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Title: A manual on the origin and development of Washington
Author: Caemmerer, H. Paul
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A manual on the origin and development of Washington" ***

  Transcriber’s Notes

  Text printed in italics and small capitals in the source document
  have been transcribed _between underscores_ and as ALL CAPITALS
  respectively. Superscript text is indicated by ^{text}. Texts
  |between vertical bars| was illegible in the source document, and is
  a best-guess interpretation.

  More Transcriber’s Notes may be found at the end of this text.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Fairchild Aerial Surveys (Inc.)._





  “The City of Washington--the central star of the constellation
  which enlightens the whole world.”

  _General Lafayette, as Guest of the Nation, October 12, 1824._



Submitted by Mr. HAYDEN

  _April 20 (calendar day, May 18), 1938._

_Resolved_, That the manuscript entitled “A Manual of the Plan of
manner as may be directed by the Joint Committee on Printing, as a
Senate Document.




This Manual on the Origin and Development of Washington is published
for the use of students, particularly in high schools, desiring to make
a study of the National Capital a part of their course in civics.

The 25 chapters composing the book are of such interest and importance
that an hour a week may profitably be devoted to each, but the chapters
on public buildings and monuments require each two or three periods
for effective presentation. In this manner the Manual may serve as
a textbook for a year’s work; it will also be found helpful by the
general reader interested in Washington.

The Manual deals historically with the founding and development of
the National Capital. Beginning with the twentieth century we find a
new impetus given to the development of the city by the McMillan Park
Commission of 1901. Its work has been carried forward by the Commission
of Fine Arts and the National Capital Park and Planning Commission,
in cooperation with the Government of the District of Columbia,
including the Zoning Commission; also, of course, in cooperation with
the President of the United States, officials of the Government, and
the Congress of the United States, which by virtue of the Federal
Constitution exercises “exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever”
over the District of Columbia.

It should be kept in mind that in the study of the National Capital
we are studying the seat of government of the greatest nation in the
world, a city that was laid on a broad, firm foundation, and although
neglected for decades during the last century, the twentieth century
has seen Washington transformed into a city in keeping with the
dignity, power, and wealth of this great Nation.

The Plan of Washington is at the basis of city planning in the United
States. The organization of the National Conference on City Planning in
1907 was inspired by the work of the McMillan Park Commission of 1901.
Many of the leading artists of the country--architects, sculptors,
painters, and landscape architects--have served in the work of
beautifying the city. Washington is a city that is ever growing and it
is destined to be the most beautiful city in the world.

The writer wishes to express his grateful appreciation to Senator Carl
Hayden for having introduced the legislation to print this volume.




  Chapter                                                           Page

      I The Federal City: Story of the Movement Which Established
        the Seat of Government Near the Potomac                        1

     II Establishment of the Temporary and Permanent Seats of
        Government                                                     7

    III Development of the National Capital--The Plan of the City     13

          Site of the Federal City                                    13

          Terms of Original Agreement                                 15

          Boundary Stones of the District of Columbia                 19

          Preliminary Studies                                         20

     IV Maj. Pierre Charles L’Enfant                                  23

      V The L’Enfant Plan                                             25

          The Ellicott Plan--The L’Enfant Plan Enlarged               29

     VI Early Washington                                              35

    VII Washington 1810-1815                                          41

   VIII Washington 1816-1839                                          45

     IX Washington 1840-1859                                          49

      X Washington 1860-1870                                          53

     XI Improvements Made During President Grant’s Administration     61

    XII The Influence of the Centennial Celebration and of the
        World’s Columbian Exposition on Art in the United States      65

   XIII Highway Plan of the District of Columbia                      69

    XIV The McMillan Park Commission--The Plan of 1901                73

     XV National Commission of Fine Arts                              95

    XVI Zoning of the Capital                                        101

   XVII The National Capital Park and Planning Commission            105

  XVIII The Lincoln Memorial and the Arlington Memorial Bridge       131

    XIX The Parks of the District of Columbia                        143

     XX Architecture of Early Days                                   165

    XXI Public and Semipublic Buildings                              219

   XXII The Public-Buildings Program                                 293

  XXIII The Government of the District of Columbia                   305

   XXIV Arlington National Cemetery                                  309

    XXV Statues and Monuments                                        319

        Appendix                                                     347

          List of Statues and Monuments in Washington                347

          Bibliographical List of Books on Washington the National
          Capital                                                    353

          List of Presidents of the United States                    355

          Quotations from Great Americans on Washington the
          National Capital                                           357

        Index                                                        359



  The heart of the Nation’s Capital                         Frontispiece

  Adams Memorial, the                                                324

  Anacostia Park, plan of                                            160

  Aqueduct Bridge, old                                               180

  Arboretum, National, map of                                        162

  Arlington Cemetery, Arlington Mansion, and Fort Myer               308

  Arlington Mansion, reception hall                                  310

  Arlington Memorial Bridge                                          138

  Arlington Memorial Bridge, architect’s design                      136

  Arlington Memorial Bridge development                              141

  Arlington Memorial Bridge, eagle and fasces                        139

  Arlington Memorial Bridge, eagle and bison head                    137

  Arlington National Cemetery--Memorial Amphitheater                 312

  Arlington National Cemetery--Maine Monument and the Memorial
  Amphitheater                                                       316

  Arlington, plan for development of greater                         142

  Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, old                              73

  Boundary stone near Sixteenth Street NW.                            19

  Boundary stones of the District of Columbia                         17

  Boundary stones, three of the                                       18

  British Embassy                                                    290

  Building regulations issued by President Washington                 21

  Burke, statue of Edmund                                            344

  Burnham, Daniel H., on city planning                                81

  Cabin John Bridge                                                  214

  Capitol, the                                                       220

  Capitol, the, 1840                                                  49

  Capitol, the, 1870                                                  60

  Capitol at night                                                   222

  Capitol, basement plan of, 1800                                    171

  Capitol, bronze doors to the                                       225

  Capitol, bronze doors to the House of Representatives wing         229

  Capitol, bronze doors to the Senate wing                           227

  Capitol, design by Thornton, 1800                                  165

  Capitol, from Pennsylvania Avenue, 1830                            166

  Capitol, from the west, showing the Tripoli column                 167

  Capitol Grounds and Union Station Plaza, 1917                       96

  Capitol Grounds, treatment of the                                  297

  Capitol Prison, old                                                 53

  Capitol, showing uncompleted dome, 1860                             54

  Capitol, treatment for area west of the, plan of 1901               85

  Capitol upon its restoration, 1827                                 164

  Capitol, view from dome of, looking east                           106

  Capitol, view of dome of the, looking south                        107

  Central composition of the National Capital                        100

  Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, Georgetown, lock of the old               178

  Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, gatehouse                                  48

  Christ Church, Washington                                          189

  Christ Church, Alexandria, Va                                      120

  Christ Church burial ground, later known as Congressional Cemetery  44

  Columbia Island Plaza and Memorial Avenue                          140

  Constitution Hall                                                  278

  Dante, statue of                                                   337

  Decatur House                                                      176

  Declaration of Independence and the Constitution                   251

  Dermott map, the                                                    32

  District of Columbia Supreme Court Building                        194

  Dolly Madison House                                                175

  Dupont Memorial Fountain                                           335

  East Capitol Street                                                111

  Ellicott plan, the                                                  30

  Ellicott map, the                                                   39

  Executive Building, 1820-66                                        267

  Fish market along the water front                                  115

  Folger Shakespeare Library                                         253

  Folger Shakespeare Library, exhibition hall                        254

  Ford’s Theater                                                     216

  Fort Drive                                                         110

  Francis Scott Key Bridge                                           181

  Francis Scott Key House                                            183

  Freedom, statue of                                                 223

  Gatehouse by Bulfinch, formerly near the Capitol                    72

  Gatepost designed by Bulfinch, near the Capitol                     63

  George Washington Memorial Parkway                                 114

  Georgetown, house of the early days in                             184

  Government Printing Office, the United States                      258

  Grand Army of the Republic Memorial                                330

  Grand review of Union Army, May 1865                                58

  Grant, Gen. U. S., memorial                                   338, 342

  Grant, Gen. U. S., memorial, Artillery group                       341

  Grant, Gen. U. S., memorial, Cavalry group                         340

  Great Falls of the Potomac                                         116

  Hamilton, statue of Alexander                                      345

  Haymarket Square, old                                               59

  Horse cars, view showing                                            61

  House of Representatives Chamber                                   231

  House of Representatives about 1820, painting by Samuel F. B.
  Morse                                                               46

  House of Representatives Chamber, 1830                             169

  House of Representatives Office Building, New                      233

  House of Representatives Office Building, Old                      233

  Italian Embassy                                                    291

  Jackson, statue of Gen. Andrew                                     323

  Jeanne d’Arc, statue of                                            334

  Joaquin Miller Cabin in Rock Creek Park                            159

  King map, the                                                       33

  Lafayette Park, showing statue of Gen. Andrew Jackson              152

  Lafayette, statue of General                                       327

  L’Enfant, Maj. Pierre Charles                                       23

  L’Enfant plan, the                                                  26

  L’Enfant plan, sketch of the                                        22

  L’Enfant, tomb of                                                  317

  Library of Congress                                                244

  Library of Congress addition                                       248

  Library of Congress, grand staircase                               246

  Library of Congress, reading room                                  249

  Lincoln died, house in which President                             217

  Lincoln, second inaugural of President, 1865                        56

  Lincoln Memorial, the                                         130, 154

  Lincoln Memorial and approaches, the                               130

  Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Basin                                  134

  Lincoln Memorial, site of the, 1901                                 92

  Lincoln Memorial, statue of Abraham Lincoln                        132

  Lincoln Memorial, Memorial Bridge, and Riverside Drive, plan of
  1901                                                                93

  Longfellow, statue of Henry Wadsworth                              328

  Mall about 1890, view of the                                        64

  Mall, the, 1930                                                     97

  Mall, view from the Washington Monument, looking east              295

  Mall, view from the Capitol dome, looking west                     294

  Mall, the, inundated                                                79

  Mall and Monument Gardens, plan of 1901                             88

  Mall, plan of the                                                   90

  Mall, the, showing railroad tracks crossing it                      78

  Meridian Hill Park, lower garden                                   156

  Meridian Hill Park, upper garden                                   156

  Mount Vernon                                                       125

  Mount Vernon from the air                                          124

  Mount Vernon Memorial Highway                                      118

  Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, bridge over Hunting Creek           121

  Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, north of Little Hunting Creek       117

  Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, bridge over Boundary Channel        119

  Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, underpass at highway bridge         121

  National Archives Building                                         282

  National Archives Building, mural paintings in                     283

  National Gallery of Art                                            281

  National Geographic Society                                        278

  National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception                       287

  New Hampshire Avenue                                               144

  Octagon House                                                      174

  Old Tobacco Barn (old Christ Church)                               188

  Park areas acquired to July 1, 1938                                149

  Patent Office Building, Old                                        198

  Pennsylvania Avenue, plan of 1910, plan for developing south side  293

  Pennsylvania Avenue, between the Treasury and the Capitol          298

  Pennsylvania Railroad Station, old                                  77

  Pulaski, statue of Gen. Casimir                                    332

  Rock Creek Church                                                  186

  Rock Creek Park, map of                                            158

  Senate Chamber                                                     230

  Senate Chamber, 1830                                               168

  Senate Office Building                                             232

  Six Buildings, the                                                  36

  Smithsonian Institution                                            255

  Soldiers’ Home, United States                                      212

  St. John’s Church                                                  191

  St. John’s Church, early view of                                   192

  State Building, Department of, 1801                                265

  State Building, Department of, when remodeled                      264

  Thornton, Dr. William                                              197

  Treasury Building, Department of the                               270

  Treasury Building, Department of the, 1855                          52

  Treasury Building, site and material for, 1839                      47

  Triangle group of public buildings along Constitution Avenue       280

  Tripoli Column, at Annapolis, Md                                   320

  Tudor Place, showing gardens on the east side                      187

  Tudor Place, Thirty-first and Q Streets                            185

  Unknown Soldier of the World War, the Tomb of the                  314

  Union Square, plan of 1901                                          86

  Union Station                                                      234

  Union Station, concourse                                           236

  Union Station, waiting room                                        238

  Union Station and Plaza, looking north from the dome of the
  Capitol                                                            300

  United States Supreme Court Building                               302

  United States Supreme Court Chamber                                303

  Van Ness Mansion                                                   177

  Wakefield, at Popes Creek, Westmoreland County, Va                 127

  Wakefield, Washington family burying ground                        129

  Washington and Wakefield, map showing                              128

  Washington, 1852                                                    50

  Washington, 1890                                                    62

  Washington and environs, regional plan of                          104

  Washington Cathedral                                               285

  Washington Cathedral, interior                                     286

  Washington City Post Office                                        242

  Washington, early, showing the Jefferson poplars                    38

  Washington, view of early                                           34

  Washington from Arlington Heights, 1865                             55

  Washington from Arlington, plan of 1901                             76

  Washington from the President’s House, 1830                         44

  Washington, the future                                              94

  Washington in 1792                                                  12

  Washington in embryo                                                14

  Washington, looking north from the White House                      70

  Washington, looking south from Sixteenth Street and Columbia Road   71

  Washington, model of the future, plan of 1901                       75

  Washington, model of, showing conditions in 1901                    74

  Washington, George, Houdon bust of                                 122

  Washington, George, statue of                                      322

  Washington, George, statue of Gen.                                 318

  Washington, tomb of                                                126

  Washington Monument, the                                           208

  Washington Monument, as seen from the Mall grounds                 206

  Washington Monument, plan of the, by Robert Mills                  200

  Washington Monument, uncompleted, as it appeared from 1852-78      204

  Washington Monument, under construction, 1872                      202

  Washington Monument, view northwest from the                       274

  Water front, plan for improvement of the                           112

  White House, early view of the                                     170

  White House, north side                                            262

  White House, view showing terrace on south side, 1827              172

  Witherspoon, statue of John                                        329

  World’s Columbian Exposition, Court of Honor, looking east          66

  World’s Columbian Exposition, Court of Honor, looking west          67

  Zero milestone                                                     336




The problem of establishing a permanent seat of government for the
United States was most perplexing. The Continental Congress was obliged
for its own protection to travel from place to place to conduct its
sessions. By the treaty of Paris, in 1783, the independence of the
Colonies had been recognized, but they were then united simply as a
confederation, and there was lacking Federal authority through which
the needs of the Government could be asserted and provided for. This
was felt keenly in the matter of obtaining the necessary revenue to
maintain the Government, for the Continental Congress did not have the
power of taxation and had to depend upon the good will of the Colonies.

The demands upon the Continental Congress were many. The War of
Independence had impoverished the Colonies. There were the debts of war
incurred by the Continental Congress and also the debts of the Colonies
themselves--in all, $20,000,000, a huge sum in those days, and a factor
which, as we shall see, figured in the location of the Federal City
south of the Mason and Dixon line. Then, too, there was an army of
soldiers being discharged, with no funds at hand to pay them for their

Prior to the establishment of the Federal City on the banks of the
Potomac, the Continental Congress met in eight different cities and
towns, viz:

Philadelphia, September 5, 1774, to December 12, 1776.

Baltimore, December 20, 1776, to February 27, 1777.

Philadelphia, March 4 to September 18, 1777.

Lancaster, Pa., September 27, 1777.

York, Pa., September 30, 1777, to June 27, 1778.

Philadelphia, July 2, 1778, to June 21, 1783.

Princeton, N. J., June 26, 1783, to November 4, 1783.

Annapolis, Md., November 26, 1783, to June 3, 1784.

Trenton, N. J., November, 1784, to December 24, 1784.

New York City, January 11, 1785, to March 4, 1789.

From March 2, 1781, the Continental Congress was also called by some
the Congress of the Confederation. The first Congress under the
Constitution met on March 4, 1789, and adjourned September 29, 1789.
On December 6, 1790, the third session of the First Congress began
in Philadelphia, which was the temporary seat of government until
November, 1800.

The Continental Congress was seriously inconvenienced by this moving
from place to place. They could not take with them their records and
files, were required to seek protection, and there was lack of adequate
accommodations in some of the towns where they met. In Princeton the
sessions were held in the college building, Nassau Hall, where the
average attendance was only 22 Members.

The suggestion had been made in November, 1779, by some Members that
the Congress purchase a few square miles near Princeton village,
whereon to erect public offices and buildings for a permanent home for

The two leading factors that entered into the question of establishment
of a seat of government of the United States were jurisdiction and
geographical location. It was deemed very important to give to the
National Capital a central location along the Atlantic coast. Debates
on this question continued until 1790.

On January 29, 1783, the trustees of the corporation of Kingston, N.
Y., took the first recorded action by sending a memorial to the New
York State Legislature that “their estate be erected into a separate
district for the Honorable Congress of the United States.” It was
proposed to grant to Congress 1 square mile within the limits of the
town of Kingston, and the New York Legislature consented to this by
the adoption of a resolution on March 14, 1783. Upon the suggestion
of Alexander Hamilton and William Floyd this area was, in September,
increased to 2 square miles.

On May 12, 1783, the corporation of Annapolis adopted a resolution
calling upon the Maryland Legislature to allow the establishment of
the seat of government at Annapolis, because of its central location
along the Atlantic coast. The Continental Congress took note of this
on June 4, 1783. New Jersey, on June 19, 1783, offered a site anywhere
in the State. On June 28, 1783, the Legislature of Virginia offered to
Congress the town of Williamsburg and agreed to present the capitol,
the palace, and all the public buildings, together with 300 acres of
land adjoining the city, and a sum of money not to exceed £100,000.
This money was to be expended in erecting 13 hotels for the Delegates
to Congress. Also the town would cede a district contiguous to it not
exceeding 5 miles square. The legislature also offered to cede a like
district on the banks of the Potomac and to assure a sum not exceeding
£100,000 for the erection of hotels, and would also purchase 100 acres
of land for the erection of public buildings. Virginia offered to
cede land along the banks of the Potomac if Maryland would unite and
offer a similar tract on the opposite bank of the river; but should
Congress build on the Maryland side only the sum of £40,000 would be
appropriated and the State would be expected to supply the deficiency.

The offers of New York and Maryland, as recorded in the proceedings
of Congress of June 4, 1783, having emphasized the importance of the
subject to establish a permanent seat of government, we are told
in the annals of Madison that a day in October was named when the
subject would be considered. However, during that very month a mutiny
of dissatisfied soldiers took place. A band of soldiers started from
Lancaster, Pa., on June 17, 1783, for Philadelphia, to demand from the
Continental Congress the money then due. Congress appointed a committee
to appeal to the executive council of the State of Pennsylvania, in
session in the same building, for protection against the threatened
attack by the soldiers, but the council refused, saying that the
militia would doubtless not be willing to take up arms “before their
resentment should be provoked by some actual outrages.” The soldiers,
about 300 in number, proceeded to the state-house--Independence
Hall--where Congress and the executive council were in session,
surrounded that building, but attempted no violence. Occasionally
some soldier would use offensive language and point his musket at the
windows of the Halls of Congress, but at night the soldiers departed.
Congress thereupon adjourned hastily to meet in Princeton eight days
later. General Washington ordered a court-martial, in which two of
the mutineers were sentenced to death and four to receive corporal
punishment; but the convicted men were all pardoned by Congress.
General Washington regarded the mutineers as “recruits and soldiers
of a day who have not borne the heat and burden of war, and who can
have in reality very few hardships to complain of.” The legislators
were invited to return to Philadelphia, but the offer was refused, for
the reason that the armed soldiers had grossly insulted Congress and
it seemed useless to apply to the executive council for protection.
This led to the appointment of a committee, of which James Madison
was chairman, on the subject of a permanent seat of government. They
submitted a report on September 18, 1783.

The committee reported on two questions: First, the extent of the
district necessary; second, the power to be exercised by Congress
in that district. As to the first question, it was reported that a
district should not be less than 3 miles or more than 6 miles square;
and second, that Congress ought to have exclusive jurisdiction. The
report was referred to a committee as a whole, but there is no record
that further action was taken.

When the question of a permanent seat of government was again taken
up by the Continental Congress, it was the question of location that
predominated; the question of exclusive jurisdiction had generally
been conceded. The discussion was finally limited to two sites: First,
a location on the banks of the Potomac at least as far south as
Georgetown, which was favored particularly by the southern Members of
Congress as being the geographical center of the United States; second,
a site on the Delaware River near the falls above Trenton, which
Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the other States near by favored.

On October 7, 1783, Congress decided that a permanent seat of
government should be established on the Delaware River site, and a
committee was appointed to visit the location. Ten days later, on
October 17, 1783, Congress decided that there should be a National
Capital at the lower falls of the Potomac, at Georgetown. This is
the first mention of the present location of the National Capital.
Pending the completion of necessary buildings, it was decided that
the Continental Congress would meet at Trenton and Annapolis. But
the idea of having two capitals was ridiculed by such men as Francis
Hopkinson, who suggested that there be one Federal town to be placed
on a platform supported by wheels and two places of residence. As to
a statue of George Washington that had been authorized by Congress at
the same session, he suggested it be placed on wheels and be taken to
wherever Congress met. The idea of having two capitals was abandoned by
legislation adopted at Trenton on December 23, 1784.

Two years elapsed before Congress took up the subject again. In the
meantime a movement began, under the leadership of George Washington,
to promote trade relations between Virginia and Maryland, and to
establish trade with the western frontier by the construction of a
canal along the banks of the Potomac. Washington became president of
the Potomac Company at the time of its organization in 1785, and was
its guiding spirit for a period of four years, until 1789, when he
resigned from that office to take up his duties as first President of
the United States.

A trade convention, held at Annapolis, led to the call for the
Constitutional Convention, February 21, 1787, to meet in Philadelphia
in May of that year.

On May 29,1787, the draft of the Constitution submitted by Charles
Pinckney, of South Carolina, first mentions the section relating to
the Federal district in the form in which it became a part of the
Constitution of the United States (Art. I, sec. 8, par. 17), under the
powers of Congress--

  To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over
  such district (not exceeding 10 miles square) as may, by cession
  of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the
  seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like
  authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature
  of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts,
  magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.

There was objection on the part of some lest such a provision in the
Federal Constitution would create a government that would become
despotic and tyrannical and result in unjust discrimination in matters
of trade and commerce between the merchants within and outside of the
district. But on the other hand the advocates for a Federal City over
which Congress would have exclusive jurisdiction called attention to
the great importance for the Government to have a permanent residence
for the Congress and the executive departments, with their files and
records properly housed, and cited the mutiny in Philadelphia as
an illustration as to what might happen to the Government again in
the absence of such Federal authority. On September 17, 1787, the
Constitution of the United States was adopted and soon after was
ratified by a majority of the States.

When the time came for the inauguration of President Washington,
on April 30, 1789, in New York City, the Continental Congress was
completing its sessions, having resided in that city from 1785, a
period of four years. Of a population of 25,000 in 1776, the city in
1789 had a population of only half that number, due to the continuous
occupation by the British Army for a period of seven years. During
the evacuation the city was partly ruined. But a new era began; trade
increased, and the city began to grow rapidly. The Continental Congress
was meeting in the old city hall, which had been used by the British as
a prison and was in a dilapidated condition. As Washington was to be
inaugurated in New York, the people thought that city would become the
seat of government, so the city hall was torn down and a new building
erected on the site where the subtreasury building on Wall Street now

It was recognized that the presence of that national body was a
valuable asset to the city. Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who late in
1791 made the plan for the Federal City, was selected to design and
construct the building. When the Members of Congress assembled for the
First Congress under the Federal Constitution, they met in a building
constructed with classical arches and columns, painted ceilings and
marble pavements, and furnished in a magnificent manner with crimson
damask canopies and hangings. The exterior was marked by a portico with
arcaded front and highly decorated pediments. But the building had been
erected too rapidly to endure permanently; poor work had been done, and
in a few years it was demolished.

The building was called Federal Hall. Here on April 30, 1789, a date
never to be forgotten in the annals of American history, George
Washington was inaugurated first President of the United States of
America. The spot where General Washington stood is now marked, as
nearly as possible, by the J. Q. A. Ward statue of the first President,
which stands in front of the subtreasury building on Wall Street. Just
inside the door, preserved under glass, is a brownstone slab on which
is inscribed:


During the sessions of this Congress long and careful consideration was
given to the question of a permanent seat of government. It had its
place with great problems before Congress at the time--as the revenue
bill, which would provide money for the newly established Republic,
creating executive departments, plans for the funding of the public
debt and the assumption of State debts, disposal of public lands, and
establishing a judicial system. At the opening of the last month of the
session the question of a residence for the United States Government
was brought up. Protest was made against consideration of the subject
in view of the other important questions pending before Congress that
seemed to some to be more urgent, also because, they said, Congress
was properly housed, and that other towns like Trenton, Germantown,
Carlisle, Lancaster, York, and Reading would be glad to have Congress
locate with them.

However, the southern Members, led by Richard Bland Lee and
James Madison, Representatives from Virginia, argued for present
consideration of the subject. They favored the Potomac River site
at least as far south as Georgetown, which they asserted would be
geographically the center of the United States. They claimed for their
section of the country in this matter the consideration of justice and
equality. They argued that there was no question more important--one in
which the people of the country were so deeply interested and one on
the settlement of which the peace and the permanent existence of the
country so much depended. The question of location finally resolved
itself into the consideration of two localities: First, a site near
the falls of the Susquehanna, at Wrights Ferry, Pa., 35 miles from
tidewater; and second, a site at Georgetown, Md., near the lower falls
of the Potomac.

