The sandstone base and capital are from a Corinthian column that once graced the east central portico of the United States Capitol. The columns were dismantled in 1958 to make way for the east front extension, where marble reproductions now stand.
The sandstone for the columns came from quarries at Aquia Creek, Virginia. Architect Charles Bullfinch oversaw completion of the Capitol portico in 1826 using a design handed down by his predecessors, William Thornton and Benjamin Henry Latrobe. An Englishman, George Blagden, oversaw the stone cutters. Giovanni Andrei, a native of Italy, was in charge of the carvers: it took a carver 6 months to produce one capital.
The principal ornamentation on the bell-shaped capital is an Acanthus leaf, a plant native to the Meditteranean region. The plant may be found growing in the Dioscorides Garden at the National Herb Garden.
Proceed across the meadow to closely view the columns and reflecting pool.