Today in History: Capitol cornerstone is laid

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222 years ago today, the Capitol cornerstone was laid by President George Washington. And, forgive the pun, but it was a Capitol moment in our nation's history. By laying the cornerstone to the Capitol building in 1793, Washington laid the first piece to the foundation of the American government's legislative branch.


Today, the Capitol building is part of the Capitol Complex in Washington D.C., which includes three Library of Congress and six other Congressional buildings.

Before the Capitol was built, Congress had no home. Instead, they all met in eight cities that included New York City, Philadelphia, Annapolis, and Princeton. When Congress passed the Residence Act in 1790, Washington chose Washington D.C. to become the future home of the Capitol.


Although the Capitol building is an important part of the United States' history, it was actually designed by an Irishman. William Thornton was selected to design the building after sending in the winning entry to a design competition. Washington laid the first cornerstone in the building in September 1793 and the rest is history, literally.

Sure, the building has come across some obstacles during its long and illustrious career, but it's still a thing of beauty and today, we celebrate the fact it was created.

The Capitol welcomes more than three million visitors a year. Feel free to admire the beauty of the Capitol by scrolling through the slideshow below:
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U.S. Capitol building through history
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Today in History: Capitol cornerstone is laid
The U.S. Capitol Building is lit at sunset in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Engraved view of Washington D C and the United States Capitol Building from the White House, drawn by W H Bartlett and engraved by H Wallis, Washington D C, circa 1800-1850. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
View of the east front elevation of the United States Capitol Building, Washington DC, 1846. (Photo by John Plumbe/Stock Montage/Getty Images)
Capitol of the United States, Washington DC, 1855. Illustration from the History and Topography of the United States of North America, Volume II , by John Howard Hinton, published by Samuel Walker, (Boston, 1855). (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
1859: The Capitol Building in Washington, DC, seat of the United States Congress, at the time of the construction of its dome. (Photo by William England/London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)
United States Capitol Building, Washington DC, 1895. (Photo by Geo. P. Hall & Son/The New York Historical Society/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5, 1915: The East portico and dome of the United States Capitol Building as seen on March 5, 1915 in Washington, DC. (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - Circa 1950s: Capitol Building Washington D.C.. (Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 13: Exterior view of the Capitol at time of President Truman's meeting with Congressional leaders on day after FDR's death. (Note flag at half-mast). (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - 1956: A general view of the East portico of the United States Capitol building in 1956 in Wahsington, DC. (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 01: President Ronald Reagan giving speech from podium with Capitol Building looming behind him at rally for Balanced Budger Amendment. (Photo by Diana Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Cherry blossoms frame the U.S. Capitol dome March 24. The cherry blossoms around Washington's mall and tidal basin are an annual sign of spring in the nation's capital.
A wide-angle feature picture of the United States Capitol dome taken June 19, shows the cast-iron dome, designed in 1854 by Architect of the Capitol Thomas Walter. Initial construction began in 1856. A rare media tour of the dome was given today.
The United States Capitol building is shown at sunset January 6, 2001 moments after [U.S. Vice President Al Gore] read the certified results of the November 7, 2000 U.S. presidential election declaring [Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush] the next president of the United States. The counting of the electoral vote took place inside the House of Representatives chamber.
CAPITOL BUILDING, WASHINGTON DC, MAY 16, 2016: A DigitalGlobe satellite image of the United States Capitol building in Washington DC. (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: The Capitol Building is pictured on November 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. Americans today will choose between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as they go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
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