Great stress was laid on the importance of a site that would place the
seat of government on a navigable stream far enough from the sea to
be safe from hostile attacks. But it was also deemed very important
to select a place that would offer means of communication with the
western country, which was a subject, as we have seen, in which George
Washington was interested for years previously. This argument was
effective, as it offered advantages for carrying on trade with the vast
western country for which the Potomac Company had been established.

The subject received the consideration of both the House and Senate in
September, 1789, but its final consideration was deferred until the
following year, in June, 1790. The southern Members, especially the
Representatives of Maryland and Virginia, were particularly active,
believing a decision on the Potomac River site was in their favor. In
December, 1789, Virginia had made a grant of $120,000, and a sum equal
to two-thirds of that amount had been voted by the Legislature of the
State of Maryland for the construction of buildings, in addition to
their willingness to cede the portion of the 10-mile square in their
respective States along the Potomac River desired for the Federal

The final disposition of this question was settled by compromise.

At the time Hamilton had the funding bill before Congress, and lacked
one vote in the Senate and five in the House to secure its passage, he
came to an agreement with Robert Morris, financier of the Revolution,
on the question of location of the seat of government. Also, Thomas
Jefferson tells us, in his “Anas,” of a dinner given by him at which
the residence question was discussed and an agreement reached whereby
the southern Members agreed to the funding bill in consideration of the
designation of Philadelphia as the seat of government for a 10-year
period and thereafter along the Potomac.



The House of Representatives had proposed a bill naming Baltimore as
the site, but the Senate struck out this provision, and on July 1,
1790, voted 14 to 12 for the Potomac River site between the mouth of
the Eastern Branch and the Connogochegue, a tributary of the Potomac,
20 miles south of the Pennsylvania State line. The bill which became a
law July 16, 1790, reads as follows:

  An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the
  Government of the United States

  SECTION 1. _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
  of the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That a
  district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square, to be located
  as hereafter directed on the river Potomac, at some place between
  the mouths of the Eastern Branch and Connogochegue, be, and the same
  is hereby, accepted for the permanent seat of the government of the
  United States. _Provided nevertheless_, That the operation of the
  laws of the state within such district shall not be affected by this
  acceptance, until the time fixed for the removal of the government
  thereto, and until Congress shall otherwise by law provide.

  SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That the President of the United
  States be authorized to appoint, and by supplying vacancies happening
  from refusals to act or other causes, to keep in appointment as long
  as may be necessary, three commissioners, who, or any two of whom,
  shall, under the direction of the President, survey, and by proper
  metes and bounds define and limit a district of territory, under the
  limitations above mentioned; and the district so defined, limited and
  located, shall be deemed the district accepted by this act, for the
  permanent seat of the government of the United States.

  SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That the said commissioners,
  or any two of them, shall have power to purchase or accept such
  quantity of land on the eastern side of the said river, within the
  said district, as the President shall deem proper for the use of the
  United States, and according to such plans as the President shall
  approve, the said commissioners, or any two of them, shall, prior to
  the first Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred,
  provide suitable buildings for the accommodation of Congress, and of
  the President, and for the public offices of the government of the
  United States.

  SEC. 4. _And be it further enacted_, That for defraying the expense
  of such purchases and buildings, the President of the United States
  be authorized and requested to accept grants of money.

  SEC. 5. _And be it further enacted_, That prior to the first Monday
  in December next, all offices attached to the seat of the government
  of the United States, shall be removed to, and until the said first
  Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, shall
  remain at the city of Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania, at
  which place the session of Congress next ensuing the present shall be

  SEC. 6. _And be it further enacted_, That on the said first Monday
  in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, the seat of
  the government of the United States, shall, by virtue of this act,
  be transferred to the district and place aforesaid. And all offices
  attached to the said seat of government, shall accordingly be removed
  thereto by their respective holders, and shall, after the said day,
  cease to be exercised elsewhere; and that the necessary expense of
  such removal shall be defrayed out of the duties on imposts and
  tonnage, of which a sufficient sum is hereby appropriated.

It is said that the loftiest minds of Congress were swayed by the
judgment of George Washington in this matter. They agreed with him
that America should establish the precedent of a nation locating and
founding a city for its permanent capital by legislative enactment.
Furthermore, they wished to honor that first President and great
general and counselor, who had made their independence possible,
by conferring upon him the power to select for this Federal City
the locality he had in prophetic vision chosen as a suitable site
for the capital of the Republic. By this act Congress expressed its
faith in President Washington by permitting him to establish the
capital anywhere along the Potomac between the Eastern Branch and the
Connogochegue, a distance of 80 miles. The boundaries of no other
city were ever fixed with more certainty. It is recorded that George
Washington was harassed by the importunities of anxious residents and
aggressive speculators, but that he never wavered in his purpose to
select for the site of the Federal City that which in former years he
had chosen for the Federal home upon the establishment of the Republic.

By proclamation of January 24, 1791, President Washington directed that
a preliminary survey be made, or, in the President’s words, “lines of
experiment” were to be run. This survey was substantially in accord
with the lines subsequently adopted, moving the southern boundary point
of the “ten miles square” farther south so as to include a convenient
part of the Eastern Branch and also the town of Alexandria.

The act of July 16, 1790, was thereupon amended accordingly by act
approved March 3, 1791, as follows:

  _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
  United States of America in Congress assembled_, That so much of the
  act, entitled “An act for establishing the temporary and permanent
  seat of the government of the United States,” as requires that the
  whole of the district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square,
  to be located on the river Potomac, for the permanent seat of the
  government of the United States, shall be located above the mouth of
  the Eastern Branch be and is hereby repealed, and that it shall be
  lawful for the President to make any part of the territory below the
  said limit, and above the mouth of Hunting Creek, a part of the said
  district, so as to include a convenient part of the Eastern Branch,
  and of the lands lying on the lower side thereof and also the town of
  Alexandria, and the territory so to be included, shall form a part
  of the district not exceeding ten miles square, for the permanent
  seat of the government of the United States, in like manner and to
  all intents and purposes, as if the same had been within the purview
  of the above recited act: _Provided_, That nothing herein contained,
  shall authorize the erection of public buildings otherwise than on
  the Maryland side of the river Potomac, as required by the aforesaid

Thus within a period of nine months the limits of the Federal territory
were established. The corner stone was set with appropriate ceremonies
at Jones Point, Alexandria, Va., April 15, 1791. Not a cent was
advanced by Congress for buildings or grounds. In fact, the Treasury
was empty, and without credit Congress was unable to give financial
assistance. Washington himself drew up the original agreement by
which the owners were to convey the land to the Government which the
Cincinnatus of the West bought from the landholders at £25 per acre.

Of George Washington, Daniel Webster said, at the ceremonies for
enlarging the Capitol to its present size, on July 4, 1851:

  He heads a short procession over naked fields, he crosses yonder
  stream on a fallen tree, he ascends to the top of this eminence,
  where original oaks of the forest stood as thick around as if the
  spot had been devoted to Druidical worship, and here he performed the
  appointed duty of the day.

In earlier years Washington had noted the beauty of the broad eminence
on which the Capitol was destined to be reared, and had marked the
breadth of the picture and the strong colors of the landscape with its
environing wall of wooded heights, which rolled back against the sky
as if to inclose a beautiful area fit for the supreme deliberation of
the governmental affairs of a great Republic in the New World, founded
on the truths “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed
by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These truths, as set
forth in the unanimous declaration of the thirteen original colonies of
the United States of America adopted July 4, 1776, formed the basis of
the Magna Charta of American liberty, known to us as the Declaration of


Somewhat more than a century and a half before (in 1608) Capt. John
Smith and his men sailed up the Patawomeck and visited the site of the
future Federal City. The famous adventurer only partially explored
the country, the principal item in the log book of his voyage being
that they found the river full of luscious fish and its shores lined
with ferocious savages. They met with opposition from Chief Powhatan
and were subject to continual attacks. Nevertheless the exploration
was continued up the Potomac as far as Little Falls, about 5 miles
above the city of Washington. At the time of this exploration there
were about 30 tribes, principal and subordinate, living along the
shores of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia. The chief of these
principal tribes were the Powhatans, the Manahoacs, and the Monacans.
The Powhatans lived along the shores of the Chesapeake as far north
as the Patuxent in Maryland, and the other two lived in the territory
contiguous to the York and Potomac Rivers. The Manahoacs and the
Monacans, who were continuously at war with the Powhatans in Virginia,
inhabited the present District of Columbia. The Manahoacs were almost
exterminated by war, pestilence, and spirituous liquors, and about
1712 migrated to the west, joining the Iroquois and the Tuscaroras.
Among the smaller tribes were the Nacotchants and the Toags, who were
friendly to Capt. John Smith. The Toags lived near Mount Vernon, as is
shown by the name Tauxement on Capt. John Smith’s map. The Moyaones
lived directly opposite Mount Vernon, in Maryland, at the mouth of the
Piscataway. The Nacotchants lived just below the Eastern Branch, within
the District of Columbia.

There is a tradition of the early settlers of Maryland that the
valley at the foot of Capitol Hill, drained by Tiber Creek, was a
popular fishing ground of the Indians, and that they gathered not far
from there, at Greenleaf’s Point, for their councils. The Indians of
Maryland and Virginia closely resembled each other. Those of Maryland
were descendants of the same race as the Powhatans and spoke dialects
of the great Algonquin language. Powhatan claimed jurisdiction over the
Patuxent, but it is doubtful whether he ever enforced the claim.

The Indians lived along the banks of the rivers in this part of the
country, and thus many Indian names, suggested by the suffixes “annock”
and “any,” have come down to us, as the Susquehanna, Rappahannock,
Allegheny, and Chickahominy. The name Chesapeake is said to have
come from the Algonquin language, and Potomac comes from the Indian
name Patawomeck. The Powhatans were won over to the English by the
marriage of Pocahontas to John Rolfe, but the marriage, though notable
in history, offered no advantages to the settlers. The original
inhabitants were finally driven out by the relentless Iroquois. Among
the early fighters against the Indians was Col. John Washington, who
came to America in 1657 and settled at Bridges Creek, Va., later called
Wakefield. He led 1,000 men against the Susquehannas. The Maryland
tribes were gradually consolidated with the Piscataways, and about
1700 they moved to a new settlement on the lower Susquehanna, near
Bainbridge, Pa. Here, in 1765, they numbered about 150 persons and were
under the jurisdiction of the Iroquois. Thereafter they moved to the
Ohio Valley and joined the Delawares.

To-day the name Anacostia, derived from the name of the small Indian
tribe of Nacotchants, reminds us of the occupation of the District
of Columbia by Indians. As has been said, they lived just below the
Eastern Branch, in a suburb of Washington known as Anacostia. The
great Anacostia Park, in the immediate vicinity, is named after
them. They were a tribe of peaceful Indians, about 80 in number, and
were kind and well disposed to Capt. John Smith and his explorers.
The name of Anacostia was also given to an island near the shores
of Virginia, at Georgetown. Later it took the name Analostian and
also Anacostian Island. When George Mason, prominent delegate to the
Virginia Legislature, purchased it in 1777, it came to be known as
Masons Island. Later it was called Analostan Island. Stone implements
and fragments of pottery and traces of Indian villages have been found
in these locations, which give evidence of habitations of the Indians
in the District of Columbia in those days. It was a region favored by
the Indians for its game of all kinds, as well as fish. The soil was
rich and fertile and crops were plentiful. Then, too, the climate was
agreeable; that is, it did not have the extreme cold of the North, nor
did the inhabitants suffer from the continued heat of a tropical sun.
The latitude of Washington is 38° 52′ 37″ N. and the longitude 76° 55′
30.54″ W.

Weather reports of a hundred years ago give 97° for the average of
maximum in summer and 24° above zero for the winter. This mild climate
has had its consequent effect on the flora of the District of Columbia.
A report of the Botanical Society of Washington, made in 1825, gives
us the names of 860 distinct species and varieties of plants in the
District of Columbia. To-day grow here the oak, walnut, hickory, elm,
maple, and other hardy trees; pine trees in all their varieties, and
magnolia, also the rhododendron, laurel, box bushes, privet hedges,
holly; and roses bloom in Washington almost the entire year. In spring
the beautiful Japanese cherry trees add charm to the city.

[Illustration: WASHINGTON, 1792]




The first mention of the upper Potomac and adjacent regions to
Indianhead, about 35 miles south of Washington, is made by Capt.
John Smith, who explored this region from the Jamestown settlement
in Virginia in 1608. In 1634 Henry Fleet, who was taken captive by
Indians, visited the falls of the Potomac. In 1635 a tract of land
(400 acres) called Rome was laid out for Francis Pope, gentleman. The
Capitol is said to be on this land. In 1790 the region in which the
city of Washington has been built was in the form of 17 large farm
tracts, as is shown on the following page. They were covered with woods
and streams; the arable portions were tilled and produced wheat, maize,
and tobacco. Two hamlets, Carrollsburg (where the War College now
stands), and Hamburg (about where the Naval Hospital is located), which
was then southeast of the thriving port of Georgetown, were within the
limits of the early survey.

On April 30, 1783, 19 days after the proclamation of peace between the
American Colonies and England, the subject of a permanent capital for
the General Government of the States was brought up in Congress. The
act of July 16, 1790, heretofore cited, provided for the selection of a
permanent site on the upper Potomac River for the National Capital--

  according to such plans as the President shall approve and prior to
  the first Monday in December, 1800, and suitable buildings for the
  accommodation of Congress, and of the President, and for the public
  offices of the Government of the United States.

On January 22, 1791, President Washington appointed three
commissioners--Daniel Carroll and Thomas Johnson, of Maryland, and
David Stuart, of Virginia.

By proclamation of January 24, 1791, President Washington directed that
the three commissioners appointed pursuant to the act approved July 16,
1790, “proceed forthwith to run the said lines of experiment and, the
same being run, to survey and by proper metes and bounds to define and
limit the part within the same,” which were substantially in accord
with the lines subsequently adopted, moving the southern boundary point
of the 10 miles square farther south, so as to include a convenient
part of the Eastern Branch and also the town of Alexandria.


When President Washington arrived in the future National Capital he
found the great task before him was to bring into harmony the rival
interests of the Eastern Branch, or Carrollsburg, and of Georgetown.
The property holders of Carrollsburg appeared to be anxious that the
new public buildings be located in their town. David Burnes, who owned
much of the land that now lies between the White House and the Capitol,
was keen to have, on condition that he give up part of his property,
the public buildings located there. Thus from the beginning of the
history of the city there has been rivalry between various sections of
the city while the Government was planning for its development.

The controversy between the landholders led Thomas Jefferson to make
a rough outline plan for a city one-fourth less in size than that
which George Washington had in mind, to be built in the vicinity of
Georgetown. This sketch showed the Capitol building at the site of the
town called Hamburg, about where the Naval Hospital is now located;
from there eastward public walks or a Mall was planned, with the
location of the President’s House at about the present Nineteenth
Street, south of Pennsylvania Avenue. Jefferson also proposed a
rectangular system of streets, in contrast with the open spaces and
radiating avenues planned by L’Enfant, who also reversed the position
of the Capitol by placing that to the east of the President’s House on
Jenkin’s Hill.


The terms of the sale of land to the Government were agreed to on March
30, 1791, under which the original owners agreed to convey to the
United States Government, free of cost, such portions of their farms
as were needed for streets, parks, and other public reservations; and
to sell such land as was needed for Government buildings and public
improvements at £25 per acre (about $67). The remaining land was to be
laid out in building lots and apportioned equally between the Federal
Government and the original owners. Rufus R. Wilson, in Washington, the
Capital City, says:

  In this way, without advancing a dollar and at a total cost of
  $36,000, the Government acquired a tract of 600 acres in the heart of
  the city. The 10,136 building lots assigned to it ultimately proved
  to be worth $850,000, and now represent a value of $70,000,000.
  Shrewd financier as he was, it is doubtful if Washington ever made
  another so good a bargain as that with Burnes and his neighbors.

The following is a copy of the agreement:


  We, the subscribers, in consideration of the great benefits we
  expect to derive from having the Federal City laid off upon our
  Lands, do hereby agree and bind ourselves, heirs, executors, and
  administrators, to convey, in Trust, to the President of the United
  States, or Commissioners, or such person or persons as he shall
  appoint, by good and sufficient deeds, in Fee simple, the whole of
  our respective Lands which he may think proper to include within the
  lines of the Federal City, for the purposes and on the conditions

  The President shall have the sole power of directing the Federal City
  to be laid off in what manner he pleases. He may retain any number
  of Squares he may think proper for public Improvements, or other
  public Uses, and the lots only which shall be laid off shall be a
  joint property between the Trustees on behalf of the public, and each
  present proprietor, and the same shall be fairly and equally divided
  between the public and the Individuals, as soon as may be, after the
  City shall be laid off.

  For the streets the proprietors shall receive no compensation; but
  for the squares or Lands in any form, which shall be taken for
  public buildings, or any kind of public improvements, or uses, the
  proprietors, whose lands shall be so taken, shall receive at the rate
  of twenty-five pounds per acre, to be paid by the public.

  The whole wood on the Lands shall be the property of the proprietors.

  But should any be desired by the president to be reserved or left
  standing, the same shall be paid for by the public at a just and
  reasonable valuation, exclusive of the twenty-five pounds per acre to
  be paid for the land, on which the same shall remain.

  Each proprietor shall retain the full possession and use of his
  land, until the same shall be sold and occupied by the purchasers
  of the Lots laid out thereupon, and in all cases where the public
  arrangements as to streets, lotts, &c., will admit of it, each
  proprietor shall possess his buildings and other improvements, and
  graveyards, paying to the public only one-half the present estimated
  value of the Lands, on which the same shall be, or twelve pounds
  ten shillings per acre. But in cases where the arrangements of the
  streets, lotts, squares, &c., will not admit of this, and it shall
  become necessary to remove such buildings, Improvements, &c., the
  proprietors of the same shall be paid the reasonable value thereof,
  by the public.

  Nothing herein contained shall affect the Lotts which any of the
  parties to this Agreement may hold in the Towns of Carrollsburgh or

  In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and Seals, this
  thirtieth day of March, 1791.

  Signed & sealed in presence of us--Mr.    {ROBERT PETER         (Seal)
  THOS. BEALL, making an exception of the   {DAVID BURNES         (Seal)
  Lands he sold Abraham Young not yet       {JAS. M. LINGAN       (Seal)
  conveyed.                                 {URIAH FORREST        (Seal)

  Witness to all the subscribers including  {BENJ. STODDERT       (Seal)
  WILLIAM YOUNG                             {NOTLEY YOUNG         (Seal)

  WILLIAM BAYLY                             {DAN. CARROLL of Dn.  (Seal)
  WILLIAM ROBERTSON                         {OVERTON CARR         (Seal)
  JOHN SUTER                                {THOS. BEALL of Geo.  (Seal)

  SAMUEL DAVIDSON witness to ABRAHAM        {CHARLES BEATTY       (Seal)
  YOUNG’s signing                           {ANTHONY HOLMEAD      (Seal)

  BENJ. STODDERT witness to EDWARD PEIRCE’s {WM. YOUNG            (Seal)
  signing.                                  {EDWARD PEIRCE        (Seal)

  JOSEPH E. ROWLES for JNO. WARING.          ABRAHAM YOUNG        (Seal)

  WM. DEAKINS Junr. for WM. PROUT & WILLIAM {JAMES PEIRCE         (Seal)
  KING as attorney in fact.                 {WILLIAM PROUT        (Seal)

                                             ROBERT PETER, as
                                             attorney in fact for
                                             ELIPHAS DOUGLASS.    (Seal)
                                             BENJ. STODDERT for
                                             JNO. WARING by
                                             written authority
                                             from Mr. Waring.     (Seal)
                                             WILLIAM KING         (Seal)



The land which was being considered for the city proper consisted of
about 6,000 acres. In laying out the streets 3,606 acres were taken,
and about 540 acres were bought by the United States as sites for the
public buildings and grounds. The lots laid out numbered 20,272. Of
these the United States took half and the property owners were given
back the remainder. The United States sold its share of the lots and
from the proceeds paid for the 540 acres on which it was to put the
public buildings.

The United States also took a fee-simple title to the streets and


A survey of an outline of the District of Columbia was made by Andrew
Ellicott. From the initial point at Jones Point, on Hunting Creek, at
the Potomac (just south of Alexandria), a line was run due northwest
10 miles; thence (into Maryland) due northeast 10 miles to a northern
boundary point (now called Sixteenth Street Heights); thence due
southeast 10 miles; thence due southwest 10 miles, or back to Jones


This survey was approved by Congress with the amendment that all public
buildings should be erected on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.

On March 29, 1791, President Washington arrived on a visit to the
Potomac and stayed at Suter’s Tavern in Georgetown. The next day,
accompanied by the three commissioners and Maj. Pierre Charles
L’Enfant and Andrew Ellicott, he rode over the ground. Washington met
the owners of the land the same night, and the general terms were then
agreed upon and signed by the 19 “original proprietors.” The area of
100 square miles embraced about 64 square miles of Maryland soil (ceded
previously in 1788) and about 36 square miles of Virginia soil (ceded
in 1789).

Thereupon the three city commissioners were ordered to have the
boundary lines permanently marked by monuments placed 1 mile apart.
One of these boundary stones can be seen to-day near the north corner
of the District of Columbia. Each stone was quite large, and this
particular one is well preserved.


When the city of Washington was planned under the direct and minute
supervision of President Washington and Secretary of State Jefferson,
the relations that should exist between the Capitol and the President’s
House were closely studied. On August 7, 1791, L’Enfant sent a sketch
to President Washington, with a note, “the plan altered agreeable to
your suggestion.” Indeed, the whole city was planned with a view to the
reciprocal relations that should be maintained among public buildings.
Vistas and axes; sites for monuments and museums; parks and pleasure
gardens; fountains and canals--in a word, all that goes to make a city
a magnificent and consistent work of art were regarded as essential.
Thus, aside from the pleasure and the positive benefits to health that
the people derive from public parks in a capital city like Washington,
there is a distinct use of public spaces as the indispensable means
of giving dignity to Government buildings and of making suitable
connections between the great departments.

The original plans were prepared after due study of great models. The
stately art of landscape architecture had been brought oversea by royal
governors and wealthy planters, and both Washington and Jefferson were
familiar with the practice of that art.

On September 8, 1791, it was decided by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of
State, and James Madison, in conference with the Commissioners of the
District of Columbia--

  to name the streets of the Federal City alphabetically one way and
  numerically the other from the Capitol and that the name of the City
  and Territory shall be the City of Washington and the Territory of

The city had also been divided into four sections--namely, northeast,
northwest, southeast, southwest--with the Capitol as the center and
North and South Capitol Streets dividing the east and west sections and
East Capitol Street and the Mall the north and south sections.





Maj. Pierre Charles L’Enfant was born in Paris August 2, 1754, the son
of an academician, who was “Painter in ordinary to the King in his
Manufacture of the Gobelins,” with a turn for landscape and especially
for battles, as is shown by the collections at Versailles and Tours.
Trained as a French military engineer, young L’Enfant at the age of 23
obtained a commission as a volunteer lieutenant in the French colonial
troops, serving at his own expense.


L’Enfant preceded Lafayette to America by a month. Arriving in 1777,
he entered the Continental Army at his own expense. In February 1778
he was made a captain of engineers and as such proved his valor in
battles about Charleston, where he was wounded and was included in the
capitulation and exchanged. He was made a major in 1783.

He was “artist extraordinary” to the Army, drawing likenesses
(including one of Washington at Valley Forge), decorating ballrooms,
and building banquet halls. Then by turn he became a drillmaster, like
Von Steuben. When peace was declared he made a brief visit to France
to see his father and, incidentally, to establish the Society of
the Cincinnati in France and procure the gold eagles he had designed
as insignia of the organization. Then he returned to remodel the New
York City Hall for the reception of the first Congress of the United
States, a building of such beauty never before having been seen by the
assembled representatives of the people. L’Enfant was an artist, and
this Washington knew when he selected him to design the Federal City.
He was imbued with the artistic development of Paris, with its fine
central composition from the Tuileries to the Arch of Triumph, the
beauty of the Champs Elysees, the Place de la Concorde and adjacent
great buildings as the Louvre; and with Versailles, built by Louis XIV,
with its fountains, terraces, gardens, and parks, which still thrill
thousands of visitors each year. He understood the art of city planning.

L’Enfant was long maturing in his mind the plan he so quickly put on
paper. In September, 1789, while yet the idea of creating a capital
city was still in the air, he wrote to President Washington asking to
be employed to design “the Capital of this vast Empire.” The nations of
Europe wondered at the probable future of the new Republic. Visualizing
the future, L’Enfant wrote:

  No nation ever before had the opportunity offered them of
  deliberately deciding upon the spot where their capital city should
  be fixed, or of considering every necessary consideration in the
  choice of situation; and although the means now within the power of
  the country are not such as to pursue the design to any great extent,
  it will be obvious that the plan should be drawn on such a scale as
  to leave room for that aggrandizement and embellishment which the
  increase of the wealth of the Nation will permit it to pursue to any
  period, however remote.

