Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Capitol Columns

Another of the new places I visited on this most recent trip to DC was the US National Arboretum, not only to see their collections of plants and trees, but to see the Capitol Columns. These columns used to be on the Mall side of the Capitol building until a renovation and addition in the mid-50s. After removel, they lay in storage for almost thirty years before being erected at their current site at the National Arboretum. It's a pretty impressive site to see these columns just standing out there in a field. All of the stones you see around them was also salvaged from the Capitol prior to the additions, each piece is chiseled with a code that can be tracked back to exactly where it was located before it was removed.

Unfortunately, during our visit, there was no water flowing through the small channel leading down between the steps in front of the columns, and the pond was almost dry. I would have liked to get some reflection of the columns in the water with the bright blue sky in the background. I guess that will have to wait until next time.

On the far side of the field is one of the capitals from the columns, mounted down low so you can actually see the detail in it. They were carved of sandstone, and you can see the effects that years of weathering have had on the soft stone. I believe the current columns at the Capitol have been carved from marble to give them a much longer lifespan.