This Day In History – September 18th


Maire Birdwell, Managing and Features Editor

On this day in 1793, George Washington laid the cornerstone to the United States’ Capitol. The Capitol is the home of the legislative branch of the American Government. The building would take nearly a century to complete. During the Civil War, the British set the building on fire. Today, the Capitol includes six offices and three Library of Congress buildings.

When the nation was young, the US had no permanent capital. The Congress met in eight cities to discuss where their capitol would be placed. They passed the Residence Act, which gave President Washington the power to select a permanent home for the federal government. The following year, he chose what would become the District of Columbia; from land provided by Maryland.

The Head of Development, who came up with the design of the Capitol, was Pierre Charles L’Enfant. However, he argued with the commissioners of the Capitol and was soon fired. A design competition was then held, with the winner being William Thornton. Washington laid the Capitol’s cornerstone and the process of the Capitol construction went underway.