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In Emanuel Leutze’s mural, a group of pioneers and their train of covered wagons are pictured at the continental divide, looking towards the sunset and the Pacific Ocean. The border depicts vignettes of exploration and frontier mythology. Beneath the central composition is a panoramic view of their destination “Golden Gate,” in San Francisco Bay.
Emanuel Leutze’s mural celebrates the western expansion of the United States....

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Visitor Guide Gives Tour of Rotunda
Please note: Many of these Capitol Hill buildings are working office buildings...

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

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East front of the Capitol.
Temporary House Closure

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Hart Building History

Hart Building History
Overview 

In 1972 the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration asked the architect of the Capitol to survey the space occupied by senators and staff and report on their work environment. In the decade and a half since the Dirksen Building had opened, the number of persons working for the Senate had grown from 2,500 to 7,000.

This growth resulted in overcrowded conditions, leading some resourceful staff to fashion offices in toilet rooms and improvise meeting rooms in passageways. It was discovered that the average Senate employee occupied a meager 67 square feet of space, less than half of the minimum government standard of 150 square feet.

Under the direction of the Senate Office Building Commission, the Architect of the Capitol, George White, interviewed 16 prominent architects for the "Dirksen Extension," which was soon renamed the Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building after the much-admired senator from Michigan.

On August 8, 1974, the design for the Hart Building was approved. The first construction contract was awarded on May 20, 1975, with excavation beginning in December. Work proceeded in a total of six phases before the first occupant moved in during November 1982.

Last Updated: July 09, 2012