Major L’Enfant, a man of position and education and an engineer of
ability, was also familiar with those great works of the master Le
Nôtre, which are still the admiration of the traveler and the constant
pleasure of the French people. Moreover, from his well-stocked library
Jefferson sent to L’Enfant plans “on a large and accurate scale” of
Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfort, Carlsruhe, Strasburg, Orleans, Turin,
Milan, and other European cities, at the same time felicitating himself
that the President had “left the planning of the town in such good

Thereupon the name of L’Enfant became, and has since remained,
inseparably associated with the plan and development of the Nation’s
Capital. He was gifted but eccentric, a characteristic that got him
into many and serious difficulties.

President Washington had high regard for him and wrote of him as

  Since my first knowledge of the gentleman’s abilities in the line of
  his profession, I have viewed him not only as a scientific man, but
  one who added considerable taste to professional knowledge, and that,
  for such employment as he is now engaged in--for projecting public
  works and carrying them into effect--he was better qualified than
  anyone who had come within my knowledge in this country, or indeed in
  any other, the probability of obtaining whom could be counted upon.
  I had no doubt at the same time that this was the light in which he
  considered himself; and of course he would be tenacious of his plans
  as to conceive they would be marred if they underwent any change or
  alteration. * * * Should his services be lost, I know not how to
  replace them.



The L’Enfant plan, as before stated, was prepared for the Federal
City under the direction of President Washington and Thomas Jefferson
in 1791 by Maj. Pierre Charles L’Enfant, and applied to the 10 miles
square set apart as Federal territory and called the District of
Columbia. This was the first and most comprehensive plan ever designed
for any city. It was a masterpiece of civic design. As originally drawn
it extended only to Florida Avenue NW. and was designed for a city of
800,000, the size of Paris at the time. It was submitted to Congress by
President Washington on December 13, 1791.

The original plan shows explanatory notes and references by Major
L’Enfant, among which he calls attention to the position of the
main buildings and squares, the leading avenues, and the plan of
intersection of the streets and their width. The avenues were to be 160
feet in width. No city designed merely for commercial purposes would
have avenues of such width; hence the whole plan indicates that it was
especially designed for the seat of government of the Nation.

There are two great focal points in the L’Enfant plan--the Capitol and
the White House--each with its intersecting avenues, that add beauty
and charm to the city and at the same time make distant parts of the
city easy of access.

The methods and features of L’Enfant’s plan, which included the reports
and correspondence between L’Enfant and President Washington, in
1930 were given intensive study by William T. Partridge, consulting
architect of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Mr.
Partridge’s findings and his review of the features of the plan, which
are still possible of attainment, constitute a notable contribution to
the research in this field, and we quote at length:

  A study of L’Enfant’s plan, as well as a careful reading of his
  descriptions, shows the effort made to model his design to the
  existing topography. No mention can be found of Versailles or London
  as an inspiration. He reiterates again and again in his letters
  that this plan of his was “original” and “unique.” In a letter to
  Jefferson requesting some Old World city maps he deprecates any
  copying and asks for this information only as a means for comparison
  or to aid in refining and strengthening his judgment.

  In order to investigate how far the existing conditions of the
  site for the Federal City dictated the plan of present Washington,
  a topographical map of the terrain, as existing at that period,
  has been carefully prepared from old maps and descriptions and an
  attempt made with an open mind to follow L’Enfant’s procedure. Much
  was assumed, only to be corroborated by later study of the original
  manuscripts and reports. All printed transcriptions of L’Enfant’s
  reports have been altered by their editors in the effort to interpret
  L’Enfant’s strange English, a fact leading to misinterpretation on
  the part of trained architectural commentators dependent solely on
  these printed transcriptions.

[Illustration: THE L’ENFANT PLAN]


  At the convention of the American Institute of Architects held in
  Washington in 1929, the history and development of the National
  Capital was the principal topic of discussion. The merits of the
  plan of L’Enfant were duly acknowledged by all, though emphasis
  was laid upon the progress of those modern projects sponsored and
  carried through largely by the efforts of the institute or its
  individual members. The work of the McMillan Commission and the
  admirable recommendations of that trained and experienced body, that
  the “central area” be restored with some resemblance to L’Enfant’s
  original plan were generally acknowledged. There was no comparison,
  however, attempted between the proposed plan of L’Enfant and the
  much-altered modern plan, nor was there discussion in detail of the
  “public walk” of the original design. The real merit of the original
  L’Enfant plan was sensed only by one speaker at the convention
  mentioned, Mr. Medary, when he spoke of the early structures
  maintaining their places as dominating elements in the original
  design and confirmed the judgment of L’Enfant “in fitting the plan of
  the proposed city to the topography of the site.”

  There has come down to us only a single manuscript plan which
  students have accepted as the original design and on which they have
  based all their comments. This drawing depicts only an intermediate
  stage of the plan. The first plan was much altered by L’Enfant
  himself at the request of President Washington, but by a careful
  study of internal evidence of the later drawing the designer’s
  masterly original may be restored. Existing documents tell us that
  not only were considerable changes made in the plan by order of
  President Washington, but alterations in the layout were also made
  by L’Enfant’s successors, all of which disturbed considerably its
  skillful symmetrical fitting to the irregular topography. If this
  submitted restoration proves correct, there is no ground left for
  further accusation of his indebtedness to both Versailles and the
  London plan for minor details. It is the writer’s conclusion that
  L’Enfant did exactly what he claimed--devised an original plan,
  entirely unique. He arrived at his parti only after a careful study
  on the spot of the best sites for the principal buildings, allocated
  in the order of their importance, and located with consideration of
  both prominence and outlook. He tied these sites together by means of
  a rectangular system of streets and again connected them by means of
  diagonal avenues. The principal avenues followed closely the existing
  roads. Additional avenues were extended to the “outroads” or city
  entrances and were laid out primarily for the purpose of shortening
  communication--an engineering consideration. L’Enfant mentions that
  the diagonal avenues would afford a “reciprocity of sight” and “a
  variety of pleasant ride and being combined to insure a rapide
  Intercourse with all the part of the City to which they will serve
  as does the main vains in the animal body to diffuse life through
  smaller vessels in quickening the active motion to the heart.”

  The similarity of the angles of the two principal avenues
  (Pennsylvania east, from Eastern Branch Ferry to the Capitol, and
  Maryland east, from the Bladensburg Road entrance to the Capitol)
  which followed closely for some distance the existing roads,
  doubtless suggested the radial pair-avenue idea. This was entirely
  accidental and the outgrowth of existing conditions. The system of a
  rectangular-street plan with radial avenues is not only borne out by
  the mention he makes himself in his descriptions but was followed by
  Ellicott in his redrafting of the plan for the engraver.

  Our artistic, hasty-tempered genius refused to give Ellicott any
  documents or any information. Ellicott states in his letters on the
  subject that, although he was refused the original plan, he was
  familiar with L’Enfant’s system and had many notes of the surveys he
  had made of the site himself, so it is possible that the plan was
  recreated by Ellicott.

  Space and time do not permit an excursion into the squabble over
  this engraved plan. Changes were made in reduction to the proper
  size of the plate. These changes led to violent protests on the
  part of L’Enfant, although in later years his memorial states that
  the changes were not so very damaging. To an architectural mind the
  alterations in question destroyed the unity and symmetry of the
  whole, and L’Enfant’s later softened protest can be explained by his
  desire for payment by Congress. He could not afford at that time to
  imperil his chances.

  In the attempt to find the method by means of which L’Enfant arrived
  at the system underlying his plan for the city, we are handicapped
  at the very start by lack of sufficient data for identification
  of the various plans mentioned in the old records. There was made
  in Washington, as the work progressed, a large map with numbered
  squares. Many references are made to this “large plan” in the old
  correspondence, but it must not be confused with the layout of the
  original design under discussion. A letter from the commissioners
  states it was in L’Enfant’s hands some time after his dismissal.

  As far as we now know, there is but one original drawing in
  existence, which, after 100 years of neglect and careless handling,
  is now sacredly preserved in the Library of Congress. The
  elaborateness and care shown in the carefully lettered notes and
  profuse marginal references marks this a presentation copy. This
  plan included “the alterations ordered by Washington and sent to
  Philadelphia on August 19, 1791, for transmission to Congress.”


The executed plan of the Federal City as redrawn by Andrew Ellicott
departs but little from the modified L’Enfant plan. The changes
are perhaps an improvement on the layout as modified by President

Discussion recently has arisen in reference to the credit Ellicott
should be given for the executed plan of Washington. In 1802 a
congressional committee found--

  that the plan of the city was originally designed by Major L’Enfant,
  but that in many respects it was rejected by the President, and a
  plan drawn up by Mr. Ellicott, purporting to have been made from
  actual survey, was engraved and published by order of General
  Washington in the year 1792.

The chief alteration shown in Ellicott’s engraved plan is the
straightening of what is now Massachusetts Avenue. The suppression of
the eastern portion leading to the upper bridgehead made it end at what
is now known as Lincoln Square, the drawbridge over Eastern Branch
being reached by what is now Kentucky Avenue.

By moving the marine hospital site north some distance and ignoring
the Rock Creek Ford at the other end, Ellicott was enabled to run
Massachusetts Avenue in nearly a direct line; the western end reached
the road to Frederick, as it did in L’Enfant’s plan.

The settlement of this section of the city was at that date
problematical, and no serious attention was given to the change in
plan. The area was marshy and was a popular place for hunting snipe.
This fact explains the meandering of Florida Avenue to the northwestern
boundary line of the old city.

[Illustration: THE ELLICOTT PLAN]


In an overlay of the two plans of L’Enfant and Ellicott, prepared with
great accuracy by the hydrographic section of the Navy, only the main
east-west and north-south axes of the Capitol and White House coincide.
An examination of this drawing shows that the art of surveying had not
at that period reached present-day accuracy.


Several suppressed sections of the L’Enfant plan were restored in
the engraved plan. Maryland Avenue was carried through to the “Grand
Avenue,” and South Carolina Avenue extended to New Jersey Avenue and
the “Town House” site.

The plan of James R. Dermott, the officially approved plan, had many
more city squares, and consequently more lots for sale. It is known
as the Tin Case Map, because about 50 years later it was thus found
preserved. The cry of grasping owners and voracious speculators was for
more lots; and L’Enfant’s letter of warning to President Washington
dated August 19, 1791, against this evil proved more than justified.
This city plan also indicated the names of the avenues.

What is known as the King Map was made by Robert King, a surveyor
in the office of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, and
published in 1818.

[Illustration: THE KING MAP]

The map is of interest in that we note in it the word _Judiciary_ in
what is known as Judiciary Square. We learn from L’Enfant’s Memorial
addressed to Congress on December 7, 1800, that L’Enfant intended the
third coordinate branch of the Government, the Judiciary, be located
there. To-day the Square is largely occupied by court buildings.




While Major L’Enfant drew the plan of the Federal City, it was Andrew
Ellicott who afterward carried it out. The building of the city
attracted many speculators, who invested heavily. Robert Morris, James
Greenleaf, Thomas Law, John Nicholson, and Samuel Blodgett were among
those who lost thereby.

When Washington became the seat of government in 1800 there were 109
brick and 263 frame houses, sheltering a total population of about
3,000. The early years of the city’s development were difficult and
too much praise cannot be given the men who carried the burden. The
departments of the government that existed then were State, Treasury,
War, Navy, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Postal Service.
They employed a total of 137 clerks.

We have brief accounts of the appearance of Washington written by
travelers who visited the United States during the period from
1790 to 1800. There is an interesting description by Duc de La
Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, who wrote an account of his “Voyage dans
les États-Unis d’Amerique fait en 1795-97.” The accounts of several
inhabitants in Washington of the period is well summed up by Albert J.
Beveridge in his Life of John Marshall (vol. III, pp. 1-4):

  A strange sight met the eye of the traveler who, aboard one of the
  little river sailboats of the time, reached the stretches of the
  sleepy Potomac separating Alexandria and Georgetown. A wide swamp
  extended inland from a modest hill on the east to a still lower
  elevation of land about a mile to the west. Between the river and
  morass a long flat tract bore clumps of great trees, mostly tulip
  poplars, giving, when seen from a distance, the appearance of a fine

  Upon the hill stood a partly constructed white stone building,
  mammoth in plan. The slight elevation north of the wide slough was
  the site of an apparently finished edifice of the same material,
  noble in its dimensions and with beautiful, simple lines, but
  “surrounded with a rough rail fence 5 or 6 feet high unfit for a
  decent barnyard.” From the river nothing could be seen beyond the
  groves near the banks of the stream except the two great buildings
  and the splendid trees which thickened into a seemingly dense forest
  upon the higher ground to the northward.

  On landing and making one’s way through the underbrush to the foot of
  the eastern hill, and up the gullies that seamed its sides thick with
  trees and tangled wild grapevines, one finally reached the immense
  unfinished structure that attracted attention from the river. Upon
  its walls laborers were languidly at work.

  Clustered around it were fifteen or sixteen wooden houses. Seven or
  eight of these were boarding-houses, each having as many as ten or a
  dozen rooms all told. The others were little affairs of rough lumber,
  some of them hardly better than shanties. One was a tailor shop; in
  another a shoemaker plied his trade; a third contained a printer with
  his hand press and types, while a washerwoman occupied another; and
  in the others were a grocery shop, a pamphlets-and-stationery shop, a
  little dry-goods shop, and an oyster shop. No other human habitation
  of any kind appeared for three-quarters of a mile.

[Illustration: THE SIX BUILDINGS

_Courtesy of National Photo Co._]

  A broad and perfectly straight clearing had been made across the
  swamp between the eastern hill and the big white house more than a
  mile away to the westward. In the middle of this long opening ran
  a roadway, full of stumps, broken by deep mud holes in the rainy
  season, and almost equally deep with dust when the days were dry. On
  either border was a path or “walk” made firm at places by pieces of
  stone; though even this “extended but a little way.” Alder bushes
  grew in the unused spaces of this thoroughfare [the present notable
  Pennsylvania Avenue], and in the depressions stagnant water stood in
  malarial pools, breeding myriads of mosquitoes. A sluggish stream
  meandered across this avenue and broadened into the marsh.

  A few small houses, some of brick and some of wood, stood on the edge
  of this long, broad street. Near the large stone building at its
  western end were four or five structures of red brick looking much
  like ungainly warehouses. Farther westward on the Potomac hills was
  a small but pretentious town with its many capacious brick and stone
  residences, some of them excellent in their architecture and erected
  solidly by skilled workmen.

  Other openings in the forest had been cut at various places in the
  wide area east of the main highway that connected the two principal
  structures already described. Along these forest avenues were
  scattered houses of various materials * * *. Such was the City of
  Washington, with Georgetown nearby, when Thomas Jefferson became
  President and John Marshall Chief Justice of the United States--the
  Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue, the “Executive Mansion” or “President’s
  Palace,” the department buildings near it, the residences, shops,
  hostelries, and streets.

The south lines of the 10-mile square--the Federal district in which
the new Capital lay--were to run from the intersection of the Potomac
River and the Eastern Branch, but, as has been related, by the act
of March 3, 1791, these boundary lines were moved south to include
Alexandria and part of Virginia within the Federal territory. The
land lying within the bounds of the proposed city was given by the
proprietors to trustees appointed by the Government under an agreement
by which the Nation received the land necessary for streets without
charge, purchasing the areas for parks and building sites at the rate
of £25 per acre. The remaining land was divided equally with the
original proprietors. The first settlements were made on grants given
chiefly to retired naval officers who named their holdings after their
camps--Mexico, Jamaica, and Port Royal. There were two settlements on
the site--Carrollsburg, named after its founder, and Hamburg, an early
real-estate development near and south of Georgetown. A stream of
considerable size known originally as Goose Creek ran through the city.
It later became known as Tiber Creek, because a resident named Pope,
whose estate he facetiously called Rome, contended that if there was a
Pope in Rome, his residence should be situated on the Tiber.

As is noticed by reference to the plans, a canal extended from the
point about where the Lincoln Memorial is located, along B Street, now
Constitution Avenue, east to the Capitol; thence along James Creek,
known to-day as Canal Street. In those days Pennsylvania Avenue was a
dusty road, lined with poplar trees, and often so flooded that it was
not an uncommon sight to see boats floating on it. For a long time an
isolated group of buildings known as the Six Buildings at Twenty-first
Street and Pennsylvania Avenue stood halfway between the Capitol and


[Illustration: THE ELLICOTT MAP]

Washington as the infant city appeared in 1800 is best described by
John Cotton Smith, Member of Congress from Connecticut, in a letter
written by him at the time, as follows:

  Our approach to the city was accompanied with sensations not easily
  described. One wing of the Capitol only had been erected, which with
  the President’s House, 1 mile distant from it, both constructed with
  white sandstone, were shining objects in dismal contrast with the
  scene around them. Instead of recognizing the avenues and streets,
  portrayed on the plan of the city, not one was visible, unless we
  except a road, with two buildings on each side of it, called the New
  Jersey Avenue. The Pennsylvania Avenue, leading, as laid down on
  paper, from the Capitol to the Presidential Mansion, was nearly the
  whole distance a deep morass covered with alder bushes, which were
  cut through to the President’s House; and near Georgetown a block of
  houses had been erected which bore the name of the “six buildings”
  * * *. The desolate aspect of the place was not a little augmented by
  a number of unfinished edifices at Greenleaf’s Point.

  There appeared to be but two really comfortable habitations, in all
  respects, within the bounds of the city, one of which belonged to
  Dudley Carroll and the other to Notley Young. The roads in every
  direction were muddy and unimproved. A sidewalk was attempted, in one
  instance, by a covering formed of the chips hewed for the Capitol. It
  extended but a little way and was of little value; for in dry weather
  the sharp fragments cut our shoes, and in wet weather covered them
  with white mortar. In short, it was a new settlement.

Newspapers in New York, Philadelphia, and New England and satirists
everywhere cracked many amusing jokes at the expense of the embryonic
city. The Capitol was called “the palace in the wilderness” and
Pennsylvania Avenue “the great Serbonian Bog.” Georgetown was declared
“a city of houses without streets” and Washington “a city of streets
without houses.”

The Abbe Correa de Serra, the witty minister from Portugal, bestowed
upon Washington the famous title of “the city of magnificent
distances,” referring to the great spaces between the scattered houses;
while Thomas Moore, just then coming into prominence as a poet, visited
the city in 1804, and contributed to the general fund of humor by the
composition of this satire:

    In fancy now beneath the twilight gloom,
    Come, let me lead thee o’er this second Rome,
    Where tribunes rule, where dusky Davi bow,
    And what was Goose Creek once is Tiber now.

    This fam’d metropolis, where fancy sees
    Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees;
    Which second sighted seers e’en now adorn
    With shrines unbuilt and heroes yet unborn.

During the administrations of Adams and Jefferson the city improved
considerably. Jefferson secured money from Congress for public
buildings. In 1803 he appointed Benjamin Latrobe as the Architect of
the Capitol, and by him the construction of the Capitol was carried on
so energetically that he gave form to the old portion of the Capitol
that Thornton had simply planned.

Thomas Jefferson also secured money from Congress for the improvement
of Pennsylvania Avenue, which was then a dusty highway in the summer
and swampy place in winter; planted poplar trees and did what he could
to redeem that thoroughfare from its lamentable condition. He applied
his artistic taste and skill to the work of beautifying the city.


WASHINGTON, 1810-1815

An interesting account of Washington during this period is given
by David Baillie Warden in his book entitled “A Description of the
District of Columbia,” published in Paris in 1816, and dedicated to
Mrs. George Washington Parke Custis. He states:

  It is scarcely possible to imagine a situation more beautiful,
  healthy and convenient than of Washington. The gentle undulated
  surface throws the water into such various directions, as affords
  the most agreeable assemblage. The rising hills, on each side of the
  Potomac, are truly picturesque; and as the river admits the largest
  frigates, their sails, gliding through the majestic trees which adorn
  its banks, complete the scenery.

  The city extends from northwest to southeast about four miles and a
  half, and from northeast to southwest about two miles and a half. The
  public buildings occupy the most elevated and convenient situations,
  to which the waters of the Tiber Creek may be easily conducted, as
  well as to every other part of the city, not already watered by

  The streets run from north to south, and from east to west, crossing
  each other at right angles, with the exception of fifteen, that point
  to the State of which each bears the name. The capitol commands the
  streets called the Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania avenues;
  the President’s House, those of Vermont, New York, and Connecticut;
  and all these different intersections form eleven hundred and fifty
  squares. The Pennsylvania Street, or avenue, which stretches in a
  direct line from the President’s house to the capitol, is a mile
  in length, and a hundred and sixty feet in breadth. That of the
  narrowest streets is from ninety to a hundred feet, which will give
  a fine appearance to the city; but in a region where the summer sun
  is so intensely hot, and the winter winds so severely cold, narrow
  streets, affording shade and shelter, would be of great utility.

  The plan of the city of which we have prefixed an engraving (There is
  a plan by Major L’Enfant, engraved at the expence of the Government,
  on the scale of a hundred poles to an inch), is universally admired.
  The most eligible places have been selected for public squares and
  public buildings. The capitol is situated on a rising ground, which
  is elevated about eighty feet above the tide-water of the Potomac.
  This edifice will present a front of six hundred and fifty feet, with
  a colonade of two hundred and sixty feet, and sixteen Corinthian
  columns thirty-one feet and a half in height. The elevation of the
  dome is a hundred and fifty feet * * *.

  The President’s house consists of two stories, and is a hundred and
  seventy feet in length, and eighty-five feet in breadth. It resembles
  Leinster-House in Dublin. * * * The view from the windows fronting
  the river is extremely beautiful.

  The Public Offices, the Treasury, Department of State, and of War,
  are situated in a line with, and at the distance of four hundred
  and fifty feet from the President’s House. These buildings, of two
  stories, have a hundred and twenty feet in front, sixty in breadth,
  and sixteen feet in height, and are ornamented with a white stone
  basement, which rises six or seven feet above the surface. It was
  originally proposed to form a communication between these offices and
  the house of the president, a plan which was afterwards abandoned.

  The Jail consists of two stories, and is a hundred by twenty-one feet.

  The Infirmary is a neat building.

  There are three commodious Market-places built at the expence of the

  The public buildings at the Navy Yard are the barracks, a work-shop,
  and three large brick buildings for the reception of naval stores.
  The Barracks, constructed of brick, are six hundred feet in
  length, fifty in breadth, and twenty in height. At the head of the
  Barrack-yard is the Colonel’s house, which is neat and commodious.
  The Workshop, planned by Latrobe, is nine hundred feet in length.

  The Patent Office, constructed according to the plan of J. Hoban,
  esquire (who gained the prize for that of the President’s house)
  consists of three stories, and is a hundred and twenty feet long,
  and sixty feet wide. It is ornamented with a pediment, and six Ionic
  pilasters. From the eminence (This eminence has the shape of a
  tortoise-shell) on which it stands, the richly-wooded hills rise on
  every side, and form a scenery of unequaled beauty. It was erected by
  Mr. Blodgett to serve as a public hotel * * *. In 1810 this edifice
  was purchased by the government.--Dr. Thornton, director.

  In the summer of 1814 this metropolis was taken possession of by
  an English naval and land force, which set fire to the Capitol,
  President’s house, Public Offices, and Navy Yard. The loss sustained
  was $1,215,111.

  Two of the luxuries of life, pine-apples and ice, are found at
  Washington at a cheap rate. The former, imported from the West
  Indies, are sold at twenty-five cents each. The latter article is
  purchased, throughout the summer, at half a dollar per bushel. * * *

  It is deeply to be regretted, that the government or corporation did
  not employ some means for the preservation of the trees which grew
  on places destined for the public walks. How agreeable would have
  been their shade along the Pennsylvania Avenue where the dust so
  often annoys, and the summer sun, reflected from the sandy soil, is
  so oppressive. The Lombardy poplar, which now supplies their place,
  serves more for ornament than shelter.

  Water may be distributed to any part of Washington from several fine
  springs, and also from the Tiber Creek, the source of which is 236
  feet above the level of the tide in the same stream. * * *

  The canal, which runs through the centre of the city, commencing at
  the mouth of Tiber Creek, and connecting the Potomac with its eastern
  branch, is nearly completed. Mr. Law (Brother to Lord Ellenborough)
  the chief promoter of this undertaking, proposes to establish
  packet-boats to run between the Tiber Creek and the Navy-Yard--a
  conveyance which may be rendered more economical and comfortable than
  the hackney-coach. This canal is to be navigable for boats drawing
  three feet of water.

  The population of the territory of Columbia, in 1810, amounted
  to 24,023. That of the city was 8,208; of Georgetown, 4,948; of
  Alexandria, 7,227.

On August 24, 1814, the British arrived in Washington at about 6
o’clock in the evening. That night they burned the Capitol, the
President’s House, the Treasury, State and Navy Department Buildings,
and a number of private houses on Capitol Hill. The flames could
be seen from the Francis Scott Key mansion at Georgetown. Several
wagonloads of valuable documents had been taken a few days previously
from the State Department to Leesburg, Va., 35 miles northwest of
Washington, to a place of safety.

The British also intended to burn the Patent Office, but Commissioner
Thornton met them boldly, saying: “Are you Englishmen or Goths and
vandals? This is the Patent Office, the depository of the ingenuity of
the American Nation, in which the whole civilized world is interested.
Would you destroy it? If so, fire away and let the charge pass through
my body.” The British allowed it to remain and withdrew.

