One of Washington, D.C.'s most unusual landmarks is the National Capitol Columns, located in the Ellipse Meadow at the National Arboretum. Their appearance makes it seem as if they’ve been there for a very long time. In fact, its been less than a dozen years since benefactors restored them and had them moved to their current location.
The columns began their life on the East Portico of the Capitol building in 1828, quarried from sandstone near Aquia Creek in Virginia and barged to Washington in the early days of our country. But, their stay at the Capitol itself was to be limited by an oversight. The iron dome of the Capitol, completed in 1864, appeared as if it was not adequately supported by the columns because it turned out to be significantly larger than the dome the designer envisioned when he ordered the columns.
After being removed and then languishing unused for decades, they were finally relocated to the Arboretum where they now stand in stately array – not supporting anything except the sky, peoples’ joy at seeing them, and writers’ and photographers’ imaginations.