There Are Six Principal Public Buildings In Washington, As To Which
No Expense Seems To Have Been Spared, And In The Construction Of
Which A Certain Amount Of Success Has Been Obtained.
In most of
these this success has been more or less marred by an independent
deviation from recognized rules of architectural taste.
the Capitol, the Post-office, the Patent-office, the Treasury, the
President's house, and the Smithsonian Institution. The five first
are Grecian, and the last in Washington is called - Romanesque. Had
I been left to classify it by my own unaided lights, I should have
called it bastard Gothic.
The Capitol is by far the most imposing; and though there is much
about it with which I cannot but find fault, it certainly is
imposing. The present building was, I think, commenced in 1815, the
former Capitol having been destroyed by the English in the war of
1812-13. It was then finished according to the original plan, with
a fine portico and well proportioned pediment above it - looking to
the east. The outer flight of steps, leading up to this from the
eastern approach, is good and in excellent taste. The expanse of
the building to the right and left, as then arranged, was well
proportioned, and, as far as we can now judge, the then existing
dome was well proportioned also. As seen from the east the original
building must have been in itself very fine. The stone is
beautiful, being bright almost as marble, and I do not know that
there was any great architectural defect to offend the eye.
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