The U.S. Capitol Rotunda is a large, domed, circular room located 96 feet in diameter and 180 feet in height located in the center of the United States Capitol on the second floor.
The U.S. Capitol Rotunda is a large, domed, circular room 96 feet in diameter...


The Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds surrounded by pink azalea flowers.
A few ideas to help you in planning a visit to Capitol Hill.


Painted portrait of Dr. William Thornton
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of America’s...


Photo of damage to be restored.
The focus of the Rotunda Restoration will be to remove hazardous materials (...

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Thomas Starr King (Replaced)

Haig Patigian

Given by California in 1931
Replaced in 2009 by statue of Ronald Wilson Reagan

Thomas Starr King

Thomas Starr King, "the orator who saved the nation," was born December 17, 1824, in New York City. The sole support of his family at age 15, he was forced to leave school. Inspired by men like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Ward Beecher, King embarked on a program of self-study for the ministry. At the age of 20 he took over his father's former pulpit at the First Unitarian Church of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

In 1848 he was appointed pastor of the Hollis Street Unitarian Church, Boston, where he became one of the most famous preachers in New England. He vacationed in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and in 1859 wrote a book about the area entitled The White Hills: Their Legends, Landscapes and Poetry. In 1860 he accepted a call from the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco. In California during the Civil War, he spoke zealously in favor of the Union and is credited with saving California from becoming a separate republic. In addition, he organized the Pacific Branch of the Sanitary Commission, which cared for wounded soldiers.

A fiery orator, he raised over $1.5 million for the Sanitary Commission headquarters in New York, one-fifth of the total contributions from all the states in the Union. The relentless lecture circuit exhausted him, and he died in San Francisco on March 4, 1864, of diphtheria. Mountain peaks in New Hampshire and in Yosemite Park are named in his honor.

Last Updated: February 19, 2015