Mrs. Dolly Madison, having secured such property from the White House
as could be carried, including the Gilbert Stuart portrait of General
Washington, which she cut from the frame, went through Georgetown and
that night slept in a camp of soldiers with a guard about her tent.
Later the President, who had taken refuge in a tavern near McLean,
in Virginia, joined Mrs. Madison. The southwest end of the bridge
over which they had crossed the Potomac--it was then a pile bridge 1
mile long--was burned, and they were thereupon required to make their
return to Washington by boat. The residence of the President was then
established at the Octagon House at Eighteenth Street and New York
Avenue. In 1815 the residence of the President was removed to the
“Seven Buildings,” at the northwest corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and
Nineteenth Street, one of the early homes of the Department of State.
Here it remained until the Executive Mansion was restored, March, 1817.

After the withdrawal of the British the Blodgett Hotel building,
acquired for the use of the Patent Office, was for a time occupied by
Congress for its sessions. Later Congress moved into a building at
First and A Streets NE., known later as the Old Capitol Building and
used during the Civil War as a military prison.





WASHINGTON, 1816-1839

The administration of President Monroe, who served two terms
(1817-1825) is known as the “era of good feeling,” but so far as
developing the plan of Washington little was done. In 1820 the
population of Washington was 13,247.

During these years the Capitol was rebuilt and was reoccupied by
Congress. In 1820 the corner stone of the city hall on Judiciary
Square was laid. In 1824 General Lafayette made his memorable visit to

In 1825 trees were planted on two squares of the filled lowlands
south of Pennsylvania Avenue. That year, also, the eastern portico
of the Capitol was completed; Pennsylvania Avenue was graded from
Seventeenth to Twenty-second Streets; the grounds of the White House,
as the Executive Mansion came to be known after the War of 1812, and
the grounds of the city hall were also graded. At that time there were
about 13 miles of brick paving, average width 13 feet.

Among churches that were built during this period was Foundry Methodist
Church, founded in 1816, at Fourteenth and G Streets NW. The site
was given by Henry Foxall, who operated a foundry about a mile above
Georgetown, near the site of the canal, in fulfillment of a vow that if
his foundry were spared during the attack on Washington he would make
this gift.

On January 27, 1824, the Legislature of Virginia granted a charter
to the newly organized Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Co., which was to
supersede the old Potomac Co., of which George Washington had been
first president, and which had developed commerce with the West. At
Little Falls, on the north side of the river, a canal 2¹⁄₂ miles long,
with 4 masonry locks having a total elevation of 37 feet, had been
constructed. At Great Falls, on the south side, a canal 1,200 yards
long, with 5 locks having a total difference of level of 76 feet 9
inches, was constructed. The two lower locks were cut in solid rock.

On July 4, 1828, President John Quincy Adams turned the first spadeful
of earth for the new canal, which was completed to the first feeder
at Seneca on July 4, 1831. From this place to Point of Rocks work
was delayed by a legal contest with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
Co., which extended its first 45 miles along the same course as the
canal. That railroad company, organized in 1828 at Baltimore, was the
beginning of one of the great railroad systems of the United States
that were to revolutionize commerce and industry. To-day the Chesapeake
& Ohio Canal remains the property of the United States Government, and
is to be made into a great park.



[Illustration: _Courtesy of National Photo Co._


Georgetown had become a great trading center. From 1815 to 1835
products to the value of $4,077,708 were exported from Georgetown to
foreign markets, and from 1826 to 1835 nearly $5,000,000 worth of
products to other American cities, including a million barrels of flour
and 5,400 hogsheads of tobacco.


In the spring of 1828, shortly before what was called the corner stone
of the main line was laid, Congress enacted a law granting entrance of
a railroad line into the District. Some six years passed before the
Washington branch reached the District line. The first service began on
Monday, July 20, 1835, with two trains each way. A great celebration,
in which 1,000 passengers and 2 bands on 4 trains took part, marked the
entrance of the railroad service to the National Capital. The steam
cars passed through the city on their daily trips to the depot at the
northwest corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Second Street. October 1,
1835, it was reported that the average number of travelers per day was

During this period the construction of the present Treasury Department,
Patent Office, and old Post Office Department Buildings was authorized.
They conformed to the Capitol and the White House in their fine style
of classical architecture, and emphasized the fact that Washington is
the National Capital.

Unfortunately, it was during this period that great mistakes were
made--such as giving over part of the Mall to garden purposes and in
letting Government areas, so much desired now, go for private purposes;
also in the location of certain public buildings, as erecting the
Treasury Department in the center of Pennsylvania Avenue.


WASHINGTON, 1840-1859

In 1840 Washington had a population of 23,364. The city was still
in a very much undeveloped state, though the fact that it was the
National Capital was not lost sight of. In 1846 the construction of the
Smithsonian Institution Building was begun, and on July 4, 1848, the
corner stone of the Washington Monument was laid. On July 4, 1851, the
corner stone for the enlargement of the Capitol according to plans as
we see it to-day, was laid.

[Illustration: THE CAPITOL, 1840]

However, so far as city development was concerned, little was done
during this period. The L’Enfant plan seemed either forgotten or
entirely too large for the National Capital. In the city of Washington
not a street was lighted up to 1860 excepting Pennsylvania Avenue. Pigs
roamed the principal thoroughfares. Pavements, save for a few patches
here and there, were altogether lacking. An open sewer carried off
common refuse, and the police and fire departments might have sufficed
for a small village rather than for a nation’s capital.

[Illustration: WASHINGTON, 1852]

In 1846 the part of the District of Columbia on the west bank of the
Potomac, including Alexandria, was re-ceded to Virginia. This was
done pursuant to an act of Congress of July 9 of that year, and with
the assent of the people of the county and town of Alexandria, at an
election on the first and second days of September, 1846, by a vote
of 763 for retrocession and 222 against it. On September 7, 1846,
President Polk issued a proclamation giving notice that the portion
derived from the State of Virginia, about 36 square miles, was re-ceded
to that State. The action of Congress and the President was based upon
petitions of the people of the town and county of Alexandria. The
chief reasons were two: First, that the United States did not need
Alexandria County for the purpose of the seat of government; the public
buildings were all erected on the north side of the river, as required
by law--none on the south side--and it was declared that so far as
it could be foreseen the United States would never need that part of
the District of Columbia for the purpose of the seat of government.
Secondly, the petitioners said that the people of Alexandria had failed
to derive or share in the benefits which had been enjoyed by the
residents of the Maryland portion of the District of Columbia in the
disbursements for public improvements, etc., while on the other hand
they were deprived of those political rights incident to citizenship in
a State.

Since then the United States has acquired something over 2 square miles
of this territory for use as a military post, a national cemetery, a
Signal Corps station, and the Department of Agriculture Experiment Farm.

The constitutionality of the retrocession has often been questioned.
But Congress had expressed itself clearly on the subject, and the
majority of the voters had their way in the matter. In a test case
before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1875 (Phillips v.
Payne), the court, while not directly ruling on the question, held that
an individual is estopped from raising the question. According to an
opinion rendered by an attorney general about 1900, it would now take
the consent of the State of Virginia to reinclude the Virginia portion
as part of the District of Columbia.

In the development of the National Capital the portion in Virginia is
properly included in the metropolitan area of Washington. The National
Capital Park and Planning Commission is, by authority of Congress,
cooperating with similar commissions of the States of Maryland and
Virginia. The great object is to secure for the remote regions of the
National Capital area the same harmonious development as there is in
the heart of the city. Both the States of Maryland and Virginia are
cooperating to the fullest extent in this matter.

On December 16, 1852, the first issue of the Washington Evening Star,
which has grown into one of the great national dailies, appeared.



WASHINGTON 1860-1870

Washington in 1860 was still a comparatively small and undeveloped
city, with a population of 61,122. But the people were soon aroused to
intense excitement because of the strife between the States. When the
Civil War began, the eyes of the Nation were turned on Washington. The
city increased in population to over 100,000 in a few months time and
was the center of great war-time activities. On April 18, 1861, 500
Pennsylvania troops, the first to answer President Lincoln’s call for
volunteers, entered the city, and the day following they were joined by
the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment. Soon thousands of additional men were
here from all the States in the North. Washington became an armed camp.
Schools, churches, and public halls were turned into hospitals to care
for the sick and wounded. A chain of forts and batteries was erected
about the city to protect it, and by October 1862 there were 252,000
soldiers encamped around Washington on both sides of the river. There
were 70 hospitals, caring for 30,000 sick and wounded men.

[Illustration: OLD CAPITOL PRISON]




On the morning of July 11, 1864, great fear spread over the city as
Gen. Jubal A. Early reached a point about 6 miles to the north of
the city where the Walter Reed General Hospital now stands. General
Grant sent the Sixth and part of the Nineteenth Corps to Washington,
and their arrival on the afternoon of that day saved the city. On the
following day a skirmish of troops and sharp engagement took place,
which President Lincoln witnessed as a spectator at Fort Stevens,
exposing himself for a time to the fire. That evening General Early,
finding himself opposed by a greater force than he was prepared to
meet, withdrew, recrossing the Potomac at White Fords, Va.

During the four years of the war thousands of troops passed through
Washington on their way to the front, thrilled by the thought of being
in the Nation’s Capital. Even though the Civil War was a great handicap
to the carrying out of improvements in the city, still several notable
improvements were made, among these being the work of enlarging the
Capitol and completing the Dome as we see it to-day. In that period
also the first street-car line was opened, the Long Bridge was rebuilt,
and work on the Washington Aqueduct developed so that from that time
water has been brought from the Potomac at Great Falls to the city.

In 1861 the number of employees of the Government was 3,466, and in
1865 they numbered 7,184.

On October 2, 1862, the first horse-drawn street cars commenced
operation, running from the Navy Yard to Georgetown; they continued in
use for 40 years.

On April 14, 1865, occurred the great tragedy when President Lincoln
was assassinated at Ford’s Theater by the actor John Wilkes Booth. The
funeral procession was a great solemn occasion, for Abraham Lincoln,
on whom the Nation had depended during four years of war to guide it
safely through the bitter conflict, had given his life for the cause
that the Union might be preserved. On May 23 and 24 took place the
Grand Review on Pennsylvania Avenue of 200,000 men, requiring six hours
for General Meade’s army on the first day and seven hours for General
Sherman’s army on the second day to pass before President Johnson and
General Grant. In a few days those who made up these armies passed from
military life and resumed their places among their fellow citizens.

Buildings that had been used as hospitals were again given over
to peaceful pursuits, and the forts that surrounded the city were
dismantled. Lumber from temporary buildings that were torn down was
used to begin the construction of houses in a new subdivision called
Mount Pleasant. But the great era for civic improvements was not
to take place for another five years, until the administration of
President Grant.

[Illustration: _Photograph by courtesy of the Oldest Inhabitants



[Illustration: THE CAPITOL, 1870]



The year 1870 marked the beginning of a new and effective movement for
the development of the National Capital. Washington was then a city of

Great efforts to relocate the National Capital in some other city,
preferably farther to the west, were made by some who were familiar
with conditions in Washington. St. Louis offered to spend several
millions of dollars for the erection of public buildings. Congress
settled this agitation by appropriating $500,000 as an initial sum for
the construction of the State, War, and Navy Building.

By an act of Congress approved February 21, 1871, a Territorial form of
government, consisting of a governor, a board of public works, and a
legislative assembly, was created. Alexander R. Shepherd, better known
as “Boss” Shepherd, a native of Washington, was appointed a member of
the board of public works and, later, governor of the new Territory.


[Illustration: WASHINGTON, 1890]

Great projects were placed under way for the development of the city.
One hundred and eighty of the 300 miles of half-made streets and
avenues were improved, and nearly all the thickly settled streets of
the city were paved with wood, concrete, or macadam; 128 miles of
sidewalks were built and 3,000 gas lamps were installed. A general and
costly system of sewers was begun. Old Tiber Creek was filled in, and
the greatest nuisance of Washington thereby put out of sight. Scores of
new parks were graded, fenced, and planted with trees and beautified
by fountains. A special park commission was appointed for this work.
It planted 60,000 trees, and a movement was thus begun which has given
to Washington one of its most characteristic features. To-day there
are 114,000 trees along street curbs because of the custom that has
prevailed to plant trees along curbs when new streets are opened for
traffic. Many of the small triangles for which Washington is noted were
transformed from rubbish heaps into beautiful reservations and planted
with trees. There were soon more paved streets here than in any other
city of the country, and President Grant, in his message to Congress,
said, “Washington is rapidly becoming a city worthy of the Nation’s


However, the public took issue with Governor Shepherd, whose drastic
measures paved the way for modern Washington. Bonds were issued to meet
the expenses incurred by these improvements, taxes piled up to the
point of confiscation, and Shepherd was banished from the city. Yet
without the support of President Grant it would have been impossible
for Governor Shepherd to have brought about those civic improvements
for which he is remembered.

The Territorial form of government lasted three years, or until
June 20, 1874, when Congress provided that a new form of municipal
government with three commissioners appointed by the President, with
the consent of the Senate, should be established in the District of
Columbia. This, known as the temporary form of government, lasted until
July 1, 1878, when the present form was established.

[Illustration: VIEW OF THE MALL ABOUT 1890]



The Centennial Exhibition of 1876 at Philadelphia marked a century of
progress. It aroused the country to its opportunities, after a period
of lethargy and unrest that followed the Civil War. A decade had
elapsed since the end of that terrible conflict, and a new day dawned.
President Grant gave the people confidence that he would guide the
affairs of the Nation safely as their Chief Executive. Industries were
established, commerce and trade developed, and prosperity followed.
The Philadelphia Centennial of 1876 brought a sense of the power of
the United States in material resources, coupled with an admission of
poverty in the things of the spirit, and a determination to remedy
shortcomings in this respect. The people then turned their attention to
the finer things of life and became interested in erecting monuments
and establishing art galleries. Thus, the Corcoran Art Gallery,
Washington, D. C., the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Boston
Museum of Fine Arts were chartered about the time of the centennial

Again, in 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, had a great
effect on art in the United States. It stirred the whole world by
the production of beautiful and impressive groups of buildings, so
arranged and coordinated as to create the sense of unity in the whole
composition. The White City along the shores of Lake Michigan still
lives in the minds of many people to-day. The use of landscape effects,
of canals and basins, of statuary and paintings, all contributed to
impress the public and to lift people to new standards and ideals of
achievement. It marked the beginning of a new era of civic development.
In Chicago, for the first time, men saw the advantage of teamwork to
produce a result finer than anything before dreamed of. A number of the
great artists in the United States to-day served their apprenticeship
during the preparation of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago.
Several of the artists served on the decorations of the Congressional
Library, which was completed in 1897. A considerable number of the
beautiful creations in architecture and sculpture in Washington
during the past 35 years by great artists reflect the experience and
inspiration received during that period.



A most remarkable result of the aesthetic achievements of the World’s
Columbian Exposition was the influence it had on the architecture
of several national expositions which were held at the close of the
nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The first of
these expositions was the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, which was held
at Omaha, Nebr., 1897-1898. Several classical buildings were erected
for it, as were erected also for the Pan-American Exposition, held at
Buffalo, N. Y., in 1901, to emphasize the progress of Americans of the
western continents during the nineteenth century. Then followed the
Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which ranks as the third great World’s
Fair held in this country in 1904, in celebration of the one hundredth
anniversary of the transfer of the Louisiana Territory by France to the
United States, during the administration of President Jefferson. It is
significant that as Thomas Jefferson had introduced the classical style
of architecture into this country, so at this Exposition most of the
15 largest buildings resembled in character the classical buildings of
the Chicago World’s Fair. The next exposition in which architecture
had an important part was the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition, held at
Seattle, Wash., in 1909. Again the classical style of architecture was
emphasized, and, as at the Chicago Exposition, the buildings had an
ivory-white appearance. It was stated at the time:

  The influences of an Exposition are of course many, but one of the
  most palpable influences of our American expositions has been their
  power to stimulate a powerful interest in architecture and building.

  The beneficent influence of the Chicago World’s Fair on our
  architecture is of inestimable value, not only for the architects
  but for the entire country. Many Americans owe their interest in
  buildings and architecture to a visit to Chicago in 1893, just as
  many cities and towns recall in their municipal and government
  structures the revival of classic splendor seen in the stucco palaces
  of the World’s Fair.

The next exposition of importance was the Panama-Pacific Exposition at
San Francisco, Calif., held in 1915. In 1906 almost the entire central
part of the city had been destroyed by a frightful earthquake and fire.
In less than a decade the city was rebuilt, and by 1915 there had
also been planned and constructed the great Exposition. Its principal
buildings were built in the classical style of architecture.



The street-planning process has experienced several stages of

1. The narrow streets of Georgetown are typical of the first stage.

2. The wide avenues and streets of the area included in the L’Enfant
plan are appropriately referred to as outstanding proof of the value
of proper planning. The merit of this generous street plan was never
more widely appreciated than at present, when other cities are spending
millions of dollars to have their streets widened to meet traffic

3. The dark days of the National Capital, as far as its circulation
system is concerned, were those during which, outside the city
planned by L’Enfant, streets were dedicated without reference to any
comprehensive plan. This period was from about 1866 to 1893. The lack
of authority to enforce a plan allowed land-owners, insensible to the
superior qualities of the L’Enfant scheme, to do as they pleased.
Prior to 1893 no city plan existed beyond the original city limits.
Streets could be created entirely at the will of the subdivider by
the simple recording of a plat, for there was no authority to control
or coordinate subdivisions. Sixteenth Street was blocked at Florida
Avenue, just as Seventeenth Street is today. Vermont, Connecticut,
New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Tennessee Avenues were
ignored. Widths of important streets were reduced, and a method of land
subdivision came into vogue wholly out of keeping with a capital city.

4. The reaction brought the so-called highway plan outside of the
original city limits of Washington and Georgetown. It was in effect
an extension of the plan of the original city to apply to all parts
of the District of Columbia, with such changes as were influenced
by the topography. All subdivisions subsequent to 1893 conform, by
requirement of law, to this official plan. This highway plan, first
made effective in 1898, was a belated but praiseworthy effort to extend
the L’Enfant plan with its scheme of streets and avenues beyond the old
city. Considering the period in which it was prepared, and the state
of city-planning science at the time, it was a notable achievement.
The work was done by a board on street extensions, with a membership
entirely ex officio, known as the Highway Commission, established by
the act of Congress of 1893.

[Illustration: _Courtesy Army Air Corps_


[Illustration: _Courtesy Army Air Corps_


5. Since then the Surveyor’s Office of the District of Columbia and
the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which superseded
the Highway Commission of 1893, have made an intensive study of the
highway problems of the District of Columbia, including street railroad
problems. This has required a differentiation of street functions, and
an application of the best methods of modern land subdivision to the
remaining undeveloped areas; also an attempt to restate the L’Enfant
ideal in the terms of a motor age. The results achieved appear in the
changes in the highway plan already approved by the Commission or being
recommended to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia from time
to time. Many changes in the highway plan have thus been made, each
case having required careful study of effects on topography, trees,
drainage, lot depths and sizes, etc. The acts of Congress of 1914
and 1925 authorized additional changes in the Highway Plan. The act
approved December 15, 1932 (Public, No. 307, 72d Cong.), authorizes
the Commissioners of the District of Columbia “to readjust and close
streets, roads, highways, or alleys in the District of Columbia
rendered useless or unnecessary.” The desirability of discontinuing
streets which have never been opened and which exist only on a map and
only part of which are in public ownership, when a better and cheaper
way of giving the same traffic connection can be found, seems so
manifest as to require no further justification.


With a view to creating direct arteries in which the vital traffic
flow of the community may freely move, a major thoroughfare scheme,
extending into the metropolitan area of Washington, has also
been studied. The District Commissioners have an interesting map
illustrating the Highway Plan. The Highway Department of the District
of Columbia has charge of upkeep and maintenance of highways in the
District of Columbia. Out of 1,020 miles of streets in the District of
Columbia 855 miles are paved.



In 1900 a great celebration commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary
of the removal of the seat of government to the District of Columbia
was held in Washington. The keynote of the celebration was the
improvement of the District of Columbia in a manner and to the extent
commensurate with the dignity and the resources of the American Nation.
The population was 218,196.


While the centennial exercises were in progress the American Institute
of Architects, in session in Washington, discussed the subject of the
development of parks and the placing of public buildings; the tentative
ideas of a number of the leading architects, sculptors, and landscape
architects of the country were heard; and as a result the Institute
appointed a committee on legislation. Consultations between that
committee and the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia were
followed by the order of the Senate for the preparation and submission
of a general plan for the development of the entire park system of the
District of Columbia.




Thus, Hon. James McMillan, of Michigan, chairman of the Senate
Committee on the District of Columbia, submitted the following
resolution, which was adopted by the United States Senate on March 8,

  _Resolved_, That the Committee on the District of Columbia be, and
  it is hereby, directed to consider the subject and report to the
  Senate plans for the development and improvement of the entire park
  system of the District of Columbia. For the purpose of preparing such
  plans the committee may sit during the recess of Congress and may
  secure the services of such experts as may be necessary for a proper
  consideration of the subject. The expenses of such investigation
  shall be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate.


On March 19, 1901, the subcommittee of the District Committee having
the matter in charge met the representatives of the American Institute
of Architects and agreed to their proposition that Daniel H. Burnham,
architect, and Frederick Law Olmsted, jr., landscape architect, be
selected as experts, with power to add to their number. These gentlemen
accepted, and subsequently invited Charles F. McKim, architect, and
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor, to act with them in the preparation
of plans. The services of men who had won the very highest places in
their several professions had thus been secured.


[Illustration: THE MALL INUNDATED]

The nature and scope of the work having been outlined to the
commission, they entered upon their task, but not without hesitation
and misgivings. The problem was both difficult and complex. Much had
to be done; much, also, had to be undone. Also the aid and advice of
the commission was sought immediately in relation to buildings and
memorials under consideration, and thus the importance and usefulness
of the commission were enhanced.

The commission, in order to make a closer study of the practice of
landscape architecture as applied to parks and public buildings, made
a brief trip to Europe, visiting Rome, Venice, Vienna, Budapest,
Paris, London, and their suburbs. Attention was directed principally
to ascertaining what arrangement of park areas best adapts them to the
uses of the people and what are the elements that give pleasure from
generation to generation, and even from century to century. The many
and striking results of this study were given in the Park Commission
Report, including plans and illustrations. The Committee on the
District of Columbia submitted the report to the Senate on January 15,
1902. It was adopted and ordered to be printed as Senate Report No.
166, Fifty-seventh Congress, first session.


The members of the McMillan Park Commission were:

DANIEL H. BURNHAM, architect, of Chicago. He became head of the firm
of Burnham & Root, one of the first great architectural firms of the
country, and later of D. H. Burnham & Co. Designer of many buildings,
among them the Railway Exchange and Marshall Field’s retail store in
Chicago, and the Wanamaker stores in New York and Philadelphia; in
1893 he became chief architect and director of works of the World’s
Columbian Exposition. Mr. Burnham was instrumental in securing the
adoption of a scheme of construction which placed that exhibition in
the very front rank of international exhibitions, and by the display of
rare executive ability he brought about and maintained the effective
cooperation of the architects and artists, who then and there gave to
American art both a new direction and a tremendous impetus. In 1901 he
became chairman of the McMillan Park Commission for beautifying the
National Capital; in 1908 he built the Union Station at Washington; in
1910 he became a member of the National Commission of Fine Arts and
its first chairman. He also laid out plans for Chicago, Cleveland, and
Manila. He died in 1912 while on a trip abroad.

CHARLES F. MCKIM, architect, of New York City, studied architecture
at Harvard University and at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. He
organized the firm of McKim, Mead & White, architects, of New York
City, who for half a century have led the architectural profession in
the design of classical buildings, such as the Boston Public Library,
Harvard University buildings, the Columbia University Library, the
Morgan Library, the Rhode Island Capitol, the Pennsylvania Railroad
Station in New York City, the restoration of the White House, and are
the architects of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Mr. McKim, as a member
of the McMillan Park Commission, designed the Mall plan, and also made
a sketch for the Lincoln Memorial. Mr. McKim was president of the
American Institute of Architects in 1902 and 1903, and was instrumental
in the purchase of the Octagon House as the headquarters of the
American Institute of Architects. In 1903 he was awarded the royal gold
medal given by King Edward VII for the promotion of architecture. Mr.
McKim was a champion of good architecture and keenly interested in the
development of the National Capital. He deplored the appearance of the
State, War, and Navy Building, and said he would find pleasure during
leisure hours in raking off the columns--a work that is contemplated
in the remodeling of the building as the State Department Building. He
died in 1909.


AUGUSTUS SAINT-GAUDENS, sculptor, born in Dublin, Ireland, on March 1,
1848, came to the United States in infancy and learned the trade of
a cameo cutter. He studied drawing at the Cooper Institute in 1861,
and in 1865 and 1866 was a student of the National Academy of Design.
From 1867 to 1870 he studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris.
Mr. Saint-Gaudens was the greatest American sculptor, and, indeed, one
of the greatest of all time. His great works of art are numerous and
inspiring. Among them are The Puritan; the statue of Abraham Lincoln,
Chicago; the Farragut, the Peter Cooper, and the Sherman Victory
monuments in New York; the Shaw Memorial in Boston; the Amor Caritas
at the Luxembourg Gallery in Paris; and the celebrated Adams Memorial
in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington. He also designed a $20 gold piece.
As a member of the McMillan Park Commission he wrote that part of the
report pertaining to Arlington National Cemetery and advised in the
matter of location of the Grant Memorial at the head of the Mall. He
died in 1907.

FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED, landscape architect, from the time that he
became a member of the McMillan Park Commission of 1901 has given
uninterrupted service in the development of the National Capital. He
was one of the original members of the National Commission of Fine
Arts, appointed in 1910, and served as landscape architect member until
1918. From 1924 he served as landscape architect member of the National
Capital Park and Planning Commission. Mr. Olmsted was president of the
American Society of Landscape Architects and from its organization in
1907 a member of the National Conference on City Planning.

His father laid out Central Park, New York City, about 1858 (2,300 men
were employed on it in September of that year), and in 1872 he prepared
the landscape plan for the United States Capitol Grounds as they have
existed since then. Mr. Olmsted and his firm have in more recent years
laid out the Metropolitan Park System of Boston, the Vanderbilt Estate
in North Carolina, the Baltimore Park System, and Redondo Beach, Los
Angeles County, Calif. The smaller park areas which Mr. Olmsted has
designed are too numerous to mention.

CHARLES MOORE has devoted fully 50 years to the development of the
National Capital, and is a former chairman of the National Commission
of Fine Arts. Mr. Moore was for many years clerk to the Senate
Committee on the District of Columbia, rendering most valuable service
to the committee, of which Senator McMillan was chairman, as well as to
the National Capital. The reports on the elimination of grade crossings
in the District of Columbia and on the charitable institutions of the
District of Columbia, as well as the Park Commission Report of 1901,
are memorable documents of that period which were largely prepared by
him. His influence has always been strong with Members of Congress
in favor of the development of the District of Columbia upon a noble
scale. His appointment as one of the original members of the National
Commission of Fine Arts was a fitting recognition not only of past
services but of his preeminent qualifications to pass upon subjects
relating to the beautification of the National Capital. He was chairman
from 1915 to 1937. Mr. Moore also helped prepare the plan of Chicago.
He is the author of a number of books, among them being Under Three
Flags, the Life of Daniel H. Burnham, the Life of Charles F. McKim, the
Family Life of George Washington, Washington Past and Present; and has
contributed also innumerable articles to magazines in the course of the


The plans prepared by the McMillan Park Commission and submitted, with
its report, to the Senate, constituted the first and most notable
proposal for grouping of public buildings ever put forward in the
United States. The outlying sections of the District of Columbia
were studied in relation to a system of parks, both large and small
areas being indicated; the most convenient and the most picturesque
connections between the various parks were mapped; the individual
treatment which each important park should undergo was recommended; an
extension of the park system to Great Falls and to Mount Vernon was
discussed. Primarily, however, the development of the Mall received
detailed and elaborate treatment, and the location of new public
buildings, whether legislative, executive, or municipal in character,
was arranged according to a rational system of grouping; and those
memorials which mark distinct epochs in our national history were
brought into harmonious relation with the general scheme of development.

As a result of this study, the desirability of making every
considerable undertaking within the District of Columbia a part of
a general plan was made evident, so that each undertaking should
contribute its part to enhancing the value of the whole; and no
undertaking would be allowed to invade, to mutilate, or to mar the
symmetry, simplicity, and dignity of the one great composition designed
to comprehend the entire area.

In working out the plans the park commission found it necessary to have
prepared two models, one showing the existing disturbed conditions in
the section from the Library of Congress westward to the Potomac, and
the other showing the arrangement proposed. These models, constructed
with the utmost attention to the details of topography by George C.
Curtis, were accurate maps of the section they so graphically depicted,
and served as guides in carrying the plans to completion. To present
in graphic fashion particular features of the plans, the accurate
architectural drawings were rendered in color by leading artists, and
by means of these pictures a clear and distinct idea of the completed
work was obtained.

One of the greatest obstacles to a restoration of the Mall as provided
for in the L’Enfant plan was the fact that since 1872 the Mall had been
occupied by railroad tracks, the board of aldermen and the board of
common council having on March 20, 1871, granted the Mall site to the
Baltimore Potomac Railroad Co., later the Pennsylvania Railroad Co.,
which action was confirmed by act of Congress May 21, 1872. The Mall
was then no better than a common pasture. The railroad had taken the
place of the canal, which it paralleled, and held the right to use the
property by a title good in law and in equity; also by virtue of an
act of Congress adopted in 1890 the railroad space had been enlarged,
in consideration of the surrender of street trackage and the proposed
elevation of the tracks within the city of Washington.

It so happened that the chairman of the commission, Mr. Burnham, was
the architect of the new Pennsylvania Railroad Station at Pittsburgh,
and he had also drawn for the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. the preliminary
plans for the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Station in Washington. After
consultation, Mr. Burnham proposed to the president of the Pennsylvania
Railroad Co. that the station be built on the south side of the Mall
and the adjoining lands; and, while the matter received serious
consideration, no action was taken. It was during the stay of the
commission in London that President Cassatt announced to Mr. Burnham
his willingness to consider the question, not of moving the Baltimore
& Potomac Railroad Station to the south side of the Mall but of
withdrawing altogether from that region and uniting with the Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad Co. in the erection of a union station on the site
established by legislation for the new depot of that road, provided
suitable legislation be secured to make compensation for the increased
expense such a change would involve, and provided, also, that the
approaches to the new site be made worthy of the building the railroads
proposed to erect.

Subsequent examination convinced the commission that from an esthetic
standpoint there were insuperable objections to the depot site provided
by law; the chief objection being that were the station to front on C
Street a train shed 800 feet long would be thrown across Massachusetts
Avenue, one of the great thoroughfares of the city. Not only would the
vista be blocked by a commercial building, but also the street would
be carried underneath this enormous structure in a tunnel so long as
to cause the avenue to be avoided by traffic. The commission thereupon
proposed a site fronting on Massachusetts Avenue, and that was the
one adopted for the Union Station. The plans called for a station 8
feet and 8 inches longer than the Capitol, the building to be of white
marble, the façade Roman in style of architecture, and the construction
and arrangements so planned as to make this station superior to any
structure ever erected for railway purposes. Facing the Capitol, and
yet not too near that building, the new station was designed to front
upon a plaza 600 feet in width and 1,200 feet in length, where bodies
of troops or large organizations could be formed during inaugural times
or on other like occasions. Thus located and so constructed, the Union
Station makes a great and impressive gateway to Washington.

In considering the views of the commission, and in reaching his
decision, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. looked at the
matter from the standpoint of an American citizen, saying in substance
that he appreciated the fact that if Congress intended to make of the
Mall what the founders of the city intended it to be, no railroad
should be allowed to cross it, and that he was willing to vacate the
space provided the matter could be arranged without sacrificing the
interests of the stockholders of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. This
conditional consent on the part of the railroad, which was later agreed
to by Congress, removed the one great obstacle to the preparation of
adequate plans for the improvement of the city. Lesser obstacles,
such as the lack of surveys of the oldest parks in the District and
the difficulties of getting together the widely scattered data, were
surmounted. On the other hand, the work was much lightened by the
excellent topographical maps of the District outside of the city
prepared by the Coast and Geodetic Survey.



Naturally the plan of 1901 began at the Capitol. It was recommended
that the chief legislative building of the Nation be surrounded by
structures dependent on or supplementary to legislative work. The
Library of Congress had been completed in 1897. The enjoyment and
satisfaction taken in the Library by the thousands of persons from
all parts of the country who visit it daily is an indication of the
manner in which the American people regard the upbuilding of their
Capital. Since the Library Building was designed we have learned
lessons of subordination in grouping (as shown in the Senate and House
Office Buildings and in the Union Station), and also of restraint in
decoration; but the Library contains individual work of the leading
painters and sculptors of its era.

[Illustration: UNION SQUARE, PLAN OF 1901]

The idea of office buildings for the Members of the Senate and the
House of Representatives was in mind when the plan was being made, and
therefore the areas these buildings would naturally occupy were marked.
The three buildings were designed and constructed in such manner as to
make them an integral part of the Capitol group. Simple, elegant, and
dignified, the Senate and House of Representatives Office Buildings
carry on the great tradition established by Washington and Jefferson
in the selection of the Thornton design for the original building, and
persistently maintained by President Fillmore in the extension of the
Capitol by Thomas U. Walter.

By common consent the remaining space facing the Capitol on the east
was assigned to a building for the Supreme Court of the United States,
which since the removal of the seat of government to the District of
Columbia in 1800 occupied the same building with the Congress.

On the south below the House of Representatives Office Buildings the
frontage is occupied by nondescript buildings, all undignified and
unsightly. The obvious use of this land is building sites and house
gardens to balance Union Station Plaza on the north. This also is a
project for the future.


The area directly west of the Capitol grounds was marked on the
L’Enfant map as an open plaza, affording an approach to that building
similar to the one on the east. Owing to the slow development of
Washington the west front underwent various vicissitudes. The Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad Co. tracks once were located about on a line with the
Peace and Garfield Monuments. The Botanic Garden area was reclaimed
from an alder swamp, and the James Creek Canal wound its way through
it. A quarter of a century ago the House passed a bill for the removal
of the Botanic Garden fence, with the view of giving the public access
to that park in the same manner that other parks are open.

The plan of 1901 aimed to restore this area to its intended uses as a
broad thoroughfare so enriched with parterres as to form an organic
connection between the Capitol Grounds and the Mall. Anticipating the
improvement of this square, named Union Square, as outlined in the
plan, Congress located therein the memorial to General Grant, the base
of which was designed to be used as a reviewing stand, and later a site
in the same area was designated for the monument to General Meade. The
Grant Memorial was completed a number of years ago, the Meade Monument
is also in place, and the Botanic Garden has been relocated south of
Maryland Avenue, near the Capitol. The new plan for Union Square as
carried out, was made by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1935.


That section of the Mall between Third and Four-and-a-half Streets
has been laid out and planted with elms in accordance with the plan
of 1901, and Congress has provided for putting in the roadways. The
temporary buildings in the Mall were so located that upon removal the
roadways will be in accordance with the Mall plan, and as fast as
the buildings are razed the planting of trees can be made. The space
between Four-and-a-half and Sixth Streets was so improved and restored
during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1921.

Congress has authorized the occupation of the north side of the Mall
between Third and Seventh Streets (former site of the Pennsylvania
Station) by the National Gallery of Art, designed by John Russell Pope.
Plans for the building approved by the Commission of Fine Arts are
classical in style of architecture.

Auditoriums, both large and small, designed for the uses of
conventions, inaugural exercises, and meetings of patriotic societies
are among the prime necessities of Washington. Such gathering places
would meet governmental and semipublic needs and be advantageous to the
growth of American feeling.


The space between Third and Seventh Streets, on the south side of the
Mall is being considered for the Smithsonian Gallery of Art, authorized
by Congress, to house the collections of works of art that have been
given to the Nation. The planting and roadways continuous with those
already in place on the Mall can then be put in.

The new National Museum Building was the first structure to be located
and erected according to the plan of 1901, having been aligned in
conformity to the new Mall axis. On the south side of the Mall the
new Freer Gallery also conforms to the revised axis. This gallery is
a constituent portion of the National Gallery of Art. It represents
one of the largest gifts ever made by an individual to the Government.
Although comparatively small in extent, both the building itself and
the collections now being arranged within it represent the very highest
standards of art. Moreover, the Freer Gallery is a type of the small,
adequately housed, and well-endowed gallery which doubtless will be
established from time to time by private individuals and given to
the Nation to be administered by the Smithsonian Institution for the
instruction and gratification of the people.

The section of the Mall between Twelfth and Fourteenth Streets is
occupied by the Department of Agriculture. The location of the two
wings of the building designed to accommodate the administrative
offices of the department precipitated a contest, on the result of
which depended the fate of the plan of 1901. It was due to the firm
stand taken by President Roosevelt and Secretary of War Taft that the
location was made in accordance with the plan. That crisis having been
met satisfactorily, the future of the Mall scheme was assured, and
since then the plan for park connection between the Capitol and the
White House has become an established fact.

While L’Enfant had planned a driveway through the center of the Mall,
the Mall Plan of 1901 consists of an expanse of undulating green park,
a mile in length and 300 feet wide, extending from the Capitol to the
Monument. This central green space is bordered by park roads, flanked
by four rows of American elms, under the shade of which are walks and
resting places. Back of these rows of trees are other roads furnishing
access to public buildings like the National Museum, the Department of
Agriculture Building, the Freer Gallery, and the National Gallery of
Art, which have been located according to the plan.


According to the L’Enfant plan the Monument to George Washington was to
be located at the point where a line drawn due west from the center of
the Capitol would intersect a line drawn due south from the center of
the White House. On these axial relations the Mall composition depended
for its effect. The builders of the Washington Monument, despairing of
securing adequate foundations in the lowlands at the intersection of
the main and the cross axes, located the Monument without regard to
points fixed in the plan. Feeling the absolute necessity of restoring
these relationships, the Park Commission boldly determined to create
a new main axis by drawing a line from the Capitol Dome through the
Washington Monument and prolonging it to the shore of the Potomac,
where they proposed, on the then unimproved lands dredged from the
river to form Potomac Park, a site for a new memorial. Here they placed
the long-contemplated memorial to Abraham Lincoln. This they did with
full comprehension of the fact that by common consent Lincoln is the
one man in the history of this Nation worthy to stand with Washington
in the great central composition.

[Illustration: PLAN OF THE MALL]

The original intersection had been marked by Thomas Jefferson by a
small monument known as the Jefferson Pier. In the McMillan Park
Commission plan of 1901 this pier is indicated by a circular pool. That
commission, as has been said, restored the cross axis of the Mall,
and from the Mall plan of 1901 by actual measurement the Washington
Monument is 371.6 feet east of the north and south axis of the White
House, and 123.17 feet south of the Capitol axis.


While this location of the Lincoln Memorial commended itself to men
like Theodore Roosevelt, John Hay, Elihu Root, and William H. Taft,
it was opposed by many others, who had regard to the immediate future
and who did not consider either the historical significance of the
situation or the prospective development of Potomac Park, then far from
the more populous parts of the city and thus seemingly isolated and
remote. The struggle over this location, and indeed over any memorial
of an ideal character, was long and bitter. Nor was it ended during
the lifetime of Mr. McKim and Mr. Saint-Gaudens. Happily, however,
the result was determined in accordance with the commission plan, and
to-day no other site seems possible. This was a distinct victory for
the plan, virtually insuring the realization of the large scheme as
laid out in 1901.

The Park Commission wrote as follows:

  From the Monument garden westward a canal 3,600 feet long and 200
  feet wide, with central arms and bordered by stretches of green
  walled with trees, leads to a concourse raised to the height of the
  Monument platform. Seen from the Monument this canal, similar in
  character to the canals at Versailles and Fontainebleau in France
  and Hampton Court in England, introduces into the formal landscape
  an element of repose and great beauty. At the head of the canal a
  great rond-point, placed on the main axis of the Capitol and the
  Monument, becomes a gate of approach to the park system of the
  District of Columbia. Centering upon it as a great point of reunion
  are the drives leading southeast to Potomac Park and northwest by
  the Riverside Drive to the Rock Creek system of parks. From this
  elevation of 40 feet the Memorial Bridge leads across the Potomac
  directly to the base of the hill crowned by the mansion house of

[Illustration: SITE OF THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL, 1901]

  Crowning the rond-point, as the Arc de Triomphe crowns the Place de
  l’Etoile at Paris, should stand a memorial erected to the memory
  of that one man in our history as a nation who is worthy to stand
  with George Washington--Abraham Lincoln. Whatever may be the exact
  form selected for the memorial to Lincoln, in form it should possess
  the quality of universality, and also it should have a character
  essentially distinct from that of any other monument either now
  existing in the District or hereafter to be erected. The type which
  the commission has in mind is a great portico of Doric columns rising
  from an unbroken stylobate.

The foregoing recommendations were among the fundamentals of the plan
of 1901. Ten years were required to embody them in legislation. To-day
the Lincoln Memorial and the Arlington Memorial Bridge are completed
along the general lines suggested.


There are many other features of the McMillan plan that the report of
1901 describes to which attention is called in the subsequent pages
of this volume; thus there is the Rock Creek Parkway, the Anacostia
Park development, the Fort Drive, the parkway along the Palisades of
the Potomac to Great Falls, and the Mount Vernon Highway. The plans
for these projects required authorization by Congress and time to make
necessary land purchases; but at the present time there is indication
that they will be completed in the near future. The day has come when
the Greater Washington, or the metropolitan area of Washington, is
being brought into the scheme of development of the National Capital.

The plan of 1901 reasserted the authority of the original plan of
L’Enfant, extended to meet the needs of the Nation after a century of
growth in power, wealth, and dignity, and also marked the path for
future development.




Immediately after abolishing the Council of Fine Arts President Taft
undertook to interest Congress in the establishment of a permanent
Commission of Fine Arts. A bill was accordingly presented in the United
States Senate by Hon. Elihu Root. In the House of Representatives the
bill was sponsored by Hon. Samuel W. McCall. Various amendments were
made to the measure in both the Senate and House of Representatives and
it was finally adopted by the act approved May 17, 1910, as follows:

  _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
  United States of America in Congress assembled_, That a permanent
  Commission of Fine Arts is hereby created to be composed of seven
  well-qualified judges of the fine arts, who shall be appointed by the
  President, and shall serve for a period of four years each, and until
  their successors are appointed and qualified. The President shall
  have authority to fill all vacancies. It shall be the duty of such
  Commission to advise upon the location of statues, fountains, and
  monuments in the public squares, streets, and parks in the District
  of Columbia, and upon the selection of models for statues, fountains,
  and monuments, erected under the authority of the United States
  and upon the selection of artists for the execution of the same.
  It shall be the duty of the officers charged by law to determine
  such questions in each case to call for such advice. The foregoing
  provisions of this act shall not apply to the Capitol Building of
  the United States and the building of the Library of Congress. The
  Commission shall also advise generally upon questions of art when
  required to do so by the President, or by any committee of either
  House of Congress. Said Commission shall have a secretary and such
  other assistance as the Commission may authorize, and the members of
  the Commission shall each be paid actual expenses in going to and
  returning from Washington to attend the meetings of said Commission
  and while attending the same.

  Sec. 2. That to meet the expenses made necessary by this act an
  expenditure of not exceeding $10,000 a year is hereby authorized.

The duties of the Commission of Fine Arts have been enlarged since then
from time to time by Executive orders. Congress has also stipulated
in many recent enactments that the plans for certain designated
buildings, monuments, etc., must be approved by the Commission before
they can be accepted by the Government. The act of May 16, 1930,
gives the Commission control over certain portions of the District of
Columbia in the matter of private buildings, under what is known as the
Shipstead-Luce Act. Reports are published periodically.

The duties of the Commission, therefore, now embrace not only advising
upon the location of statues, fountains, and monuments in the public
squares, streets, and parks in the District of Columbia, etc., but in
fact all questions involving matters of art with which the Federal
Government is concerned.


[Illustration: THE MALL, 1930]

The Commission has been in existence 29 years, during which time
many great artists of this country have served as its members. The
membership comprises three architects, a sculptor, a painter, a
landscape architect, and a lay member. Congress permits the Commission
to hold meetings, including committee meetings, both in and outside
of the District of Columbia, thus enabling it to give attention to
works of art in any part of the country in which the Government is
interested. A meeting of the Commission is usually held in Washington
each month, where the public-buildings program and other great projects
under way for the development of the National Capital are requiring its
particular attention.

In the work of the Commission of Fine Arts we see the splendid results
achieved through the collaboration of architects, sculptors, painters,
and landscape architects. The Commission exists primarily to serve
the Congress and its committees, the President, and the heads of the
Government Departments. There are exceptional cases when the Commission
of Fine Arts is called upon to advise with reference to fine arts
projects submitted by individuals. The Commission aims to maintain
standards of taste. The members themselves are prominent in their
respective professions and are “well-qualified judges of the fine arts.”

Prior to the establishment of the Commission of Fine Arts it was the
practice of Congress when legislation was enacted providing for a
public building, a monument, or other work of art to authorize the
appointment of a committee to advise it concerning the specific fine
arts project. Such a committee was as a rule composed of laymen,
unqualified to give advice on matters of art. Thereupon money was
appropriated to meet the expenses of a jury of award, in addition
to those of the committee; and when the project was completed, the
committee disbanded, leaving Congress without a recognized body to whom
matters pertaining to the fine arts could be referred, and requiring a
repetition of the appointment of a new committee for procuring some new
work of art desired by Congress. It was just such a situation as this
that existed in 1910 when Senator Root was a member of the Committee on
the Library. In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Commission of
Fine Arts at the twenty-fifth anniversary of its establishment in May
1935, Senator Root stated:

  Sometime about the early spring of 1910 some Senator had introduced
  in the Senate a resolution providing for the purchase by the
  Government of a number of paintings that nobody wanted to buy and
  under the rule that resolution was referred to the Committee on the
  Library. The responsibility for protecting the Government against a
  waste of money was thus thrown upon the Committee.

  A little discussion developed the fact that all the members of
  the Committee had an uncomfortable feeling that the pictures were
  probably worthless and no such purchase ought to be made but that no
  member of the Committee felt any such confidence in his own knowledge
  and judgment about such things as to feel like making a report to
  the Senate based on his opinion, and maintaining that opinion on
  the floor. We all felt that the Committee ought to have some way of
  getting an expert opinion to guide it in making its report.

  In the discussion we recalled Theodore Roosevelt’s appointment of
  a Fine Arts Council, which fell to the ground because it had no
  legal standing, and we recalled also the advantage received from the
  report of park development of the informal commission selected by
  the McMillan Committee, and we finally determined to ask Congress to
  provide for the appointment of a fine arts commission which would
  meet the need that our Committee was then experiencing and a similar
  need which was liable to occur in a multitude of cases under which
  Government officers had to pass on questions of art without being
  really competent to perform such a duty. * * * I drafted a very brief
  statute * * * and a little informal explanation of the need which the
  Committee felt for expert assistance in the performing of its duties
  carried the bill through.

  And so, without creation of any power of legal compulsion, there
  was brought to the service of the Government the authority of
  competent opinion upon questions of art arising in the course of
  administration, and widespread and habitual deference to such an
  opinion has saved the Government and the community from God knows how
  many atrocities.

From the time of its establishment, the Commission has been consulted
about every detail of the progress of the Plan of Washington, and also
about many works of art for which the Government makes appropriations.
This includes also works of art which our Government, as a result of
congressional enactment, presents to the governments and the peoples of
other countries to express our friendship and good will, or erects for
the use of our diplomatic corps abroad, or to perpetuate the memory of
our soldiers’ deeds of daring and courage. Good examples are the statue
of Leif Ericsson to Iceland, the statue of Henry Clay to Venezuela,
the American Embassy Building in Japan, and the World War Memorials in

In creating the National Capital Park and Planning Commission by act
of April 30, 1926, Congress provided that purchases of lands made
thereunder shall have the advice of the Commission of Fine Arts.
During the years all proposed purchases have been approved. The two
Commissions have acted harmoniously in the work of developing the
District of Columbia according to carefully devised plans for parks,
playgrounds, and highways.

The first project that came before the Commission of Fine Arts, in
1910, was the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial during a period of 12
years had the continual attention of this Commission, and since its
dedication on May 30, 1922, it has been recognized as one of the great
memorials of the world. In the past 15 years the row of beautiful white
marble buildings near the Lincoln Memorial have been built, as also the
new Department buildings on Constitution Avenue. These are a part of
the great public buildings program that is in progress in the National




Our first President, by proclamation of October 17, 1791 (illustrated
on page 21), established a height restriction of 40 feet on buildings
in the new Capital. Although not a regulation by zones, it might have
been the beginning of a zoning policy if the growth of the Capital had
been foreseen. However, the restriction was suspended under President
Monroe in 1822, and it was not until 1910 that a comprehensive height
regulation became effective. The act of 1910 established height limits,
depending upon the width of adjacent streets.

The first zoning ordinance for an American city was adopted by New York
City in 1916. The World War held the problem of zoning our cities in
abeyance. Washington was zoned by the act of 1920. Since then fully
1,500 towns and cities throughout the United States, ranging from
5,000 to 6,000,000 (New York City) in population, have adopted zoning

Zoning not only controls the use and development of land but also
regulates the height and bulk of buildings, the open spaces which
must be provided for light and ventilation, and the density and
distribution of population. It is a legislative function under the
police power. The usual procedure in establishing zoning control in
our cities has been to pass an ordinance under the authority of the
State Zoning Enabling Act, dividing the city into use, height, and
area districts, throughout each of which the governing regulations are
the same. Separate districts are provided for residence, business, and
industry. Thus business and industry are excluded from the residence
districts. There may or may not be separate districts provided for
light and heavy industry, or for local business and general business.
The residence district is usually subdivided according to types of
dwellings into areas for single-family dwellings, two-family dwellings,
multiple-family dwellings, or apartment houses. Multiple-family
dwellings are usually excluded from the single-family areas. This
practice has received the hearty approval of home owners. Undeveloped
land in suburban sections is usually placed in the residence district
and restricted to single-family use. If conditions warrant, and there
is no opposition from the owners, it may later be rezoned for more
profitable multiple-family or business use.


