Serving Congress and the Supreme Court, preserving America's Capitol, and inspiring memorable experiences

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Cascade of Books
A Cascade of Books by Frank Eliscu (1912–1996) is a bronze sculptural screen...

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Guided Tours: Buildings on Capitol Hill
Official Tours of the U.S. Capitol Building are offered Monday through...

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AOC gardener at the U.S. Botanic Garden
Information about working for the Architect of the Capitol:

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AOC Elevator Mechanics at the Library of Congress
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Olmsted Terrace Stone Preservation

Olmsted Terrace Stone Preservation

Olmsted Terrace Stone Preservation

The Olmsted Terrace was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his team of designers between 1874 and 1890, and was completed by 1894.

The terrace walls which wrap around the Capitol to the north, west and south are constructed largely of Lee Massachusetts marble with a granite rubble foundation. The center west portion and balustrades are constructed of Vermont marble. The terrace was designed to provide a strong visible architectural base to the Capitol and heighten the grandeur of the building. It extends approximately 1,600 lineal feet and rises about 20 feet in height at its highest point.

During the last 120 years, there has been little maintenance performed on the stone and conditions of the terrace have deteriorated over this time. A recent materials condition survey found that the marble and granite is stained and damaged and requires a number of different types of maintenance and repairs.

To properly restore the Olmsted Terrace, the AOC is starting a five-phased project that will repair the masonry at the terrace walls. Repairs include deconstructing and rebuilding some of the walls, repointing, patching holes, cleaning the stone, and trimming and removing trees and bushes along the terrace walls.

The project will occur between April and October for the next five years and work has begun on the first phase which includes the northeast approach walls, stairs and eastern portion of the north terrace wall. Work includes the assembly of scaffolding and cranes will be present at times to remove heavy stones. Currently AOC masons are dismantling the north approach steps, which had settled and shifted over the years and are therefore being removed and reinstalled to level. The same dismantling will occur at the approach walls for the same reason.  

Current project update

Photos of work