The Summerhouse, a hexagon-shaped brick structure set into the sloping hillside of the West Front lawn on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol Building, has offered rest and shelter to travelers for over a century.
The Summerhouse, a hexagon-shaped brick structure set into the sloping...


The Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds surrounded by pink azalea flowers.
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Painted Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe
Benjamin Henry Latrobe was hired by President Jefferson in 1803 to fill the...


AOC's Kevin Mulshine is proud to help others by being a blood donor.
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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 that 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. A recent materials condition survey found that the marble and granite is stained and damaged and requires maintenance and repairs.

To properly restore the Olmsted Terrace, the AOC is starting a six-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.

Project Phases

The project will occur between April and October of each year through 2019. Work includes the assembly of scaffolding, and cranes will be present at times to remove heavy stones. During each phase, the walls, pedestal, steps and curb will be dismantled, repaired and reinstalled by AOC masons.

Graphic of all phases for this project.

Current Work: Phase 2

On July 13, 2015, the AOC's Construction Division began the second phase of this six-phase project to preserve the Olmsted Terrace masonry walls. Due to safety considerations, the sidewalk and steps located on the south approach to the Capitol Building will be closed through December 2015.

Project Photos