The House Chamber opened on December 16, 1857, part of the extensive building project that created the north and south wings of the Capitol. Victorian decorative taste prevailed in the décor, although it was modified over time with changes in art and furnishings. The marble rostrum and painted iron decorative elements, though, remained the same from 1857 to 1950.
After a 1938 building survey declared the roof over the House Chamber “far short of present day safety requirements,” the time had come to revamp the space. The House continued to meet in the Chamber until July 1949, when repairs finally got underway. The completely renovated Chamber saw its first meeting of Congress on January 1, 1951.