The United States Capitol

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East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington, DC 20004

In Advise and Consent:

“This building,” one of the Capitol guides was telling the day’s first batch of tourists, listening attentively in the great rotunda, “stands on Capitol Hill 88 feet above the level of the Potomac River, on a site once occupied by a subtribe of the Algonquin Indians known as the Powhatans, whose council house was located at the foot of the hill. The building covers an area of 153,112 square feet, or approximately 3 1/2 acres. Its length from north to south is 751 feet, four inches; its width, including approaches, is 350 feet. It has a floor area of 14 acres, and 435 rooms are devoted to offices, committees, and storage. There are 679 windows and 554 doorways. The cornerstone of the Capitol was laid on September 18, 1793.”  Page 119

In Real Life:

When I first started tracking the locations in Advise and Consent, I imagined myself wandering around the cavernous halls of the United States Capitol – poking my head into the office of the Senior Senator from Michigan. Yes, I know Bob Munson wouldn’t have been there but it would be cool to see the office. Or maybe I would stick my head into the office of the Senior Senator of Utah to check out where THE BIG TURNING POINT in the novel went down.  Or – I thought – I could check in with the Press Corp. None of that happened. In fact, I found my role at the Capitol to be much like that of the tourists who come up every few chapters. Allen Drury weaves them into the fabric of the novel – painting a picture of their permanence on the scene there.

First of all, security is tight.  Nobody wants anyone wandering around anywhere.  We got in on hall passes from the office of U.S. Representative Jackie Speier.  We went through a security check and then waited inside the Capitol with tourists from all over the country and probably the world. We waited for awhile and then suddenly our guide turned up. We put on headsets to connect to him – which was weird – but it made the whole thing a little quieter. And I could at least hear the guy tell us all about the Capitol. However, I have to say our guide didn’t get into all the great information the tour guides Drury wrote into Advise and Consent. But we saw -???  Capitol at all.


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