Today, the U.S. Capitol building includes different kinds of building
stones from many places. But the original construction was with
sandstone, transported by water from Virginias Aquia Creek quarry.
This weathered baluster once adorned the Capitols East Front. Even
layers of white paint couldnt keep parts of its surface from weathering
away in layers, like those of an onion.
These two carved brackets were nearly identical when installed in the 1790s.
Over the next 160 years, many layers of paint were applied to protect
the easily weathered sandstone. The one with more paint retains more of
the original detail.
As late as 1860, building stones could be
hauled up the Washington City Canal to the very steps of the Capitol