The zoning ordinance has not attempted to regulate buildings, except as
to height and size, nor set any standard of architectural fitness to
the surroundings. If it had attempted any such thing, it could never
have become a law. Only in recent years have citizens begun to think
that attractiveness may add a cash value to houses, or that insistence
on beauty is becoming in a democracy.

The Shipstead-Luce Act, adopted May 16, 1930, gives the Commission of
Fine Arts a limited control over private buildings in the District
of Columbia and provides that private buildings facing important
Government buildings and parks, in areas specified in the act, must
harmonize in appearance with the latter. Although not affecting the
Zoning Act, it is, like the height law of 1910, part of the zoning

The provisions of the Zoning Act of 1938 do not apply to Federal public

  However, the location, height, bulk, number of stories, and size of
  Federal public buildings and the provision for open space in and
  around the same, will be subject to the approval of the National
  Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Approximately one-half of the area of the Capital is under Government
control and one-half is open to private development. That private
development should proceed in harmony with the plans of the local
and Federal Governments was acceptable as an ideal, and a determined
effort was made in 1918 to introduce zoning into Washington. In that
year and the year following congressional committees, the District
Commissioners, and others formulated plans, and a zoning bill became a
law effective August 30, 1920. After a period of 18 years, during which
several important changes in the law had suggested themselves, Congress
adopted a new Zoning Act, which was approved by the President on June
20, 1938 (Public, No. 684, 75th Congress).

The act provides that the regulations heretofore adopted by the Zoning
Commission under the authority of the act of March 1, 1920, including
official maps, shall be deemed to have been made and adopted and in
force under this present act. The act empowers the Zoning Commission
“to regulate the location, height, bulk, number of stories, and size
of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lot which may
be occupied, the sizes of yards, courts, and other open spaces, the
density of population, and the uses of buildings, structures, and land
for trade, industry, residence, recreation, public activities, or other
purposes * * *.”

Many people do not understand the importance and necessity of a zoning
law in a city; they think it deprives them of private rights. Yet
without a good zoning law living conditions in cities of the present
day become chaotic. Section 2 of the act of June 20, 1938, sets forth
the purpose of the zoning regulations and also points out the benefits
to be derived from zoning, as follows:

  Such regulations shall be made in accordance with a comprehensive
  plan and designed to lessen congestion in the street, to secure
  safety from fire, panic, and other dangers, to promote health and
  the general welfare, to provide adequate light and air, to prevent
  the undue concentration of population and the overcrowding of land,
  and to promote such distribution of population and of the uses
  of land as would tend to create conditions favorable to health,
  safety, transportation, prosperity, protection of property, civic
  activity, and recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities,
  and as would tend to further economy and efficiency in the supply
  of public services. Such regulations shall be made with reasonable
  consideration, among other things, of the character of the respective
  districts and their suitability for the uses provided in the
  regulations, and with a view to encouraging stability of districts
  and of land values therein.

The Zoning Commission may from time to time amend the regulations
and the maps, but before doing so a public hearing must be held, and
at least 30 days’ notice of the time and place of the hearing must
be published at least once in a daily newspaper in the District of
Columbia, giving full information concerning the proposed amendment.
A favorable vote of not less than a full majority of the members is
necessary for the adoption of an amendment.

The Zoning Commission consists of five members, namely, the three
Commissioners of the District of Columbia, the Director of the National
Park Service, and the Architect of the Capitol.

The act of 1938 provides for a Zoning Advisory Council, to which
suggested amendments to the regulations are submitted for consideration
and recommendation. The act also provides for a Board of Zoning
Adjustment, which shall have the power to hear and decide appeals where
it is alleged a hardship will be imposed by carrying out and enforcing
any regulation adopted under the Zoning Act, and to hear and decide on
complaints regarding zoning, as also requests for special exceptions
or map interpretations. In exercising its powers, “the Board of
Adjustments may, in conformity with the provisions of this act, reverse
or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the order, requirement,
decision, determination, or refusal appealed from or may make such
order as may be necessary to carry out its decision or authorization,
and to that end shall have all the powers of the officer or body from
whom the appeal is taken.” The concurring vote of not less than a full
majority of the members of the Board is necessary for any decision or


The preeminence of the Dome of the Capitol has dominated the height
of both public and private buildings. The 110-foot-height limit is
found in a small section of the center of the downtown business
district. On streets 110 feet wide in the 110-foot-height district,
130 feet is allowed under set-back provisions, and this maximum height
cannot be exceeded by buildings (except spires, penthouses, or other
excrescences) erected under the zoning regulations. Before 1929 but few
buildings exceeded this height. The act of 1910 limited the height of
buildings to front or abut Union Station Plaza to 80 feet.




A new period in the development of the city may be said to date from
1901 with the filing of the report of the McMillan Park Commission,
for since that time there has been a constant increase in the interest
taken by the public. The outstanding dates recording the progress
of this increased interest are 1910, 1912, 1920, and 1924. The Fine
Arts Commission was established in 1910. A new beginning of control
of private property was made in 1910 after many years’ lapse of the
original restrictions imposed by President Washington. This new
beginning consisted in control of the height of buildings, the passage
of a height law, and was followed in 1920 by a comprehensive zoning law.

In 1924 the lack of provision of public parks and the failure to
carry out the proposals of the plan of 1901, in so far as park areas
were concerned, led to the formation of the National Capital Park
Commission, with authority to purchase lands for park purposes. The
organization of the Commission was the result of combined efforts of
many nation-wide organizations.

The new Commission soon found that an intelligent choice of park
lands could not be made without knowledge of the interrelation of
parks, highways, zoning, public buildings, and other elements of city
and regional planning. The authority of the Commission was therefore
increased in 1926, and its membership enlarged. The new National
Capital Park and Planning Commission was charged--

  with the duty of preparing, developing, and maintaining a
  comprehensive, consistent, and coordinated plan for the National
  Capital and environs (an area of some 1,539 square miles, lying
  roughly within 20 miles of the White House, and involving the
  cooperation of 2 States, 4 counties, 2 cities, and numerous
  incorporated places), which plan shall include recommendations to the
  proper executive authorities as to traffic and transportation; plats
  and subdivisions; highways, parks, and parkways; school and library
  sites; playgrounds, drainage, sewerage, and water supply; housing,
  building, and zoning regulations; public and private buildings;
  bridges and water fronts; commerce and industry; and other proper
  elements of city and regional planning.

The largest single factor in determining the extent and character of
the development of the National Capital will be the extent, character,
and wisdom of the permanent investments by the public in public areas
and improvements. This Commission has, therefore, considered as of
primary importance the proper location and extent of public lands,
whether used for streets, parks, public buildings, or other public
services; and the timely acquisition and development of these areas for
their particular purposes.



Since the areas needed for public use can not be chosen without regard
to the use and extent of private developments, it follows that some
control over the use of private property--as by zoning--is an essential
part of city or regional planning.

When city planning is mentioned most people think first of streets. In
this field the commission has been active in three ways--first, in an
effort to make the streets fit the land and to follow along the hills
and valleys instead of across them; second, in establishing a major
thoroughfare system guiding the development of the main highways within
the District of Columbia and extending the principles of the original
L’Enfant plan to the limits of the District; and third, in securing
public support of a regional highway system which will provide more
adequately for traffic both into the city and between suburban areas.

With the first of these aims in view many changes in the highway
plan of the District have been made in cooperation with the District
officials. These changes were advantageous to preserve natural
topography, to fit the streets to property lines, to save trees,
to provide drainage, or for like reasons. Several important street
openings and widenings have been undertaken in accordance with the
commission’s major thoroughfare plan, such as New York Avenue beyond
the limits of the L’Enfant plan, the opening of a new Louisiana
Avenue from the Union Station to Pennsylvania Avenue at Union Square,
straightening of Michigan Avenue, and extension of Sixteenth Street
to the District line. The plan which follows the recommendations of
the commission has been recognized by the District officials in the
adoption of a 5-year highway program.

Several new regional highway projects are now complete or going forward
in accordance with the regional plan. The Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
and the Lee Boulevard establish new standards in highway design. The
extension of Rhode Island and Massachusetts Avenues fits the plan. The
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has adopted
practically all of the suggestions made by the Commission for the
Maryland area as part of the Maryland master plan.

Where parks are concerned the Commission has a special responsibility.
The plans for parks both in the District of Columbia and out of it have
received the indorsement of Congress in the Capper-Cramton Act.

For the District the Commission is now acquiring parks of three
types: (1) A parkway (the Fort Drive) around the city, 28 miles long
and connecting the sites of the Civil War forts on the second row of
hills; (2) a system of recreation centers and playgrounds distributed
throughout the area in association with the schools and so far as
possible providing a play area within a quarter of a mile of every
child; (3) preservation of stream valleys and correction of the
boundaries of Rock Creek Park.

The principal physical feature of the region is the Potomac River,
so it is natural that the corresponding feature of the park system
is along the river banks. Below Washington, where the broad lakelike
scenery exists, parkways are under construction or contemplated on
the Virginia side to Mount Vernon and on the Maryland shore to Fort
Washington. Above Washington a park is projected to preserve the
natural scenery of the Palisades, rapids, woodlands, and Great Falls
of the Potomac, together with the Patowmack Canal, built by George
Washington, and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal on the Maryland side of the

The Commission has taken an active part in the effort to have the
public buildings of Washington grouped and arranged not only for the
convenience and beauty of the result but also that they may fit into
the future plans for streets, highways, and parks, and thus promote
the orderly development of the city and region. When the first
important step in the public-buildings program was taken in 1926 the
Commission urged the purchase of all of the land necessary for a plan
of the group as a whole instead of undertaking individual building
projects as separate units in the scheme. The problems of parking and
transit facilities in relation to the public-buildings groups have
caused the Commission great concern, and efforts have been made to
secure the cooperation of the architects in charge of the building
program in order to solve these problems. In all of its activities
concerning the public-buildings program the Commission has been guided
by the principles announced by the plan of 1901, under which Federal
buildings will be concentrated along the axis of the Mall and about the
White House. The Commission has given favorable consideration to an
enlargement of this program by which semipublic buildings and possibly
State buildings might be located along East Capitol Street in order to
help the balance between the northwest and the eastern portions of the
city of Washington.

In the same way the Commission advises the appropriate authorities on
matters of zoning and control of use of private property. Zoning has
now been adopted not only in the District but also in the Maryland
suburban area and in Arlington County and Fairfax County, Va. Also
Alexandria has prepared a zoning plan. It is hoped that in the not
distant future other portions of the Maryland and Virginia areas may
be added to this list. In matters relating to zoning in the District,
the Commission has contributed statistical data and expert opinion, and
was particularly active in the segregation of single-family houses from
2-family and community groups.

In brief, it is the function of the Commission to revive, review, and
revise the efforts of past generations toward a “great and effective
city for the seat of our Government” and to keep that ideal constantly
before the public, to the end that each separate undertaking by the
countless public and private agencies concerned may be coordinated and
related to produce a result in which future generations may take pride.



Some one has said “the beauty of Washington is its trees.” No one
who has seen the thousands of trees in Washington and in the country
adjacent to the city can deny this. There is no national capital in
the world that has more beautiful trees than Washington. Those seen on
East Capitol Street are typical of the large massive trees throughout
the city. Thousands of them were planted during the Presidency of
General Grant, and it has been the policy of the District of Columbia
government to plant trees along streets opened for residential sections.


The climate of Washington, which is semitropical, permits the growth
of trees found both in the North and the South. Thus there are oak,
walnut, maple, and cedar trees amidst magnolias, Japanese cherry trees,
and the mountain laurel, to mention only a few. Congress has authorized
the establishment of a national arboretum in the National Capital,
which will comprise at least 500 acres and will be a most interesting
place for the planting of many varieties of trees and the study of
them. A plan to widen East Capitol Street and build a stadium on the
axis of the street in Anacostia Park is being made by the National
Capital Park and Planning Commission.


The citizens’ movement to connect by a boulevard a considerable part of
the Civil War defenses of Washington was incorporated in the plan of
1901. These old defenses, occupying strategic positions, are capable of
being converted into small parks of high excellence and availability,
and a connecting boulevard will have an added historic interest.
Of these so-called forts a number are already in possession of the
Government. Among those that have been purchased is Fort Stevens,
near the Army Medical Center, where during General Early’s raid, on
July 12, 1864, President Lincoln was under fire until ordered to the
rear by the officer in command. The Fort Drive is being developed
by the National Capital Park and Planning Commission. There will be
a continuous parkway of suitable width connecting the sites of the
following old forts: Fort Greble, Fort Carroll, Battery Ricketts, Fort
Stanton, Fort Wagner, Fort Baker, Fort Davis (United States owned),
Fort Dupont (United States owned), Fort Shaplin, A Battery, Fort Mahan,
Fort Bunker Hill, Fort Totten, Fort Slocum, Fort Stevens (United States
owned), Fort De Russye, Fort Bayard, Battery Kemble, Battery Vermont
(United States owned), and Battery Parrott. There is another Civil
War fortification in the Arlington National Cemetery, called Fort
McPherson, which is being preserved for its historic character. From it
a commanding view of the cemetery and of the river is obtained.



The water front of Washington is to be similar to the magnificent water
fronts of large cities of Europe. The plan provides for a quay, with
space for commercial piers, warehouses, steamboat offices, commercial
houses, boathouses, and recreational piers. There will be a beautiful
boulevard drive along “Water Street” which will connect with Anacostia
Park, also adequate street-railway accommodations. Washington has 18
miles of water front, and this will be a most interesting part of it.

It is proposed to replace all existing structures on the water front at
“Water Street,” with the exception of the Municipal Fish Wharf, with
modern buildings. Head houses and transit sheds are to be of brick and
tile, with slate roofs and of a modified colonial architecture. A total
of six wharves is projected for immediate construction and a portion of
the frontage available is to be reserved for future additions. Yacht
basins and small-boat anchorage are included in the plan. The plan has
been prepared by the United States Engineer Office, with the idea that
Washington is not primarily an industrial city, nor will it ever be, so
that railroad connections with the piers and slips were omitted. Such
industrial developments as might require ship-to-rail transfers can be
accommodated in other locations. Buzzards Point is to be developed for
maritime commercial uses.

Under the improvement program “Water Street” is to be made a 160-foot
boulevard, with separate lanes for traffic, street cars, and trucks,
and marginal and central landscaping. The old 4-line street-car lanes
on a portion of the street have been removed. To permit of direct
connection with East Potomac Park and the Highway Bridge, a bridge
is to be built just below the railroad crossing at the head of the
Washington Channel. Water Street is now Maine Avenue.


The cost of the entire project is estimated at $3,691,600. The report
was submitted by the Secretary of War to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives on November 26, 1929, and then was referred to the
Committee on Rivers and Harbors. The project is now under development.



The George Washington Memorial Parkway, designed by the National
Capital Park and Planning Commission, was authorized by the
Capper-Cramton Act, approved May 29, 1930, and carrying with it an
authorization of $33,500,000 for the development of a comprehensive
park, parkway, and playground area in the District of Columbia and the
surrounding regions of Maryland and Virginia. This parkway is designed
“to include the public control of both banks of the river between
Mount Vernon and Great Falls on the Virginia side and between Fort
Washington and Great Falls on the Maryland side, with the exception of
areas at Alexandria and in Washington which are reserved for commercial

This is a project in which both residents of the District of
Columbia and of the States of Maryland and Virginia may take equal
pride--namely, to preserve Great Falls and the banks of the Potomac,
so that the Potomac River, as it flows through the National Capital,
may flow through a continuous park from Great Falls to Mount Vernon.
Washington is to be envied in having so near to it such beautiful
scenery as the Palisades of the Potomac and Great Falls, which are said
to be “the finest specimens of nature in this part of the country.”
Already, along the Palisades of the Potomac, quarries have been
established and beautiful timber is being converted into lumber and
firewood. These invasions will in time destroy natural beauties that
can not be restored.




The route traverses a territory full of historic associations and
reminiscent of the days of Washington. About halfway between Washington
and Alexandria it passes close to the site of Abingdon, the home
of John Parke Custis, Mrs. Washington’s son. Here Nellie Custis,
Washington’s adopted daughter, was born. A beautiful view of the river
and a panorama of Washington and the north shore is seen from this
point. Also here the Potomac is being dredged, making new land for
Washington National Airport, to be the finest in the United States.
Work will be completed in 1941.


Passing on to Alexandria the route enters the city by Washington Street
and passes directly by Christ Church, where the Washington pew may
still be seen.

Alexandria was Washington’s own town. It was his market place, his post
office, and his voting place. It was the meeting place of the lodge of
Masons to which he belonged, and the lodge hall is now the repository
of a great many articles and paintings associated with him. The trowel,
square, and plumb bob used in laying the corner stone of the Capitol
may be seen here, as also the Bible used in the Masonic lodge of which
Washington was a member. Among many other things of historical interest
is a portrait of George Washington painted by W. Williams for the lodge.

There is scarcely a foot of ground in Alexandria that Washington did
not tread. The old quarters of the volunteer fire company to which
he belonged still stand. In Gadsby’s Inn, now the City Hotel, he
recruited the first company of provincial troops authorized by Governor
Dinwiddie, and with which he fought the Battle of Great Meadows.


In the ballroom of Gadsby’s Inn in 1798 was held the first celebration
of Washington’s birthday. From the steps of the same building he gave
his last military command to the Alexandria Light Infantry Blues; and
here, also, in November, 1799, less than 30 days before his death, he
cast his last vote.

At the Carlyle House, still standing, he received his appointment as an
officer in the British Army on General Braddock’s staff; and in this
house also, at the Convention of the Five Governors assembled to confer
with General Braddock, the first suggestion of colonial taxation was
made--a step which ultimately led to the revolt of the Colonies.

A short side trip from Washington Street down King Street takes the
traveler to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial, which has
been erected at the western outskirts of the town on Shooters Hill. It
is 333 feet high, and was designed by Harvey W. Corbett, architect.

Returning to Washington Street and proceeding southward the traveler
passes the Confederate Monument, and soon reaches the southern limits
of the town and passing within a stone’s throw of the first corner
stone of the District of Columbia, still standing on Jones Point.

Leaving Alexandria the route crosses Hunting Creek to Fort Hunt, thence
to the entrance gates of Mount Vernon.


The making of surveys, preparation of plans, and supervision of
construction have all been done by the Bureau of Public Roads of
the United States Department of Agriculture, and Gilmore D. Clarke,
Consulting Landscape Architect.


The location selected for the highway required the construction
of fills across approximately 2³⁄₄ miles of open water, which was
accomplished by pumping gravel and sand from the Potomac River.

The highway throughout its entire length, with the exception of the
section through Alexandria, has been designed to provide for a free
flow of traffic over a surface with a minimum width of 40 feet, and
where there is any volume of cross traffic it passes either under or
over the highway.

Except through the city of Alexandria, the highway follows closely the
shore of the Potomac River for the greater portion of the distance.
This situation affords beautiful vistas of Washington and the Potomac
River, which, in combination with the landscaping and development of
the project itself, make this highway a fitting tribute to the memory
of George Washington.


Below Alexandria the highway has been widened at points of outstanding
beauty, so that motorists can stop for a few minutes to enjoy the view.

The bridges in general are of reinforced-concrete arches, faced with
native stone laid in random bond. Special attention has been given to
harmonizing their lines with the general plan of development.


The intersection of the memorial highway with U. S. Highway No. 1 near
the beginning of the project has been so designed that a large volume
of traffic can flow from one highway to the other without crossing the
center line of either route.

A large parking area at Mount Vernon that will accommodate the
thousands of visitors to this national shrine has been provided, and a
concession building of colonial design has been erected to provide for
their comfort.



Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington the greater part of his
life, is situated along the historic Potomac, 14.7 miles south of the
city of Washington, which he was instrumental in founding, though
referring to it as the Federal City.



The history of Mount Vernon goes back to the time of Capt. John
Smith, who explored the regions of the Potomac River in 1608. Some 40
years later Scotch and Irish emigrants settled along the banks of the
Potomac, both on the Virginia and Maryland sides. In 1674 a tract of
5,000 acres, 15 miles south of Washington on the Virginia side of the
river, was granted by Lord Culpeper to John Washington and Nicholas
Spencer. Half of this tract was inherited by the half-brother of George
Washington, Lawrence Washington. Mount Vernon was built in 1743 by
Lawrence Washington, who named it after Admiral Vernon, under whom he
served. It occupies a most picturesque spot on high ground overlooking
the river, which it faces.

The mansion is well built. Its foundations are of stone and brick. The
framework is of oak and the sheathing of pine wood. Also much copper
was used in its construction. On the main floor is a central hall, a
music room, a family dining room, a sitting room, and parlor; also a
library and a banquet room, which were added by George Washington. On
the second floor is the room in which Washington died; also, among
several others, the Lafayette room. There are six bedrooms on the third
floor. The house is 96 feet long and 30 feet wide, with a portico 25
feet high; the height of the building to the cupola is about 50 feet.
Beautiful gardens are near by.

In 1752 Lawrence Washington died. Augustine Washington had provided
that in the case of Lawrence’s death without heirs Mount Vernon should
pass to George, and this provision Lawrence incorporated in his own
will. To his widow he left a life interest in the property, with a
reversion to his infant daughter, Sarah, who, as it happened, survived
her father only a few weeks. Thus there was only the widow’s life
interest to be considered. Anne Fairfax Washington lived until 1761,
and at her death George Washington became the proprietor of Mount
Vernon. The mansion was then enlarged for its new mistress, Martha
Dandridge Custis, whom he had married in 1759.

During Washington’s years of public life he longed for the day when
he could be at home at Mount Vernon with his beloved Martha and the
family. It was undoubtedly one of the very best-managed estates in the
Colonies, and Washington himself was regarded one of the richest men.
The main entrance to Mount Vernon was from the west, which gateway was
flanked by two porters’ lodges. The large portico on the east side
of the mansion was used for outdoor gatherings and entertainment of
visitors. Among the many guests entertained at Mount Vernon was the
distinguished young French patriot, General Lafayette. On the main
floor in a glass case hangs a key to the Bastille, sent by Lafayette to
Washington in 1790, with the message: “That the principles of America
opened the Bastille is not to be doubted, therefore the key comes to
the right place.”

Washington was called from Mount Vernon to serve his country on
three most noteworthy occasions, and each time after an interval of
several years: In 1775, when he was made Commander in Chief of the
Continental Army; in 1787, when he became president of the convention
in Philadelphia that framed the Federal Constitution; and in 1789, when
he became first President of the United States of America.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Army Air Corps._


[Illustration: MOUNT VERNON]

Washington died at Mount Vernon on December 14, 1799. Martha Washington
lived there during the remainder of her lifetime. On her death in
1802 the property was inherited by her nephew, Bushrod Washington, an
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Thereafter the estate suffered
for need of repairs. In 1858 the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of
the Union was organized. The association purchased the property for
$200,000 and to-day own and control Mount Vernon, including about 400
acres of the old estate.

[Illustration: TOMB OF WASHINGTON]

Mount Vernon each day is the place of pilgrimage of hundreds of
American and foreign visitors, who go there by motor or steamboat to
visit the mansion and see the many historical articles of interest that
once belonged to George Washington and his family and are now there on
exhibition, but more particularly do they go to Mount Vernon to pay
homage at the Washington tomb, which is near the mansion. Here also
Lafayette came on his second visit to the United States during 1824-25,
after an interval of almost 40 years.

The number of visitors at Mount Vernon for the year ended December 31,
1938, was 633,514.


After more than a century and a half of neglect, a group of patriotic
persons have within recent years taken steps to restore Wakefield,
the birthplace of George Washington, situated about 50 miles south of
Mount Vernon, along the Potomac, amidst beautiful landscapes between
Popes Creek and Bridges Creek. The Government erected a monument at the
site in 1895 to mark the birthplace and provided a watchman to care
for the grounds. Until within the past few years the little Government
reservation of 11 acres, acquired in 1882, was inaccessible because the
Government dock was washed away and the road leading into Wakefield
from the main highway was almost impassable. The State of Virginia
recently completed a sand and gravel road to the place. The new road,
about 2 miles in length, intersects the George Washington Highway from
Fredericksburg, between Oak Grove and Potomac Mills. The Wakefield
National Memorial Association (Inc.) has been organized to purchase the
lands at Wakefield and thus save them from threatened encroachments of
hunting and fishing clubs, which are now securing valuable sites along
the Potomac River. Thus the association is doing for Wakefield what
the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union accomplished for the
preservation of Mount Vernon.


Congress early in 1930 appropriated $50,000 toward erecting a colonial
house, typical of the Virginia houses at the time of George Washington.
Bricks for the house were made from the clay at Wakefield. The
construction work was carried out under the supervision of the National
Park Service of the Department of the Interior, which has jurisdiction
over the maintenance of Wakefield since the project of restoration was
completed. John D. Rockefeller, jr., gave $115,000 for the purchase of
267 acres, and the association purchased approximately 100 additional
acres. The association raised about $200,000.



The money, aside from the amounts spent to buy land, was expended
in erecting a house that is as nearly a replica of the original
birth house as could be planned on the basis of available data, in
restoring the gardens, and in protecting the ancient graveyard where
lie the remains of 31 members of the Washington family, including his
great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and brother, and to build a
resthouse at the site. The original house was built between 1717 and
1720, and was burned Christmas, 1780. From pieces of china found in
the ruins the celebrated Lenox china, showing the Washington coat of
arms, has been reproduced and made available to the public by the
Wakefield National Memorial Association. In the work of restoration the
association was led by its president, the late Mrs. Harry Lee Rust, of
Washington, D. C., who was a native of Westmoreland County, Va., and
spent her childhood days in the vicinity of the Washington estate. She
was a most indefatigable worker toward the realization of this project.

