Visualizing 200 Years of History Under Capitol Hill

Visualizing 200 Years of History Under Capitol Hill

A view under the capitol building

A view under the capitol building

By  Elliot Carter

Thousands of federal employees, elected officials, and visitors walk across the Capitol Grounds every day. This 250 acre complex includes an underground visitor center, three library buildings, seven office buildings, a dedicated power plant and police headquarters, three Metro stations and one massive train station. The Capitol grounds look like a big park when viewed from the sidewalk. But when I walk around The Hill I try to imagine the underground world that can't be seen.

Here are some screenshots from a 3d model I have been working on in Sketchup, an architectural rendering program. You can see how the waves of construction expanded and connected the buildings on The Hill.

Industrial Revolution - 1910's

Under Capitol Hill 1910
  • Cannon and Russell office buildings, connected to the Capitol with pedestrian tunnels 
  • Library of Congress, linked to the Capitol by book tunnel
  • Capitol Power Plant, linked to Cannon, LOC, Russell and Union Station by steam tunnels
  • Union Station, linked with Washington Terminal Company rail spur via the First Street Tunnel 

Great Depression - 1930's

UNDER CAPITOL HILL 1930
  • Longworth House Office Building
  • Library of Congress Adams Building
  • Supreme Court
  • Underground Senate Garage

Cold War - 1960's

UNDER CAPITOL HILL 1960
  • Underground House Garages
  • Rayburn House Office Building + Rayburn Subway
  • Dirksen Senate Office Building

Late Cold War - 1980's

UNDER CAPITOL HILL 1980
  • Library of Congress Madison Building
  • Hart Senate Office Building
  • Metro

Post 9/11 - 2000's

UNDER CAPITOL HILL 2008
  • Capitol Visitor Center

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