With the election season fast approaching, it has become nearly impossible to turn on the news without hearing about deals and donations made “behind closed doors” to get the candidates to Washington D.C. Behind our own uber doors there’s less campaigning and more eye-rolling at all the antics, but there’s still a great deal of interest in what goes on in Washington. Have you ever wondered about the history of those storied halls? The places where freedom is defended or threatened, justice served, and history made?
Here are the front doors from just a few of our iconic, national buildings.
Columbus Doors-U.S. Capitol Building, Washington D.C.
The “Columbus Doors” were designed by Randolph Rogers and installed at the Capitol in 1863. They were subsequently moved to their current location in 1961 when expansions were made to the Capitol building. The Columbus Doors depict 8 scenes from the life of Christopher Columbus, as well as the images of historians who wrote of him, and items that suggest the nature of his life: world conquest, navigation of the seas, and interests in commerce, art, and the sciences.
North Portico Doors-White House, Washington D.C.
The North Portico Doors are the front doors of the White House, the home of the President of the United States, and aside from the Statue of Liberty, probably one of the most well-known, iconic places in America. Behind these doors lives one of the most powerful leaders in the world, but they are still the front doors of a home. This is the door where foreign dignitaries, ambassadors, prime ministers and kings and queens are greeted and welcomed by our elected leader.
Supreme Court: Evolution of Justice Doors, Washington D.C.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in America. This is the place where the Constitutionality of state and federal laws are determined, where freedom is upheld and injustice struck down. The doors leading into this court are called the “Evolution of Justice” doors and depict 8 scenes from Western history that show just how our laws and system of justice came to be. These massive doors were designed by Cass Gilbert and John Donnelly Sr, and sculpted by John Donnelly Jr. They were installed in 1935
“Ex Nihilo” Creation Door-Washington National Cathedral, Washington D.C.
The “Ex Nihilo” doors, Latin for “out of nothing”, represent the creation of man out of chaos by God. These doors, leading into one of the largest cathedrals in America, were designed by Frederick Hart.
“Few Doors Were Open”, FDR Memorial-Washington D.C.
The FDR Memorial opened in Washington D.C. on May 2, 1997. Franklin Delano Roosevelt lead America through some of her darkest hours, the devastating Great Depression and World War II. This sculpture, depicting one of the many work or bread lines that men and women would stand in for hours, tells the story of how “few doors were open” to the people during this time in our history.