Small Senate Rotunda

When repairs were underway after the Fire of 1814, Benjamin Henry Latrobe built a domed air shaft where a stair had been formerly located. The oculus of the dome provided an unexpected source of light and air. Sixteen columns support the dome and were designed with tobacco leaves and flowers. The capitals were modeled by Francisco Iaradella, an Italian sculptor working under Latrobe's direction. Hanging from the center of the dome is an enormous crystal chandelier that was purchased by the Architect of the Capitol in 1964 from a wrecking company that was in the process of tearing down the Capitol Hill Methodist Church. The church, in turn, had been given the chandelier from a parishioner who bought it from a movie theater being demolished in Baltimore. The chandelier cost $1,500.