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Eternal Flame

A “crypt” is a chamber beneath the main floor. The Capitol Crypt’s general appearance has remained constant since the central section of the Capitol was finished in the 1820s, with the exception of a 10-foot hole that originally pierced the center of the ceiling. The hole was sealed in 1828 due to damp drafts that were damaging the paintings in the Rotunda; but there really was a flame in the crypt and there really was a “Keeper of the Crypt”. Just as Dan Brown said.

Columns made of Aquia Creek Virginia sandstone and arches support the Rotunda floor. During the early Civil War, the Crypt was used to store flour needed to bake bread for Union soldiers stationed in the nation’s capital.

The Crypt contains educational displays of the architectural and historical development of the Capitol, including one of the original sandstone column capitals from the East Front Portico.

Posted by Capitol Rotunda (guest) on Mon 01 Mar 2010 10:32:15 PM UTC

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