Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.

Featured

Inaugurations of Presidents of the United States
A list of inaugurals of Presidents of the United States. Read about key...

Featured

View of the U.S. Capitol Building from above at dusk
In order to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and to preserve the...

Featured

East Front of the U.S. Capitol Building
AOC’s annual Performance and Accountability Report provides the results of the...

Featured

Car of History Clock in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
Ivestigate the meaning behind the Car of History Clock in the U.S. Capitol’s...

Thomas Ustick Walter

Painted Portrait of Thomas Ustick Walter
Thomas Ustick Walter, Fourth Architect of the Capitol
Born: 
September 4, 1804, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: 
October 30, 1887, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Appointed by President Millard Fillmore, June 11, 1851; Resigned May 26, 1865

Thomas U. Walter’s plans for the enlargement of the U.S. Capitol were approved by President Millard Fillmore and he was appointed Architect of the Capitol Extension in 1851. While he oversaw the construction of new marble wings, the commissioner of public buildings maintained the existing Capitol and the surrounding grounds. Walter also designed a new cast-iron dome, which was authorized in 1855.

Walter’s office was originally placed under the Department of the Interior. From 1853 until 1862 it was under the War Department and was overseen by two army engineers: Montgomery C. Meigs (1853–1859; 1861–1862) and William B. Franklin (1859–1861). Work was suspended for a year at the outbreak of the Civil War; when it resumed in 1862, Walter’s office was again placed under the Department of the Interior.

Born in Philadelphia in 1804, Walter worked for his father as a bricklayer and later studied architecture under William Strickland (a former pupil of B. Henry Latrobe). His design for Girard College for Orphans (1832) was his most important early commission. He was one of the founders and second president of the American Institute of Architects. After his Washington career ended in 1865, Walter retired briefly before financial reversals forced him back to work. He was the chief assistant to the architect of the Philadelphia City Hall from 1873 until his death in 1887.