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National Statuary Hall


National Statuary Hall

When the Senate moved to its current chamber in 1859, the Supreme Court took up residence in the Senate’s old chamber and remained there until 1935. When the House of Representatives moved to its current chamber in 1857, however, the fate of its old home remained undecided. As years went by, the empty Hall of the House fell into disrepair and disuse. On January 6, 1864, Justin Morrill of Vermont proposed a solution, to restore the old chamber “as a hall for statuary.” Six months later, Congress established National Statuary Hall and encouraged every state to provide two statues “of men who have been...illustrious for their historical renown or for distinguished civic or military services.” Rhode Island became the first state to contribute in 1870, honoring Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene and colonial founder Roger Williams. As years went by, other states contributed marble or bronze statues. Finally, in 2005, New Mexico’s Po’pay completed the collection—100 statues representing the 50 states’ most famous sons and daughters.