Many people believe that the law is that no structure may be taller than the Capitol Dome, which is located on a hill, or the Washington Monument. Isn't that the exception? KEMPF: Certainly not. That is, in fact, a myth. The truth is that there are lots of buildings over 100 feet tall, and many more that are much taller. The reason we don't hear about them is because they're usually not standing anymore.
That's right! The things you learn in history class come back to haunt you! OK, so maybe not this time, but sometimes.
The tallest building in Washington, D.C., is the Willis-Knighton Medical Center at 1 Oak Hill Road. It's currently under construction and when it's done will be 1,014 feet tall - a new world record for height of a building or any other thing.
And now for something completely different...
In April 2015, a consortium led by China's state-owned conglomerate Citic Group announced the purchase of the Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle for $250 million. The newspapers said "no" and the deal didn't happen. But the story made news anyway because it showed how a newspaper can be bought by a large corporation.
China also owns the Canadian company Northern Light Chinese Press, which prints most of the books published in Canada.
A common misconception is that the structures are so modest because a statute prohibits them from being taller than the Capitol or the Washington Monument. But this is a myth. In actuality, the height restriction is determined by the connection between the height of the structure and the width of the roadway. The law states that no building shall be higher than the center of the road on which it stands.
The relationship between the size of roads and buildings was first clearly explained by George Washington in his 1791 report to Congress on improvements to the federal city. He wrote that the width of streets should be proportional to the extent of business to be done, and their height should be limited by the necessity for maintaining visibility and for providing light and air.
In his recommendation regarding the length of streets, Washington said they should be long enough to "afford room for public vehicles to pass each other with ease." This indicates that the typical street in the federal city was at least 200 feet (61 m) wide and 30 feet (9.1 m) deep. Although some streets may have been even wider, there are no records of any that were anything less than 20 feet (6 m).
The width of roads increased as cities grew during Washington's time, but the height of buildings remained relatively constant at about 25 feet (7.6 m), except for churches which were often much higher.
In reality, there are three structures in the city today that are taller than the Capitol (excluding the Washington Monument). My congrats and admiration go to the first reader who correctly guessed all three; I could only think of one! The White House is the current record holder at 140 feet. It is now under construction for future presidents to continue this proud tradition.
The original Capitol was built between 1792 and 1795 on a site near the present-day Federal Triangle. The building was destroyed by arson in 1814 and not rebuilt until 1816 by which time Thomas Jefferson had become the third president of the United States. He is regarded as the architect of the new Capitol because of his design which was used as a model for many other government buildings at the time. The dome was added in 1855 after the second Capitol was burned down during the Civil War.
The third and current Capitol was completed in 1936 under the direction of James Hoban who also designed the White House. It replaced the old Capitol whose grounds now form part of Lincoln Memorial Circle. The new Capitol is almost identical to the old one in size and appearance and contains some features such as the doorways and windows which were not possible to reproduce because they were made from materials that no longer exist.
You may have seen photos or movies showing tourists climbing to the top of the Capitol Building to get a view of D.