D.C. January 26, 2017
The Eerie But Majestic Place In D.C. Where The Capitol’s Former Columns Live On
In an open field in Northeast DC, stands a beautiful piece of the past. 22 sandstone Corinthian columns that were once a part of the United States Capitol building now have their permanent home in the National Arboretum. The iconic columns make for a gorgeous photo op and a unique look at history.
The columns were part of the east portico of the US Capitol building in 1828 prior to the completion of the Capitol dome.
But when the Capitol dome was completed in 1866, it was ended up being much larger than the designer had originally envisioned.
The dome overpowered the proportions of the columns and the building looked lopsided. So the building had to be expanded.
The Capitol Columns were removed and replaced with larger marble duplicates.
When the columns were originally removed in 1958, there was no where for them to be moved so the columns were put into storage on the banks of the Anacostia River.
In the 1980s, the the Department of Agriculture and several private donors worked together to move the columns to the National Arboretum.
Today, the columns stand overlooking a reflecting pool on 22 acre Ellipse Meadow and are a beautiful sight, no matter what the season.
The columns are made of Virginia limestone and their ornate design includes beautiful detailed leaf patterns, scrolls and flower motifs. They sit on foundation made from the stones of the steps of the east side of the Capitol.
Interestingly enough, only 22 of the original 24 columns from the Capitol are in the Ellipse Meadow. The remaining two are cracked in half and you can find them in the Arobretum’s Azalea Collection.
The rare combination of open land and stately columns make the Capitol Columns one of the most photographed attractions in the arboretum and a must-see for any DC bucket list.
Can you believe this place exists in Washington DC?