After the burning of both the White House and the U.S. Capitol in 1814, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Architect of the Capitol, was chosen to rebuild the Capitol and examine the damage at the White House. Since he did not find that much Aquia stone still available in Stafford, he decided to rebuild using pieces of Aquia stone he could acquire along with other stone such as marble and Seneca stone.
Before the burning, Latrobe designed capitals that were strictly American. They were toppers for columns that were called “Corncob Capitals.” Fortunately, the Aquia stone “Corncob Capitals” were not destroyed during the burning of the Capitol. The ones he designed for the rebuilt-Capitol were tobacco capitals, as shown in the picture. Latrobe did not wish to use Corinthian, or foreign-type capitals, for the inside of the Capitol. He wanted his capitals to reflect this New Nation’s agriculture. The tobacco capitals, like the corncob capitals, were made out of freestone too. (photo: Architect of the Capitol)