The oldest of the three United States Library of Congress buildings, the Thomas Jefferson Building was built between 1890 and 1897. It was originally known as the Library of Congress Building and is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street in Washington, D.C. The Beaux-Arts style building is known for its classicizing facade and elaborately decorated interior. Its design and construction has a tortuous history; the building's main architect was Paul J. Pelz, initially in partnership with John L. Smithmeyer, and succeeded by Edward Pearce Casey during the last few years of construction.DesignJohn L. Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz won the competition for the architectural plans of the library in 1873. The actual start of the project was delayed by congressional debates until a vote in 1886. In 1888, Smithmeyer was dismissed and Pelz became the lead architect. Pelz was himself dismissed in 1892 and replaced by Edward Pearce Casey, the son of Brig. Gen. Thomas Lincoln Casey, Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who at the time was in charge of the building's construction. While Smithmeyer was instrumental in securing the commission, Pelz appears to have been the main designer of the building and oversaw most of the exterior work. Casey is credited for the completion of the interiors and the artistic supervision of the building's unique decorative program. The Library was opened to the public in 1897 and the finishing work was completed in 1898.