The following is a guest post by David Mao, Law Librarian of Congress. He has previously guest posted New Year’s Greetings, Justifying Speed, Food for Thought, Another Trip Down Memory Lane, 2012 Burton Awards Pic of the Week, Shreddy: From the Office of the Law Librarian Pic of the Week, From the Desk of the Law Librarian, The Law Librarian in London, and Rebellious Children and Witches.
According to two of my Library of Congress colleagues, The Capitol Dome is topped by twelve columns encircling a lantern. The lantern is lit when one or both houses of Congress meet in night session. Although there is not a legal requirement for the night lighting or a record of when the lighting began, it is believed that the practice started in about 1864, when members lived in boarding-houses and hotels near the Capitol.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Capitol Dome and learned that four large bulbs light the Tholos (two for the House and two for the Senate).
And remember whenever the lights are on in the Tholos, we’re here for Congress.