Capitol Dome Under Construction

Here is an old photograph from around 1860, showing the Capitol Dome under construction. I don’t think I’ve seen or posted this one before.

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Capitol Dome under construction in 1860
Capitol Dome under construction in 1860

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Debra

    Where did you find this photo and is that a canal directly in front of the Capitol? I am interested in the details – what do you think was happening in that tent?

  • Jack Peachum

    Here’s an interesting observation: approx/ where the Library of Congress is today was the Old Capitol Prison. Here many of the persons illegally incarcerated under Lincoln’s suspension of Habeus Corpus could look out the windows of their cells & see the dome being constructed in the “land of the free”!

  • ET

    I think this is the Washington City Canal which is related to the Lock Keepers cottage that is on Constitution.

  • David Fielding

    I didn’t see this post last week. Interesting photo of the Washington City Canal, which essentially connected with the C&O although barges ran along the Potomac from the incline plane near Georgetown to where the lockhouse is at 17th. It ran the length of what became Constitution ave (B street). Two lotteries around 1795 authorized construction, but didn’t raise adequate funds (I have two original signed lottery tickets). A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Nov. 21, 1815. Excavation continued for 3 decades with only modest traffic by the 1850’s. Politics continued to plague the canal and it was a safety and health hazard. It was mostly filled in by 1880. For more details, check the Columbia Historical Society.