The Old Senate Chamber

The Senate met in this chamber from 1810 until 1859. During its residence here, the Senate grew from a small advisory council to the primary forum for the great national debates of the mid-19th century. Here, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun fiercely debated the issues of slavery, territorial expansion, and economic policy affecting the new nation, that culminated in the Compromise of 1850. The room reflects the efforts of architects Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Charles Bulfinch.

After the Senate moved to its present location, the room was occupied by the Supreme Court from 1860 to 1935. Under the direction of the U.S. Senate Commission on Art, the Old Senate Chamber was restored to its resplendent appearance of 1850-59 in time for our nation's bicentennial. A Capitol Guide is stationed in the room to provide interpretation and answer questions.

Historic Events in the Old Senate Chamber

Old Senate Chamber Artwork

Panorama Hot Spots