Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.

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Outside view of the Longworth House Office Building with a clear blue sky in the background.
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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...

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Painted Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe
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Beth Burrous, biochemist and USBG volunteer.
Take a walking tour of the U.S. Botanic Garden October 14 or November 4 at 2 p....

Thomas Crawford

Thomas Crawford

Black and white hand drawn portrait of Thomas Crawford.

Perhaps no sculptor had more influence on the design of the U.S. Capitol Building than Thomas Crawford (1814-1857). His works of art are featured prominently throughout the Capitol, including the iconic Statue of Freedom which tops the Capitol Dome.

Crawford is believed to have been born in New York City. He studied drawing and was an apprentice wood carver before joining the New York stonecutting firm of John Frazee and Robert Launitz. Crawford traveled to Rome in 1835 to study with Bertel Thorwaldsen, a preeminent Danish neoclassic sculptor.

In July 1853, Captain Montgomery Meigs, engineer of the Capitol, asked Massachusetts Senator Edward Everett to recommend artists to design sculpture for the pediments on the East Front of the Capitol. Everett recommended Thomas Crawford as an artist whose statuary would honor both the Capitol and the country.

Crawford designed the Progress of Civilization pediment located, on the East Front of the Senate wing of the Capitol, and the Justice and History sculpture, which is above the Senate doors of the east portico. He also designed the House and Senate bronze doors on the east portico. Crawford also created the Statue of Freedom that tops the Capitol Dome.

Crawford died suddenly in 1857 after the creation of the full-size model for the Statue of Freedom in Rome. After his death, his widow shipped the model to the United States where it was cast by the foundry Clark Mills and placed atop the Capitol Dome on December 2, 1863.