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

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This painting by Allyn Cox depicts the cornerstone laying ceremony and is currently on display in the House Wing of the U.S. Capitol Building.
The cornerstone was laid on Wednesday, September 18, 1793, during the first...

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A crowd of people visiting the Capitol during visitor hours
Visitor Hours for the Buildings on Capitol Hill.

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

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Capitol Hill, with its rich history and iconic buildings, allows for an eclectic mix of professions. Jim Saenger, the Capitol’s Carillonneur, has perhaps one of the most unique and least visible jobs on the Hill.
Capitol Hill, with its rich history and iconic buildings, allows for an...

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.