The U.S. Capitol dome celebrates 150 years

BY newsdesk  December 2, 2013 at 2:02 PM EST

On December 2, 1863, amid the spectacle of a 35 gun salute accompanied by guns heard from the 12 forts around the District of Columbia, the U.S. Capitol’s dome was completed after the final section of the Statue of Freedom was placed atop the structure.
The Capitol dome as it stands today was commissioned through legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Franklin Pierce on March 3, 1855. The original dome, completed in 1824, had come to be considered too small for the enlarged building and deemed a fire hazard. $100,000 was appropriated for a cast iron replacement, which ended up costing $1,047,291 upon completion.

The dome was designed by Thomas U. Walter, the fourth Architect of the Capitol. The Statue of Freedom, designed by Thomas Crawford, [had been finished in 1862 and stood on the Capitol grounds](http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/other-statues/statue-freedom
) until the dome was ready for the statue to be placed upon it. The new constructions were overseen by then-Secretary of War and future Confederate president [Jefferson Davis.](http://www.neh.gov/humanities/2012/septemberoctober/feature/the-other-jefferson-davis)

H/T Justin Scuiletti