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This is the oldest known photo of the Capitol, shot in 1846 from the East Front. The photo shows how the Capitol looked after it was reconstructed under the direction of architect Charles Bulfinch, who oversaw the building’s restoration after British troops set fire to it in the War of 1812. The Capitol remained this way until 1851, when an expansion began to better accommodate the legislative branch. The East Front currently is undergoing another change with the addition of the Capitol Visitor Center, which is set to open in September 2008.

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