Wakefield was dedicated on February 11, 1932, the birthday of George
Washington (old style), which month marked the beginning of the George
Washington bicentennial celebration. Wakefield is known to-day as the
George Washington Birthplace National Monument.







At the west end of the Mall is the Lincoln Memorial. The site was
fixed by the McMillan Park Commission in 1901, which extended the Mall
area of the original L’Enfant plan west three-fourths of a mile to the
Potomac River. The site and surrounding area is known as Potomac Park.
The reclaimed land, about 640 acres, comprises West Potomac Park and
East Potomac Park (the island park).

Congress provided for the construction of the memorial to Abraham
Lincoln by an act approved February 9, 1911, following the centennial
year of the birth of Lincoln. The corner stone was laid February 12,
1915. The memorial is built of Colorado marble and cost $2,940,000.
It was dedicated May 30, 1922. Lincoln died in 1865, so that it was
57 years later that this memorial to him in the National Capital was
built. Henry Bacon, who died February 16, 1924, was the architect.

Very nearly 300,000 persons visited the Lincoln Memorial in the year
1923, and more than 1,000,000 in 1930. At present the daily average
of visitors is 3,000. It is a shrine in which those who love God and
country can find inspiration and repose.

The following is part of a technical description by the architect:

  From the beginning of my study I believed that this memorial to
  Abraham Lincoln should be composed of four features--a statue of the
  man, a memorial of his Gettysburg speech, a memorial of his second
  inaugural address, and a symbol of the Union of the United States,
  which he stated it was his paramount object to save--and which he
  did save. Each feature should be related to the other by means of
  its design and position, and each should be so arranged that it
  becomes an integral part of the whole, in order to attain a unity and
  simplicity in the appearance of the monument.

  Surrounding the walls inclosing these memorials of the man is planned
  a colonnade forming a symbol of the Union, each column representing
  a State--36 in all--for each State existing at the time of Lincoln’s
  death, and on the walls appearing above the colonnade, and supported
  at intervals by eagles, are 48 memorial festoons, one for each State
  existing at the present time.

  The colonnade is 188 feet long and 118 feet wide, the columns being
  44 feet high and 7 feet 8 inches in diameter at their base. The
  outside of the Memorial Hall is 84 feet wide and 156 feet long; the
  total height of the structure above the finished grade at the base of
  the terrace is 99 feet. The steps are 132 feet wide, leading to the
  entrance, which is flanked by tripods, each 11 feet high.

  The central hall, where the statue stands, is 60 feet wide, 70 feet
  long, and 60 feet high. The interior columns are of the Ionic order
  and are 50 feet high.



The statue of Abraham Lincoln, in the center of the Lincoln Memorial,
is by Daniel Chester French.

It represents Abraham Lincoln as the great war President, with mental
and physical strength and confidence in his ability to bring the Nation
safely through the great conflict.

President Lincoln is seated in a great armchair 12¹⁄₂ feet high, over
the back of which a flag has been draped. The figure of Lincoln is 19
feet high from the top of his head to the sole of his boot. The head
measures 3 feet in height. The boot is 3¹⁄₂ feet long, and from the
boot to the kneecap the distance is 8 feet. The pedestal, which is
18 feet 2 inches wide and 19 feet deep, rests on a marble platform
34¹⁄₂ feet wide and 28 feet deep. The statue weighs 150 tons; with its
pedestal and base it rises to a height of 30 feet; and without the
pedestal it is 21 feet in height.

The statue is of Georgia marble, was cut by Piccirilli Bros.,
marble-cutters, of New York City, and four years were required for its
completion. The pedestal and base are of Tennessee marble.

Over the head of Lincoln is the inscription--


The interior is lighted through translucent panels of marble and by
the great front opening. Recently a special system of lighting was


The two decorations by Jules Guerin representing Emancipation and
Reunion are painted on canvas. Each canvas weighs 600 pounds and is 60
feet long and 18 feet wide. The figures, of which there are 46 in the
two panels, are 8¹⁄₂ feet high and were painted by the artist without
assistance. Almost as many models as figures were used. The head of
Mr. Bacon, the architect, appears in the decoration on the north wall,
being the fourth figure in the group at the left of the angel.

The decorations are absolutely weatherproof, the paint being mixed with
white wax and kerosene. The wax hardens but does not allow the paint to
crack. Chemically it is similar to the wax, still pliable, which was
found in the tombs of the Kings of Egypt. The decorations are affixed
to the wall with a mixture of white lead and Venetian varnish.



The Lincoln Memorial, while it terminates the Mall composition, has
a position similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, in that from it
radiate drives and parkways in all directions--the Rock Creek Parkway
to the north; westward across the Memorial Bridge to the Arlington
National Cemetery, connecting also with the Mount Vernon Highway, the
Lee Highway, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway; southward to
East Potomac Park; and eastward along the Mall to the Capitol. The
whole area is a remarkable achievement in city planning and shows what
can be done with reclaimed land, for 20 to 25 years ago all the land
surrounding the Lincoln Memorial was swampy.

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Basin is 2,000 feet long and 160 feet
wide. It has an average depth of about 3¹⁄₂ feet and reflects the
entire Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. It is lined with
trees and walks that will ultimately extend to the Capitol. The beauty
of the future Mall treatment between the Capitol and the Washington
Monument is indicated by the development between the Washington
Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

The water gate is a part of the great Lincoln Memorial composition. It
consists of granite steps 206 feet wide at the top and 230 feet wide at
the bottom.

Constitution Avenue will be the great “Memorial Boulevard” from the
Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, and thence to Arlington National

Immediately to the south of the reflecting basin on the north and south
axis is the marble band stand erected as the District of Columbia World
War Memorial.


The Arlington Memorial Bridge was built under the supervision of
the Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission, of which the President is
chairman. The Commission of Fine Arts was consulted and advised as to
the plans.

The project of building the Arlington Memorial Bridge has been
before Congress since 1884. Previous to that time Daniel Webster, in
an address on July 4, 1851, at the laying of the corner stone for
enlarging the United States Capitol, referred to it as follows:

  Before us is the broad and beautiful river, separating two of the
  original thirteen States, which a late President, a man of determined
  purpose and inflexible will, but patriotic heart, desired to span
  with arches of ever-enduring granite, symbolical of the firmly
  established union of the North and the South. That President was
  General Jackson.


The need of a bridge direct to Arlington National Cemetery was most
urgently felt on Armistice Day, November 11, 1921, when the remains
of the Unknown Soldier were entombed. Led by President Harding
and officials of this Government and of many foreign countries,
thousands of people who made the trip to Arlington did so under most
difficult circumstances, because of the crowded traffic conditions.
The Commission of Fine Arts was in session at the time, and at once
recommended to Congress the preparation of plans for an Arlington
Memorial Bridge, with an initial appropriation of $25,000. Congress
responded quickly and made the appropriation available for expenditure
by the Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission, by act approved June
12, 1922. On April 22, 1924, the commission submitted to Congress a
comprehensive report on the subject and a set of approved plans that
contemplated an expenditure of $14,750,000 for the project. Congress
adopted the report and plans and has made the necessary funds available
for the construction work as fast as the project developed. The
architects of the bridge are McKim, Mead & White, of New York City, who
are noted for the many great and beautiful classical structures they
have built throughout the United States, as the Boston Public Library,
the library at Columbia University, the Pennsylvania Railroad Station
in New York City, and the McKinley Memorial at Niles, Ohio. This firm
also had charge of the building of additions to the White House during
the administration of President Roosevelt.


[Illustration: BISON HEAD]

The bridge extends from the Lincoln Memorial to Columbia Island, has a
length of 2,138 feet, and is 90 feet wide, the width of Fifth Avenue in
New York City. The bridge has been built as low as possible, consistent
with good proportions, in order not to interfere with the view of the
Lincoln Memorial from Columbia Island. There are 6 lanes on the bridge,
each 10 feet wide, and 2 sidewalks, each 15 feet wide. The balustrade
is 4 feet high. Suitable lighting is also provided.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Horydczak_


The bridge has 9 segmental arches of 166-foot span at the ends of the
bridge and spreading gradually to 184 feet at the center. The terminal
arches rise to a point 28 feet above average water height, increasing
gradually to 35 feet in the central arch. The piers are 32 feet wide
and are firmly embedded in rock 35 feet below water. The superstructure
is built of North Carolina granite.

[Illustration: EAGLE AND FASCES]

At the entrance to the bridge at the Lincoln Memorial there will be two
large sculptural groups, each 16 feet high. The pylons at the Columbia
Island end of the bridge, which are 35 feet high, are surmounted by
eagles 8 feet high, each cut out of a solid block of granite, according
to the design of C. Paul Jennewein, sculptor.

At the sides of the bridge appear large sculptured disks, each 12 feet
in diameter, and at the keystone of the arches there are buffalo heads
6 feet in height. These were also designed by Mr. Jennewein.

The two sculptural groups at the entrance to the bridge will be
symbolic of War. They were designed by Leo Friedlander, sculptor. At
the entrance to the Rock Creek Parkway there will be two sculptural
groups symbolic of Peace and the arts of Peace, designed by James E.
Fraser, sculptor. There will be appropriate inscriptions carved on the



At the center of the bridge is a drawspan, each leaf of which has
a length of 92 feet, the height of an 8-story building. One minute
is required for opening and closing the drawspan, which is operated
by electricity. Each leaf weighs 6,000 tons. It is in itself an
interesting achievement in bridge engineering.

From Columbia Island westward there is the boundary channel bridge.
From there to the Arlington National Cemetery is a memorial parkway
240 feet wide, 2,200 feet in length, lighted, lined with planting, and
providing space at intervals for memorials.

At Arlington National Cemetery there is a large memorial entrance, from
which walks and driveways lead to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at
the Memorial Amphitheater and to Arlington House.


Not only was the Arlington Memorial Bridge built in a period of 7
years, but one of the finest compositions in city planning has been
carried out in connection with it. In addition to the treatment on
Columbia Island Plaza and the approach to Arlington National Cemetery,
there is also the great plaza at the approach to the bridge at the
Lincoln Memorial, a sea wall for the Riverside Drive leading to it, and
the water gate--steps of granite 215 feet wide--nearby.

The bridge was dedicated and opened for travel in 1932.



The park system of the National Capital is under the jurisdiction of
the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

Since 1871 in many ways, particularly municipal affairs, the National
Capital has been in the lead among American cities. Having begun with
a logical and well-thought-out plan for the original city, the new
Federal City was provided with an ample system of public reservations
and parks.

However, in the early days of the city there was so much unoccupied
land that it was hard to believe there would ever be any necessity
for parks and open spaces developed and maintained at public expense.
For three-quarters of a century Washington was so spread out within
the borders of the original plan that the street rights-of-way and
public grounds reserved by the L’Enfant plan seemed to be entirely
out of scale with the needs of the city and were looked upon by some
as a burden rather than as a benefit. It was not until the increase
in population, which has continued steadily since the Civil War, and
the congestion of the streets in recent years with automobiles and a
great volume of traffic, that the building lots have been occupied with
structures and the full width of the streets needed for traffic, so
that the public reservations have become the only refuge for the play
of children and the recreation of older people.

It is, therefore, easy to understand the lack of appreciation of the
city park system during the first half of the nineteenth century. A
few far-sighted individuals only realized the necessity for preserving
these reservations until they would be needed as breathing spaces in a
thickly settled city, and they had to wage a persistent and hard-fought
campaign through the years against those who constantly wanted to sell
off the public reservations for building development of some kind or
other, or to have the Government itself use them for buildings. In the
two or three cases in which the latter was done we now have reason
to regret it; in a few cases in which the reservations were sold
the Government is now having to buy them back at considerable cost.
It was not a matter of little importance which led President Thomas
Jefferson to exclaim: “How I wish that I possessed the power of a
despot.” The company at the table stared at a declaration so opposed
to his disposition and principles. “Yes,” continued he, in reply to
their inquiring looks, “I wish I was a despot, that I might save the
noble, the beautiful trees that are daily falling sacrifices to the
cupidity of their owners, or the necessity of the poor.” “And have
you not authority to save those on the public grounds?” asked one of
the company. “No,” answered Mr. Jefferson, “only an armed guard could
save them. The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the growth of
centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder; it pains me to
an unspeakable degree.”


The same desire to cut down trees in order to make room for more
concrete and masonry persists to this day and can only be controlled
by constant vigilance. The importance of open spaces and city parks,
developed into beauty spots by the art of the landscape architect,
should be evident to all.

As a matter of fact, perhaps the most unusual and original feature
of the L’Enfant plan was the idea of building the city about two
coordinate axes of parks--one a park system nearly a third of a mile
wide, leading from the Capitol westward to the Potomac River, and
the other the same width, leading from the White House south to the
river, with the Washington Monument at their intersection. This was an
innovation and a departure from the usual development of a city about
a commercial street--a main street or a market street. Provision was
made in the plan for such a great commercial street on the diagonal
of the triangle, the avenue joining the Capitol with the White House,
and named Pennsylvania Avenue, for the State in which the Federal
Government had up to then spent the greater part of its life.

Much of the Mall leading westward from the Capitol was unfortunately
taken up by the estuary of Tiber Creek, which overflowed at high tide.
It was the intention of Major L’Enfant and his urgent recommendation
that this creek be confined to a canal which he proposed to construct
along the northern part of the proposed park. This canal would not
only afford water transportation for heavy and bulky materials to and
from the business part of the city but at the same time would be a
water feature of the proposed park. Unfortunately, while the canal was
built, Tiber Creek was not entirely confined to it, and its estuary
was allowed to continue to overflow the Mall area and thus delay its

When the Washington Monument was located, instead of being placed
at the exact intersection of the two park axes, it was placed on a
natural hill near by which was safely above tide level. The idea of an
avenue from the Capitol to the Washington Monument seems to have been
abandoned for many years, and when the Smithsonian Institution was
built in the Mall the plan made by A. J. Downing was adopted for the
entire Mall, superseding that of L’Enfant. These were the days when the
so-called naturalistic park development was in vogue, and everything
had to be consciously picturesque. No road or path could be straight,
and no regularity in planting or plan was tolerated. The L’Enfant plan
was again disregarded in laying out the Department of Agriculture
grounds in 1867. With the avenue of the Mall out of the picture, there
was no reason apparent to those in authority for refusing permission
to the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. to run its tracks across the Mall and
build its passenger station in the Mall itself, at Sixth Street.

It was this station, however, which brought about the restudy of the
plan of Washington and the return to the Mall development in accordance
with L’Enfant’s principles, for Col. Theodore A. Bingham, then in
charge of Public Buildings and Grounds, on hearing that legislation was
about to be passed authorizing the railroad to build a viaduct across
the Mall to this station, and realizing that this expensive structure
would probably make the carrying out of L’Enfant’s plan impossible,
got the plan out of the files and started a campaign to prevent the
legislation from passing and to rehabilitate the authority of the
L’Enfant plan. He was fortunate in finding those among his superiors
who appreciated the situation, and in securing the very wise and
effective help of Senator McMillan and of the American Institute of

Indeed, the interest in the National Capital, excited in this way
and more or less focused upon it by the centenary of its occupation
as the seat of the Federal Government, resulted in the McMillan Park
Commission of 1901 and its very valuable recommendations for the
development and beautification of the National Capital. In recent years
the development of the Mall in accordance with the plan of 1901 has
been authorized by Congress and is being carried on step by step as it
becomes possible in connection with the public-buildings program.

The smaller reservations and parks suffered neglect equally, as
was to be expected. In making his plan L’Enfant had located public
reservations at various important street and avenue intersections.
Where more than two streets crossed at one point, a circle or square to
take up and distribute the traffic among the various streets was almost
necessary, or at least would be necessary to-day, and it is fortunate
that what L’Enfant did for appearance should now be proving to have
real utilitarian value. His own ideas about the purpose and function of
these squares are expressed in his report, as follows:

  The center of each Square will admit of Statues, Columns, Obelisks,
  or any other ornament such as the different States may choose to
  erect: to perpetuate not only the memory of such individuals whose
  counsels or Military achievements were conspicuous in giving liberty
  and independence to this Country; but also those whose usefulness
  hath rendered them worthy of general imitation, to invite the youth
  of succeeding generations to tread in the paths of those sages, or
  heroes whom their country has thought proper to celebrate.

  The situation of these Squares is such that they are the most
  advantageously and reciprocally seen from each other and as equally
  distributed over the whole City district, and connected by spacious
  avenues round the grand Federal Improvements and as contiguous to
  them, and at the same time as equally distant from each other, as
  circumstances would admit. The Settlements round those Squares must
  soon become connected.

  This mode of taking possession of and improving the whole district at
  first must leave to posterity a grand idea of the patriotic interest
  which prompted it.

While Lafayette Park, in front of and north of the White House, was
graded as early as 1826, it was not planted and really developed as
a park for some time after that. In 1853 the Clark Mills statue of
Jackson was placed in it as its central feature.

Similarly, the equestrian statue of Washington brought about the
improvement of Washington Circle at the westerly end of Pennsylvania
Avenue. Garfield Park, now one of the most beautiful parks in the
city, was graded and to some extent improved in 1838, in connection
with its use as a nursery for trees to ornament the public grounds and
Pennsylvania Avenue.

A botanic garden, which had been talked about from the very first,
and was finally brought to a head by the necessity for providing for
the botanic collection of the Smithsonian Institution, was gradually
established at the east end of the Mall between First and Third
Streets. It did not become a really important feature of public benefit
to the city until 1852, when it was placed in the hands of William
R. Smith, who had had experience in Kew Gardens in England and made
sufficient progress for the Botanic Garden to be described in 1859 “as
a pleasant place to visit, with gravel walks, bordered with box, rare
plants, and trees.”

How little these parks were needed then to give the requisite touch of
nature in urban surroundings and to what extent the National Capital
still retained its character of a few scattered settlements in the
midst of farm land is shown by the fact that the one or two which had
been improved had to be fenced in to protect their young trees and
shrubs against the cattle, goats, and sheep that roamed the streets.
As late as 1870 the danger to pedestrians from the domestic animals
allowed at large was the subject of protest in formal speeches in
Congress. During the Civil War many of the public reservations were
used for camps, hospitals, and drill grounds, which use naturally did
not help their appearance.

While the parks and reservations not used by the Federal Government
remained relatively unimproved and in the condition of unsightly
village commons, the grounds around the public buildings of the
Federal Government were given a little more attention and were
gradually improved. The north grounds of the White House were fixed
up in Jefferson’s administration and rearranged from time to time
subsequently, but so little importance was attached to appearances that
the south grounds of the White House remained unimproved through the
first half of the century. It was not until after the Civil War that
real importance was attached to the beautification of the grounds and
the systematic planting of trees in the streets. The public buildings
and grounds were turned over to the Chief of Engineers in 1867, and
since that time have received a great deal more attention than ever
before. In 1898 the municipal parks were transferred from the city
government to the Chief of Engineers and have been systematically
improved since.

With the street trees and the improved city parks scattered about the
central part of the city, Washington has acquired a characteristic
appearance of its own and offers the charm and amenities which other
American cities were not wise enough to provide for themselves.

As the city grew outside of the original plan, a few projects for large
and extensive parks were adopted. The beautiful Rock Creek Valley
was purchased for a park and for the Zoological Garden under the act
approved September 27, 1890; and provision was made by the act approved
August 2, 1882, for the filling in of the Potomac tidal flats. This
latter project has developed nearly 1,000 acres of reclaimed park land
extensively used for recreation of all kinds. It also extended the axis
of the Mall about three-fourths of a mile beyond what was originally
planned, thus affording a suitable terminal in the site for the Lincoln

In 1893 the evils of new, rapidly growing subdivisions outside the
limits of the L’Enfant plan--laid out without any regard to the
latter--were sufficiently recognized to bring about the passage
of legislation for making a highway or street plan of the entire
District of Columbia. This law was further amended in 1898 and
resulted in a street layout followed ever since, with modifications
from time to time. But this, being a street plan, made no provision
for the extension of the system of city parks into the new territory,
nor for merging the newly authorized major park projects with the
street system. Hence one of the major duties with which the McMillan
Commission was charged in 1901 was the design of appropriate parks
outside of the L’Enfant plan.

The high talents and national reputation of the members of this
commission insured that their recommendations for the beautification
and development of the Capital would really be a new, grand, basic
plan. After mature study, in the light of the finest examples the world
had produced, this commission reinstated the authority of the L’Enfant
plan and carried it to its logical conclusions in new territory. This
action reflected credit not only on the genius of L’Enfant but also on
the commission itself, which had the wisdom to recognize the supreme
merit of the original plan and the good sense, and modesty, to build
upon it.

However, the 1901 commission’s plan never received general legislative
sanction, and approval of some of its individual major projects was
obtained only after great effort and much urging by the executive
authorities and some far-sighted Members of the Congress. First, the
railroads arranged for a Union Station (1903), and the Pennsylvania
Railroad Co. removed its tracks and station from the Mall, so that
to-day the traveler by rail enters the city through a great monumental
portal and finds himself in sight of the Capitol. In 1913 the Rock
Creek and Potomac Parkway was authorized, to connect the Rock Creek
Valley with the Potomac Park system. In 1911 the Lincoln Memorial and
the development of the Mall between it and the Washington Monument
were provided for. A law approved in 1901 provided for construction
of the General Grant Memorial at the east end of the Mall at the base
of Capitol Hill, while a memorial to Gen. George G. Meade, located in
relation to the Grant Memorial, was subsequently (1926) accepted from
the State of Pennsylvania. In 1924 the Arlington Memorial Bridge was

[Illustration: PARK AREAS ACQUIRED TO JULY 1, 1938]

In 1910 the National Commission of Fine Arts was set up to--

  advise upon the location of statues, fountains, and monuments in the
  public squares, streets, and parks in the District of Columbia, and
  upon the selection of models for statues, fountains, and monuments
  erected under the authority of the United States and upon the
  selection of the artists for the execution of the same.

This commission, which has numbered in its membership the greatest
architects and artists of the country, has helped greatly not only in
raising the standard of the public works of art but also in securing
the adoption of important parts of the 1901 plan.

With the general paving of streets, the filling of vacant lots with
houses, and the increasing automobile traffic, it became necessary
to provide safe play places for children and necessary recreation
facilities for adults. In response to this demand, a system of
playgrounds was adopted and a playgrounds department set up in 1911.

While all these projects were good and necessary, they failed to keep
pace with the needs of the rapidly growing city. Intrusted to different
executive authorities, these efforts could not be properly coordinated,
and occasionally were designed without the fullest consideration of
other projects affected by them. The proposed system of playgrounds was
not extended as intended, and even if it had been would have proved
inadequate. Lands recommended for park use in 1901 were built on with
expensive improvements and put to private or commercial uses.

The progress made in the quarter century 1901 to 1926 was so
unsatisfactory that a Park and Planning Commission was established
(1924, amended 1926)--

  to develop a comprehensive, consistent, and coordinated plan for
  the National Capital and its environs in the States of Maryland and
  Virginia, to preserve the flow of water in Rock Creek, to prevent
  pollution of Rock Creek and the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, to
  preserve forests and natural scenery in and about Washington, and to
  provide for the comprehensive, systematic, and continuous development
  of park, parkway, and playground systems of the National Capital and
  its environs * * *.

Besides its city-planning work, this commission recommended a complete
system of city parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers, as well as a
system of regional parks.

The main new city park feature is a circumferential parkway joining
the old Civil War forts built to defend the city against attack,
but now too near urban development to be of any military efficacy.
But the sites of the forts themselves, besides the interest of the
remains of the military works, are excellently suited for local
parks, and because of their commanding positions afford many unique
and magnificent views, while the drive joining them, besides giving
opportunity for an unusually picturesque pleasure drive, will provide
very much-needed cross connections of great traffic value between the
radial streets entering the city.

There is to be a series of neighborhood recreation centers from 10 to
20 acres in size for each residential community, with playgrounds for
small children interspersed at intervals of about half a mile. The
recreation system is to comprise fields for major sports and swimming
pools and constitutes a reasonable effort to meet the policy that
“every child shall have a place to play.”

The regional park system contemplates the acquisition of the shores
of the Potomac from Mount Vernon to and including Great Falls as
a memorial park in memory of George Washington. This will include
an area of unique historical and scenic value of such picturesque
attractiveness as can not be found in such close proximity to any other
great city, and a possible natural playground within reach of millions
of the city dwellers of the Atlantic seaboard.

The new memorial highway to Mount Vernon is an important element of
this project, which was completed in 1932. In the north end of the
project, near Great Falls, are the remains of the Old Potomack Canal,
of which George Washington himself supervised the construction, while
on the Maryland shore is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, formally
initiated by President John Quincy Adams in 1828, and a most perfect
example of the type of canal which brought about the development of our
country in the first half of the nineteenth century. Its quiet waters
and overgrown towpath and banks have unusual charm and afford a most
charming and interesting contrast with the torrential river below in
its rugged canyon.

As a natural terminal on the Maryland bank of the river, nearly
opposite Mount Vernon, is picturesque old Fort Washington designed by
Major L’Enfant after the War of 1812, and one of the best-preserved
forts of this type in the South Atlantic States. From its parapet
one can enjoy one of the best views of the Capital City L’Enfant so
gloriously and successfully planned.

