Historical Highlights

The First Time the House Met in the North Wing of the Capitol

November 17, 1800
The First Time the House Met in the North Wing of the Capitol Image courtesy of Library of Congress In 1800, the North wing of the United States Capitol was the only completed part of the building.
On this date, the House assembled for the first time in the North wing of the Capitol. Although work halted on the central domed section and the House side (South wing) of the building, enough space was completed to receive the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress to the new permanent site of the federal government in Washington, D.C. In the fall of 1800, only the President’s House, the North wing of the Capitol, and a road connecting the two, Pennsylvania Avenue, were functional. Planning for the city had commenced nearly a decade earlier, following the Residence Act of 1790. In 1793, President George Washington had laid the cornerstone of the Capitol building. Construction proceeded slowly with responsibility of all oversight given to the President. With no funds for building or planning appropriated by Congress, architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant faced many obstacles designing the new capital city. However, pressure to meet the Capitol occupancy deadline established by the Residence Act, along with outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever in the temporary capital of Philadelphia, spurred the government’s move.

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