Original Design of the Capitol
Dr. William Thornton
Dr. Thornton, an amateur architect, was awarded $500 a city lot for this design. A domed rotunda based on the ancient Roman temple called the Pantheon is its central feature. The rotunda is flanked by identical wings for the Senate and the House of Representatives. The model shows how the original Capitol would have looked if Thornton's design had not been altered by later architects during construction.
The principal feature of Dr. Thornton's west front design was a central circular conference room between the north and south wings. Around 1797 Thornton decided to top the conference room with a circular colonnade and dome intended as a "Temple of Fame." While the wings were built according to his design, the conference room and "Temple of Dame" were never constructed.