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Memorial or Funeral Services in the Capitol Rotunda 

In the absence of law or written rule, when the Congress is in session, use of the Rotunda is controlled by Senate-House concurrent resolution. Since 1865, most services have used the catafalque constructed for the coffin of Abraham Lincoln. In the case of the Unknowns of World War II and the Korean War, an additional catafalque was built with the coffin of each at some point resting on the Lincoln catafalque. (The Lincoln catafalque was not used for the two Capitol Police officers in 1998.)

The Lincoln catafalque, which is a bier constructed of pine boards covered with fabric, was also used in 1873 in the Senate Chamber for the services of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase and in 1875 in the House Chamber for Congressman Samuel Hooper. It was used in 1993 for Thurgood Marshall and in 1995 for Warren Burger, both at the Supreme Court; in 1996 it was used for Ron Brown, at the Commerce Department.

Of the 32 people who have lain in the Capitol Rotunda, 12 have served as a senator at some point in their career (indicated by the asterisk). (Since two of the services honored two individuals, there have been a total of 30 services.)


(*Senator  #Open casket)



Office at time of death (or for which best known)

*#Henry Clay

Jul 1, 1852

Senator (W-KY)

#Abraham Lincoln

Apr 19-21, 1865


#Thaddeus Stevens

Aug 13-14, 1868

Representative (W-PA)

*#Charles Sumner

Mar 13, 1874

Senator (R-MA)

*#Henry Wilson

Nov 25-26, 1875

Vice President (Senator, 1855-1873)

#James A. Garfield

Sep 21-23, 1881


*#John A. Logan

Dec 30-31, 1886

Senator (R-IL)

#William McKinley

Sep 17, 1901


Pierre Charles L'Enfant (retirement)

Apr 28, 1909

(Planner of the city of Washington, D.C.)

George Dewey

Jan 20, 1917

(Admiral of the Navy of the United States)

Unknown Soldier of World War I

Nov 9-11, 1921


*#Warren G. Harding

Aug 8, 1923

President (Senator, 1915-1921)

#William Howard Taft

Mar 11, 1930

Chief Justice of the U.S. (President, 1909-1913)

#John Joseph Pershing

Jul 18-19, 1948

(General of the Armies of the United States)

*Robert A. Taft

Aug 2-3, 1953

Senator (R-OH)

Unknown Soldiers of World War II and the Korean War (2)

May 28-30, 1958


*John F. Kennedy

Nov 24-25, 1963

President (Senator, 1953-1960)

#Douglas MacArthur

Apr 8-9, 1964

(General of the Army of the United States)

Herbert Hoover

Oct 23-25, 1964

(President, 1929-1933)

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Mar 30-31, 1969

(President, 1953-1961)

*Everett McKinley Dirksen

Sep 9-10, 1969

Senator (R-IL)

J. Edgar Hoover

May 3-4, 1972

Director, FBI

*Lyndon Baines Johnson

Jan 24-25, 1973

President, 1963-1969; Vice President, 1961-1963; Senator, 1949-1961

*Hubert H. Humphrey

Jan 14-15, 1978

Senator (D-MN) (Vice President, 1965-1969)

Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam Conflict

May 25-28, 1984


*#Claude Pepper

Jun 1-2, 1989

Representative (D-FL) (Senator, 1936-1951)

Jacob J. Chestnut
John Gibson (1)

Jul 28, 1998

Capitol Police Officer
Capitol Police Special Agent

Ronald Wilson Reagan

Jun 9-11, 2004

President, 1981-1989

Rosa Parks (2)

Oct 30-31, 2005

Civil Rights Activist

Gerald R. Ford

Dec 30, 2006 - Jan 2, 2007

President, 1974-1977

*Daniel K. Inouye

Dec 20, 2012

Senator (D-HI), 1963-2012 (President pro tempore, 2010-2012)

1. Lay in honor, rather than lay in state.

2. Lay in honor, the first women to be so honored in the U.S. Capitol

Source: Architect of the Capitol

Senate Historical Office



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