Adams Building – Library of Congress

Adams Building of the Library of Congress

Adams Building of the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress consists of three buildings, and the John Adams Building is one of those buildings. The Adams building is located on 2nd Street SE between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street.

The other buildings of the Library of Congress are the Thomas Jefferson Building, often referred to as the Library of Congress, and the Madison Building. Click Jefferson Building to see the StationStart.com entry about that building.

The Adams Building is notable for at least three important reasons. First it can hold 10 million books on its 180 miles of shelves. Second the entrance on Second Street SE, the west entrance, has three massive brass doors by sculptor Lee Lawrie. Third the building plays an important role in Dan Browns’ novel Lost Symbol. Fourth the building was opened to the public in 1939. (Number four is actually not all that important, so this list really contains only three important reasons as indicated.) 

Brass Figures Odin, Cadmus and Ogma from the Brass Doors of the West Entrance of the Adams Building

Brass Figures Odin, Cadmus and Ogma from the Brass Doors of the West Entrance of the Adams Building

The huge brass doors of the west entrance were somewhat tarnished the day these photographs were taken. Although to be fair that tarnish did not detract from the impressive nature of those door. Shown in the photograph are three figures sculpted on the door. The first image is of Odin, a Norse god and ruler of Asgard. The second image is of Cadmus, a Phoenician prince in Greek and Roman mythology. The third image is of Ogma, a character from Irish and Scottish mythology.

Adams Building South Entrance Polished Brass Doorway

Adams Building South Entrance Polished Brass Doorway

Although the Second Street SE door were somewhat tarnished, the single set of doors on the south end of the building had been recently polished. The figures on these door are a man holding a large vase and a woman holding a scroll.

Click Here for Google Map showing the location of the Library of Congress John Adams Building.

Closest Metro Station: The Capitol South Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines is nearest to the Adams Building.

Lost Symbol by Dan Brown: The Adams Building of the Library of Congress is mentioned in Chapters 62, 64, 68, 72, 73 and 75.


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