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The Empty Crypt Beneath the US Capitol Rotunda

Mental Floss – “The U.S. Capitol Crypt is home to 40 Doric columns, a dozen statues, and no human remains. It’s also a lot less far off the beaten track than your regular run-of-the-mill underground vault—visitor tours of the Capitol building pass through it on a daily basis. In fact, the Capitol Crypt wasn’t exactly intended as a crypt. According to Architect of the Capitol, the building’s first architect, Dr. William Thornton, called it a “Grand Vestibule” on a blueprint from 1797. Nine years later, his successor dubbed it the “General Vestibule to all the Offices.” But while the room was mainly meant to function as a thoroughfare, it was also supposed to be the final resting place of George Washington and his wife, Martha…Though Washington’s tomb remains vacant, the Capitol Crypt itself does not: It currently houses a statue of a notable figure from each of the 13 original colonies. (Except, for the moment, Virginia—the Robert E. Lee sculpture was removed in December 2020 and will soon be replaced with one commemorating civil rights activist Barbara Johns.)”

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