The Capital: House of Stewart

To most Americans, the U.S. Capitol is at once symbol, museum, and house of government—the Parthenon of the American Republic. To engineers, it is a monumental nightmare.

When British lobsterbacks burned the original Capitol in 1814, negligent builders put it back on top of the old foundation, which was scarcely deep enough to support the original walls, let alone the new walls and the huge dome that was added half a century later. By 1958 the east front under the dome had deteriorated so badly that Congress voted $11 million for Capitol Architect J. George Stewart's plan to replace it...

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