national importance such as presidential inaugurations and the lying in state of eminent persons. The U.S. Capitol is also a museum of American art and history and is visited by millions of people every year.
  • What material is the U.S. Capitol made of? The original building, completed in 1826, was made of brick clad in sandstone. The north and south wings and connecting corridors added in the mid-19th century and the replica of the East Front constructed in the 20th century are made of brick clad in marble; the dome is made of 8,909,200 pounds of cast iron.
  • Is there a "whispering gallery" in the U.S. Capitol?The half-dome shape of National Statuary Hall produces an acoustical effect whereby, in some spots, a speaker many yards away may be heard more clearly than one nearby. The echoes today occur in different locations from those in the 19th century, when the floor and ceiling of the hall were different.

Our hot topics are the Medicare Audit Improvement Act and the Hospital Improvements for Payment (HIP) Act. We have a special promotion this year, if you bring a colleague from work, they can get the member registration rate too. We sure hope to see you there!

With the upcoming presidential election in November, I think being in Washington DC is even more exciting!




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