Featured

Black and white picture of Frederick Law Olmsted  best known for designing the grounds of New York City’s Central Park, the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Regarded as the founder of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law...

Featured

A virtual Map of Capitol Hill from above
View a map of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings and grounds cared for by the...

Featured

Painted Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe
Benjamin Henry Latrobe was hired by President Jefferson in 1803 to fill the...

Featured

Band Photo
Evenings at the Conservatory are magical! Join us Tuesdays and Thursdays...

Explore Capitol Hill

Dirksen Building History

Dirksen Building History
Overview 

Until the 1940s, Senate staff positions were mostly clerical and custodial. President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the response to the nation's entry into the Second World War fueled the growth and domination of the executive branch. As a result, congressional leaders became convinced of the need to greatly expand their staffs to include experts on a growing list of complex policy issues.

Soon after the war ended, Congress passed the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. This landmark statute allowed Congress to hire professional staffs at salaries equal to those employed by the executive branch. Each committee gained four professional and six clerical aides. The surge in numbers of new staff made a second building necessary - one intended primarily to accommodate committees.

In a departure from committee arrangements in the Russell Building, where members and witnesses sat around a common table, the new building would feature large hearing rooms with raised platforms for members and facilities suitable for the new medium of television.
 

Last Updated: May 14, 2012