You asked, we answered. Here are some of the most popular questions we get about the U.S. Capitol. The answers may surprise you!

Has the Capitol been used as a prison?

No, but a building known as the "old brick Capitol" was during the Civil War. Following the war the building was converted to residences.

How many statues are there in the National Statuary Hall Collection?

There are 100 statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Each state may contribute two statues; all have done so.

How much did it cost to build the Capitol?

The U.S. Capitol is a unique structure, as it has been built in successive phases over the past two centuries. The estimated historical cost of the United States Capitol as of 2003 was $133 million.

Is anyone buried in the Capitol?

No. A tomb area was built for the remains of George Washington beneath the Crypt, but his will specified that he wished to be buried at his home at Mount Vernon, and his descendants honored this wish.

Is there any symbolic significance to the numbers of columns and steps in various locations in the Capitol?

No. The numbers of columns and steps were determined for aesthetic and practical, rather than symbolic, reasons.

What are the dimensions of the Capitol Building?

The U.S. Capitol’s length, from north to south, is 751 feet 4 inches; its greatest width is 350 feet. Its height above the base line on the east front to the top of the Statue of Freedom is 288 feet.

What is the "whispering gallery" in the U.S. Capitol?

The half-dome shape of National Statuary Hall produces an acoustical effect whereby, in some spots, a speaker many yards away may be heard more clearly than one closer at hand. The modern-day echoes occur in different locations from those in the 19th century, when the floor and ceiling of the hall were different.

What is the function of the U.S. Capitol?

The United States Capitol Building houses the meeting chambers of the Senate (in the north wing) and the House of Representatives (in the south wing) – the two bodies that compose the legislative branch of the American government.

What is the largest statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection?

The statue of King Kamehameha I, donated by the state of Hawaii. The bronze statue is 9'-10" tall and stands on a 3'-6" granite base; their combined weight is approximately 15,000 pounds.

What is the name of the statue on top of the Capitol dome?

Atop the U.S. Capitol dome is the Statue of Freedom, an allegorical female figure.

What material is the U.S. Capitol made of?

The original building, completed in 1826, was made of brick clad in sandstone. The north and south wings and connecting corridors added in the mid 19th century and the replica of the East Front constructed in the 20th century are made of brick clad in marble; the dome is made of 8,909,200 pounds of cast iron.

When did the Congress first meet in the Capitol Building?

November 17, 1800.

Where and what is the Capitol Rotunda?

The Rotunda is a circular room in the center of the building beneath the Capitol dome. It is 96 feet in diameter and rises 180 feet from the floor to the canopy, with a volume of approximately 1.3 million cubic feet.