History of the Search for the Ideal Stone
Learn the history behind the re-building of the Capital City after the War of 1812. The destruction of Washington in 1814 by the invading British challenged President James Monroe & architect Benjamin Latrobe with the task of rebuilding the destroyed edifices of the city's public buildings. As symbols of the aspirations of the Republic, they had to be more than functional, they had to be beautiful. The building material they discovered and used to beautify the new Capitol was Potomac marble, which exists in abundance on both sides of the Potomac River, from Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia to Montgomery and Frederick Counties in Maryland. Local historian Paul Kreingold details Latrobe and Monroe's search for the ideal stone and their fight to use it to rebuild the chambers of the House and Senate.
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