One of the most incredible properties in the Capitol building is opening up. The death of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) late last year means that the lovely “hideaway” office he occupied will soon be available.
Inouye was the chamber’s most senior member, meaning he had dibs on the choicest of all the private hideaways — those offices in the Capitol building given to senators in addition to their official spaces. His was a second-floor office on the Capitol’s tony West Front, which affords sweeping views down the Mall, that originally was occupied by the Librarian of Congress before the library moved into its own space in 1897.
The former library spaces, which were also later used by the Supreme Court before the court decamped in 1935, are said to be breathtaking, with crystal chandeliers, marble fireplaces and mahogany galore.
Since Inouye’s death, the hideaway has undergone a refurbishment — nothing major, just a little spiffing up, we hear. And soon, the process of passing it on will begin.
Typically, hideaways are offered to senators in order of seniority, which means the space will be made available to the chamber’s now-most-senior members, (with the addition of the office space inside the Capitol Visitors Center, even the most junior senator has at least a closet-sized hideaway to call his own).
Some senators make their hideaways semi-public spaces where they hold meetings with staffers and visiting constituents, while others prefer to keep them very exclusive — keeping their locations secret so they can slip away from colleagues, reporters, maybe even their own staff.