The Basics

Oil on Canvas

After Congress selected an area along the Potomac River for the site of the new federal city, President Washington chose French engineer Pierre Charles L'Enfant to lay out the city and design the public buildings. Here L'Enfant (center) shows the president his city plan.

About the Cox Corridors Murals

The first floor of the U.S. Capitol's House wing is elaborately decorated with wall and ceiling murals by artist Allyn Cox. The eastern north-south corridor has been termed the Hall of Capitols because it features paintings of 16 different buildings that housed the Continental and United States Congresses from 1754 to 1865. Painted in the barrel vaults of the ceilings are eight historic events that occurred during the first 65 years of the Capitol's existence.