Summerhouse been a quenching respite since 1880

Where can you go for a drink around the U.S. Capitol? Well, since 1880 or so The Summerhouse has always offered refreshment.

Water, that is.

The hexagonal red brick building on the west lawn of the Senate side has a drinking fountain for more than 13 decades. There’s even seating for 22.

Frederick Law Olmsted created arched entranceways, small windows, carvings and lots of ornate artistry with even a basket-weave exterior. The interior stone seats are underneath red Spanish mission tile for shade. The focus is a small grotto where water cascades over rocks, though there are also three drinking fountains. The water from a spring is fine, having tried it many times without a problem.

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