The regional park system also proposes the extension of Rock Creek
Park into Maryland and various other similar connections with projects
in the District of Columbia. Perhaps the most important is the
opportunity for a parkway, like the Bronx Parkway, between Washington
and Baltimore, following up the Anacostia Valley, Northwest Branch, and
Indian Creek.

The recommendations of the National Capital Park and Planning
Commission as to parks were given legislative sanction by the act
approved May 29, 1930, and are being carried out as fast as funds
are made available. The opportunities here for a nearly ideal park
and playground system are so unusual that the entire country must
be interested in seeing their early completion. Other cities can
have monumental buildings, but no other large city can still have at
reasonable cost the park and recreational facilities essential to the
amenities of life and the raising of a new generation under conditions
assuring, for poor and rich alike, a sound mind in a sound body.



The L’Enfant plan shows the ground now known as Lafayette Park, or
Lafayette Square, comprising about 7 acres, to have been a part of the
President’s Park, extending on the north side from H Street southward
to the Monument Grounds, between Fifteenth and Seventeenth Streets.
Similarly, the subsequent Ellicott plan and the Dermott plan make
provision for such a spacious park to surround the President’s House.
These plans show no street dividing Lafayette Park from the White House

When L’Enfant prepared his plan this was a neglected area, a common
without trees. A race course was laid out, in 1797, on the west side of
the grounds, extending westward to Twentieth Street. Huts for workmen
who helped build the President’s House were erected on the grounds, and
when these were removed a market was established there. This was later
relocated farther to the center of the town, on Pennsylvania Avenue,
between Seventh and Ninth Streets. Thomas Jefferson first undertook
really to improve the grounds and marked the east and west limits as
they are to-day, called Madison Place and Jackson Place, respectively.

Until 1816 the only important building that had been erected adjacent
to Lafayette Park was St. John’s Church. Then, in 1818, the Dolly
Madison House was built, and in 1819 the Decatur House. From then on
and for more than 50 years following Lafayette Park became the center
of social life in Washington. Nearly every house surrounding it became
noted for its historical associations. However, the park seems to have
been neglected the greater part of this period. In 1840 there was an
ordinary fence around it.

Just when this park area took the name of Lafayette Park is not
definitely known. As has been said, originally this area was a part
of the President’s Park, and D. B. Warden, in his volume entitled
“Description of the District of Columbia,” published in 1816, refers
to it as such by saying, in connection with rates of fare for hackney

  From the President’s Square to Greenleaf’s Point, and also to Hamburg
  Wharf, or to the western limits of the city, the rate is but 25
  cents, and half the distance one-half that sum.

In his voluminous history of Lafayette Square, Gist Blair states--

  Its name has come from the people and arose after this visit of
  Lafayette to the city in 1824.


Again, speaking of the many social events held in Washington during
this visit of Lafayette, Mr. Blair says:

  Socially, the season of 1824-25 was the most brilliant Washington had
  seen, so it is natural to understand how everyone at this time may
  have started to call this square Lafayette Square.

In the office of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior,
there is a map dated 1852, on which Lafayette Park is shown to be
separated from the White House Grounds. The first printed report of the
Commissioner of Public Buildings, on file in that office, is of the
year 1857. In that report there is a reference to Lafayette Square with
an account of certain work being done there in that year.

During more than a quarter of a century past the grounds have been
properly maintained as a park. To-day there are five notable monuments
in Lafayette Park; namely, the Jackson, Lafayette, Rochambeau, Von
Steuben, and the Kosciuszko.


It is of interest to note from the L’Enfant plan of 1791 the absence
of land in the area known to-day as West and East Potomac Parks.
Seventy-five years ago the area had developed into a marshy region,
which became so malarial as to affect seriously the health of residents
of the city. In 1901 the McMillan Park Commission decided to extend
the axis of the Mall westward three-fourths of a mile, and as a result
one of the greatest and most remarkable developments in city planning
has been accomplished, for at that time, in connection with the park
improvement project, the location of the Lincoln Memorial and the
Arlington Memorial Bridge was determined upon in plan, together with
the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway development. The dredging of these
swampy regions by the United States Engineer Office resulted in the
creation of West Potomac Park, comprising 394 acres.

East Potomac Park is located along the Potomac River not far from the
Lincoln Memorial and has developed during the past few years into the
most prominent recreational park of the city. The golf course, field
house, and picnic groves are features of the park. It is one of the
three great island parks of the world and comprises 327 acres of land
reclaimed from the Potomac River, with a water front of 3⁵⁄₈ miles. The
park is bounded by a motor drive, which is lined with Japanese cherry
trees. A canal to cross the park, connecting Washington Channel with
the Potomac River, is in plan.


The Japanese cherry trees along the Tidal Basin and the Potomac Park
Driveway attract thousands of visitors to Washington during the cherry
blossom season, which is early in April of each year. They are the gift
of the city of Tokyo to the National Capital. Upon arrival the first
consignment of 2,000 trees was found to be infected by fungous diseases
and insect pests, and thereupon they were destroyed. In the winter
of 1911-12 the city of Tokyo renewed the gift, and in March, 1912, a
consignment of 3,020 trees arrived in Washington. These were examined
by experts of the Department of Agriculture and pronounced healthy



Arrangements were made immediately for planting them. Mrs. William
Howard Taft planted the first tree and Viscountess Chinda the second
early in April. When the news was received in Japan that the trees had
been successfully planted, the following message from Mayor Ozaki, of
Tokyo, was received:

  It will remain to the citizens of Tokyo a pleasing memory as well as
  civic pride that their small offering will be permitted to contribute
  to the advancement of the beautiful Capital of the great Republic
  which they all admire.

The cherry trees of Washington are almost entirely of the flowering
species, of the single and double blossom varieties; the former,
planted at the edge of the Tidal Basin, appear first. There they are
near, also, to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial,
and with their tinted blossoms present a charming vista. The
double-flowering variety in East Potomac Park appears about two weeks


Meridian Hill Park is located between Fifteenth and Sixteenth and W
and Euclid Streets NW. It comprises about 12 acres. The design for
improving the park has been completed and approved and a large-scale
model of the southern portion prepared for special study in carrying
out the details.

In design Meridian Hill Park is similar to an Italian garden,
containing an upper and a lower garden, and as a formal garden of its
kind there is no other like it in the United States. The upper garden
extends from Euclid Street about 900 feet south on a practically level
stretch of mall to the grand terrace, which forms the cross axis of
the park. Concert groves and promenades, with niches for statues and
monuments in the hemlock hedge, are features of the upper garden. This
part of the park has been for the most part completed.

From the terrace a commanding view of the city is obtained. Immediately
to the south is a cascade, descending to a pool in the lower garden.
East of the pool there is a statue of President Buchanan, erected by
authority of Congress as the gift of Harriet Lane Johnston to the
United States. In the lower garden there is also a great exedra,
forming the main point from which to view the cascades. Along the sides
of the lower garden are walks amidst planting, leading to the upper
garden. The main entrance to Meridian Hill Park is on Sixteenth Street.
A tablet here suggests the name given to the park. It bears this


[Illustration: MAP OF ROCK CREEK PARK]

On the grand terrace is a copy of the famous Dubois statue of Jeanne
d’Arc, given by the Société des Femmes de France à New York to the
National Capital. There is also a statue of Dante in the lower garden,
the gift of Chevalier Carlo Barsotti, editor of a leading Italian
newspaper of New York City. An armillary sphere is in the great exedra
of the lower garden.

While a million dollars could not buy the land occupied by Meridian
Hill Park, it is of interest to know that for the 110 acres, which
extended from what is now Florida Avenue to Columbia Road and east of
Sixteenth Street, Commodore Porter paid $13,000 in 1816.


One of the largest and most beautiful natural parks in the world
is Rock Creek Park, extending from the William Howard Taft Bridge
northward to the boundary line of the District of Columbia, and
comprising 1,632 acres. Congress authorized the creation of the park
in 1890, with an appropriation of $10,000. Adjacent to the park is the
National Zoological Park.




The plan for the development of this project provides for the
reclamation of what are known as the Anacostia Flats, along the
Anacostia River, on the east side of the District of Columbia, into
Anacostia Park, of 1,100 acres. The distance from the point near the
War College to the District line is about 6 miles. The park will be one
of the largest and most beautiful waterside parks in this country. The
breaking of ground for the park took place August 2, 1923.

As has been related, more than three centuries ago, or in the summer
of 1608, Capt. John Smith, in an exploration of the tributaries of
the Chesapeake Bay, landed on these very banks. He found a tribe of
peaceful Indians, the Nacotchtant (Anacostans), numbering some 80 men,
kind and well disposed, who did their best to content Captain Smith and
his fellow explorers. These Indians no doubt made their home in this
neighborhood on account of the abundance of game.

One of the largest water-lily gardens, the Shaw Lily Gardens, is
situated opposite Mount Hamilton, on the east side of the Anacostia
River. It is thought these ultimately will become part of the Anacostia
Park. The Anacostia is also a popular place for fishing, and it is
expected fish ponds will be established there later.

A large stadium and playground at the end of East Capitol Street,
adjoining Anacostia Park, is proposed. The National Arboretum will be
adjacent to it from Mount Hamilton eastward.


The movement to establish a National Arboretum was first definitely
proposed by Hon. James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, in his report
for the fiscal year 1899--

  One in which can be brought together for study all the trees that
  will grow in Washington, D. C., * * * furnishing complete material
  for the investigations of the Department of Agriculture, and so
  managed as to be a perennial means of botanical education.

In 1918 the Commission of Fine Arts, at the request of the House
Committee on the Library, made a study of the problem of the location
of a proposed botanical garden and arboretum. After an elaborate
study, conducted with the help of the Department of Agriculture, the
commission recommended the purchase of Mount Hamilton and adjacent
land, and Hickey Hill, together with the lands between those heights
and the Anacostia marshes, in northeast Washington. The report of the
commission encountered opposition, but its logic has prevailed.


The act providing for the establishment of the National Arboretum,
approved March 4, 1927, is one of the few measures that survived the
filibuster in the Senate on the closing day of that session, because of
the untiring efforts of Senator Charles L. McNary, of Oregon, chairman
of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. Hon. Robert
Luce, chairman of the Committee on the Library, handled the bill in
the House of Representatives. The sum of $300,000 was authorized by
the act for the National Arboretum, and this amount was subsequently
appropriated. The act provided also for the appointment by the
Secretary of Agriculture of an advisory council in relation to the plan
and development of the National Arboretum. To serve on this council the
Secretary of Agriculture appointed the following persons:

Frederic A. Delano, Washington, D. C., member of the Board of Regents,
Smithsonian Institution.

Henry S. Graves, New Haven, Conn., dean of the School of Forestry, Yale
University; fellow of the Society of American Foresters; and formerly
president of the American Forestry Association.

Harlan P. Kelsey, Salem, Mass., member and former president of the
American Association of Nurserymen.

John C. Merriam, Washington, D. C., president of the Carnegie
Institution of Washington; member of the National Academy of Sciences
and of the National Research Council.

Mrs. Frank B. Noyes, Washington, D. C., chairman of the District of
Columbia committee of the Garden Club of America.

Frederick Law Olmsted, Brookline, Mass., member and former president of
the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Mrs. Harold I. Pratt, Glen Cove, Long Island, N. Y., secretary of the
Garden Club of America.

Robert Pyle, West Grove, Pa., president of the American Horticultural
Society and a director of the Society of American Florists and
Ornamental Horticulturists.

Vernon Kellogg, permanent secretary of the National Research Council.

It is proposed to purchase about 500 acres, 400 of which, including
Mount Hamilton and adjacent portions of Anacostia Park, have already
been secured. Thirty-two distinct varieties of soils suited to the
growth of trees and plants have been found in this area.

Due to mild climatic conditions in Washington, at the gateway of the
South, where there is neither the extreme cold of the North nor the
extreme heat of the South, many varieties of trees and plants of
both North and South will grow, making it one of the most favorable
localities in the United States for the establishment of a National
Arboretum. Many countries which have established an arboretum in their
capital cities have provided not only an attractive place of public
interest but also the source of millions of dollars in revenue.






When the seat of government was moved from Philadelphia to Washington
in the year 1800 there had been erected for the purposes of the
Government a small rectangular building, familiarly known to-day as
the Supreme Court section of the Capitol, and in this building were
housed the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court,
the courts of the District of Columbia, and the library, now known as
the Library of Congress. South of this building was a large vacant
space, practically the extension of East Capitol Street. Through this
area people from the western and eastern parts of the city passed to
and fro. Conveniently located in that section now occupied by the
central portion were two wells, which for many years furnished water
to citizens residing in that vicinity, for the Capitol Grounds were
then occupied by residences. South of this vacant space were the
foundations of another building, equal in area and intended to compare
in cubic contents with the portion already erected and occupied. For
some time after the inauguration of President Jefferson but little was
done toward the erection of the southern building, now known as the
Statuary Hall section, except that the foundation walls progressed
slowly, and within the area of these walls there was built a 1-story
elliptical-shaped building of brick construction, known to the people
of that period as “The Oven,” designed for the accommodation of the
House of Representatives and occupied until 1807, when the Hall of the
House of Representatives was completed. In 1800 there were 32 Senators
and 106 Members of the House.



Thomas Jefferson sought the assistance of the best talent of the
country to complete the Capitol, and on March 6, 1803, appointed
Benjamin H. Latrobe, whose fame as an architect had caused his
services to be in such great demand in several cities that he could
not immediately take up his residence in Washington. But he arranged
to assume the duties of Architect of the Capitol by personal visits to
the city and made a thorough study of the plans for the Capitol. The
plans for the Hall of the House of Representatives as developed by Mr.
Latrobe required sculptural decoration, and this was made the subject
of an interesting letter on March 6, 1805, addressed to Philip Mazzei,
an Italian physician, asking for assistance in selecting a sculptor:

  By direction of the President of the United States I take the liberty
  to apply to you for your assistance in procuring for us the services
  of a good sculptor in the erection of the public buildings in this
  city, especially the Capitol.

[Illustration: SENATE CHAMBER, 1830]



  The Capitol was begun at a time when the country was entirely
  destitute of artists, and even of good workmen in the branches of
  architecture, upon which the superiority of public over private
  buildings depends. The north wing, therefore, which is carried up,
  although the exterior is remarkably well finished as to the masonry,
  is not a good building. For two or three years after the removal of
  Congress to this city the public works were entirely discontinued. In
  the year 1803, however, they were resumed, and under the patronage
  of the President and the annual appropriations by Congress the south
  wing of the Capitol has been begun and carried on. It is now so
  far advanced as to make it necessary that we should have as early
  as possible the assistance of a good sculptor of architectural
  decorations * * *.

The principal sculpture required was 24 Corinthian capitals, 2 feet
4 inches in diameter at their feet and open enriched entablatures of
147 feet (both English measure) in length. Also five panels (tavole)
enriched with foliage and an eagle of colossal size in the frieze, the
distance between the tips of the extended wings to be 12 feet 6 inches.
As to material, yellowish sandstone of fine grain was to be used.


The later history of the Capitol will be found on page 219.


The most definite description of the White House as it existed during
its earlier days is to be found in American Scenery, published in
London in 1840 and edited by Nathaniel Parker Willis, who writes as

  The residence of the Chief Magistrate of the United States resembles
  the country seat of an English nobleman in its architecture and size;
  but it is to be regretted that the parallel ceases when we come to
  the grounds. By itself it is a commodious and creditable building,
  serving its purpose without too much state for a republican country,
  yet likely, as long as the country exists without primogeniture and
  rank, to be sufficiently superior to all other dwelling houses to
  mark it as the residence of the Nation’s chief.


  The President’s House stands near the center of an area of some 20
  acres, occupying a very advantageous elevation, open to the view
  of the Potomac and about 44 feet above high water, and possessing
  from its balcony one of the loveliest prospects in our country--the
  junction of the two branches of the Potomac which border the District
  and the swelling and varied shores beyond of the States of Maryland
  and Virginia. The building is 170 feet front and 86 deep and is built
  of white freestone, with Ionic pilasters, comprehending two lofty
  stories, with a stone balustrade. The north front is ornamented
  with a portico sustained by four Ionic columns, with three columns
  of projection, the outer intercolumniation affording a shelter for
  carriages to drive under. The garden front on the river is varied
  by what is called a rusticated basement story, in the Ionic style,
  and by a semicircular projecting colonnade of six columns, with two
  spacious and airy flights of steps leading to a balustrade on the
  level of the principal story.

  The interior of the President’s House is well disposed and possesses
  one superb reception room and two oval drawing-rooms (one in each
  story) of very beautiful proportions. The other rooms are not
  remarkable, and there is an inequality in the furniture of the
  whole house (owing to the unwillingness and piecemeal manner with
  which Congress votes any moneys for its decoration) which destroys
  its effect as a comfortable dwelling. The oval rooms are carpeted
  with Gobelin tapestry, worked with the national emblems, and are
  altogether in a more consistent style than the other parts of the
  house. It is to be hoped that Congress will not always consider the
  furniture of the President’s House as the scapegoat of all sumptuary
  and aristocratic sins, and that we shall soon be able to introduce
  strangers not only to a comfortable and well-appointed, but to a
  properly served and nicely kept, Presidential Mansion.

The White House as it is at present is described on page 261.


Octagon House is a beautiful example of early American architecture.
It is situated at the corner of Eighteenth Street and New York Avenue
NW., two blocks west of the White House, and was built in the year 1800
by Col. John Tayloe from designs by the Architect of the United States
Capitol, Dr. William Thornton. It is said President Washington himself
selected the site for his friend.

The building is a fine, octagonal brick structure, Georgian in design,
with a central circular hall and a noteworthy staircase. The materials
used in its construction, including beautiful sculptured mantels, were
brought from England. Gardens surrounded it, and the old brick stables
and smokehouse still close the vista from the stair landing.

The house was the center of official and social life as the home of
the Tayloe family. It achieved particular distinction when used as the
Executive Mansion by President Madison for more than a year after the
burning of the White House by the British in 1814.

The building was later used at various times as a Government office
building. The Government Hydrographic Office, with its drafting rooms,
was located there, and the building was also used for storage. During
the 139 years it appears to have suffered little from damage and

[Illustration: OCTAGON HOUSE]

The Octagon House became the home of the American Institute of
Architects on January 1, 1899, through the particular efforts of
Charles F. McKim, Cass Gilbert, and Frank Miles Day, former presidents
of the institute, and complete ownership of the property was acquired
in the year 1902.

One of its present treasures is the table on which the treaty of Ghent
was signed by President Madison.


The Dolly Madison House, at the corner of H Street and Madison Place
NW., adjacent to Lafayette Square, was built by Dolly Madison’s
brother-in-law in 1818.


After the death of President Madison in 1833 Mrs. Madison returned to
Washington and resided in the house until her death in 1849. In her
day it was a little gray residence, but a place where she presided as
a charming hostess for many years. The purchase by Congress of the
Madison Papers for $30,000 made it possible for her to live there. Born
in the year 1768, she became intimately acquainted with many who took
part in the Revolutionary War, and through her long life linked her
generation with that of the present day.

Among the men and women of importance who were frequent visitors in her
home, who exerted an influence to strengthen the seat of government and
became noted characters in American history, were Mr. and Mrs. John
Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, Mrs.
Stephen Decatur, Mrs. William Thornton, Mrs. Tobias Lear, and Gen. John
Peter Van Ness.

During the Civil War the house was occupied by Gen. George B.
McClellan, at that time in command of the Army of the Potomac, and
about the year 1885 the house was purchased by the Cosmos Club, which
now occupies it.


The Decatur House, located at the corner of H Street and Jackson Place
NW., was designed by Benjamin Latrobe and built about 1819 by Commodore
Stephen Decatur, it is said, from Barbary pirates’ prize money.

[Illustration: DECATUR HOUSE]

Scarcely had the house been completed and through the trophies of the
naval hero made a place of great interest when, on March 22, 1820,
Decatur was mortally wounded in a duel with Commodore James Barron
which took place at Bladensburg, Md. Decatur died in his home that
night and was buried at Kalorama, a prominent estate in those days in
northwest Washington.

Thereupon Henry Clay, who was then a Member of the House of
Representatives and subsequently Secretary of State in the Cabinet of
John Quincy Adams, occupied the Decatur House. After the Civil War the
house was bought by Gen. Edward H. Beale, a friend of General Grant. It
was inherited by Truxton Beale, who resided there many years.


Other houses adjacent to Lafayette Square and the White House grounds
which became historically important were:

The Cameron House, adjacent to the Dolly Madison House, was built in
1828 by Benjamin Ogle Tayloe. Later it was altered somewhat to suit the
fine taste of Mrs. Cameron, wife of James Donald Cameron, who served
as a Senator from the State of Pennsylvania from 1877 to 1897. The
Cameron House to-day is occupied by the Cosmos Club, which, as has been
stated, also occupies the Dolly Madison House. The beautiful gardens
surrounding it are a source of much pleasure.

The Van Ness Mansion formerly stood on the site now occupied by the Pan
American Building, near Seventeenth Street and Constitution Avenue.

[Illustration: VAN NESS MANSION]

The Rodgers House was occupied by Secretary of State Seward at the
time he and his son were nearly fatally stabbed on the night President
Lincoln was assassinated. In 1895 the house was torn down to make way
for an opera house, called the Lafayette Square Opera House, and later
the Belasco Theater.

John Hay, Secretary of State under Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt,
lived at Sixteenth and H Streets.

The home of George Bancroft was at No. 1623 H Street. Here he completed
his History of the United States.


The historian Henry Adams, grandson of President John Quincy Adams,
lived at 1605 H Street.

Lord Ashburton lived in the large square house next to the old
Arlington Hotel, at H Street and Vermont Avenue. Charles Sumner also
lived near by.

The Corcoran House stood at the corner of H Street and Connecticut
Avenue, where now stands the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
In that house Daniel Webster lived while Secretary of State under
Presidents William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor.

The original Corcoran Gallery of Art Building stands at the corner of
Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventeenth Street.

No. 22 Jackson Place, now the home of the Women’s City Club, was the
house of President Polk’s Secretary of War, William L. Marcy. The house
was occupied by President and Mrs. Roosevelt for a few months while the
White House was being restored in 1901.


Georgetown was laid out pursuant to an act of the Province of Maryland
dated June 8, 1751, passed in response to a petition of a number of
inhabitants, who stated that “there was a convenient place for a town
on the Potomac River above the mouth of Rock Creek,” and recommended
that 60 acres be there laid out for a town. The town was never
incorporated as a city, but was commonly called the city of Georgetown
as a consequence of the casual reference to it by that title in
numerous acts of Congress.

The general supposition is that Georgetown was so named in honor of
George II, then the reigning sovereign of Great Britain, but it is
also contended that it was named as a compliment to George Gordon and
George Beall, the owners of the 60-acre tract, and from whom the site
was obtained. The town was subsequently surveyed and divided into 80
lots. On December 25, 1789, the town was incorporated by an act of the
General Assembly of Maryland, with a mayor, recorder, aldermen, and
common council. The first mayor was appointed for a term of one year,
to commence January 1, 1790.

The streets in the part of Georgetown laid out under the act of June
8, 1751, were acquired by the public in practically the same manner in
which the title to the original streets of the city of Washington was

Georgetown was enlarged by numerous additions, until, as calculated by
the surveyor of the District of Columbia, it embraced about 543 acres.
Its charter was revoked by the act of Congress of February 21, 1871,
by which its name was retained as a topographical designation until
its consolidation with Washington by the act of February 11, 1895,
which stated it “shall be known as and shall constitute a part of the
city of Washington.” By this act the Commissioners of the District of
Columbia were authorized to change the names of the streets and avenues
of Georgetown to conform to those of Washington as far as practicable.
At the time of the consolidation the population of Georgetown was about



Soon after its establishment Georgetown became a prominent port, and
one of the interesting places there to-day is the old customhouse. A
number of mills, the ruins of which can still be seen, were there.
It is said that flour shipped in colonial times from Georgetown to
Europe was so good that consignees did not think it necessary to open
the barrels for inspection. Tobacco and corn were the two other chief
exports. Georgetown University was established in 1789, the year George
Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the Republic. The
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 182 miles long, commenced in 1828, had its
beginning in Georgetown. It cost $13,000,000. Georgetown’s exports in
1792 amounted to $348,539. Much coal was also shipped to Alexandria for
towns on the Atlantic coast.

Georgetown also became noted for the many fine houses which were built
there, such as Tudor Place, Woodley, the Oaks, Montrose, the Bowie
Mansion, and Bellevue, later known as the Rittenhouse Mansion. In the
early days, while houses in the new Federal City were being built, many
Members of Congress preferred to travel the dusty road from the Capitol
to Georgetown because of the suitable residences there in which they
could live.

Among the mansions near Georgetown, to be mentioned here, is Arlington
Mansion (described fully on page 309), built in 1802 by George
Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of President Washington. The
original Arlington estate comprised 6,000 acres. The design of the
portico of the house resembles that of the Temple of Theseus at Athens,
which stands to-day one of the best-preserved buildings of antiquity.
Mr. Custis lived there till his death in 1857. He entertained Lafayette
at Arlington during his visit to the United States in 1824.


The Francis Scott Key Mansion, at Georgetown, stands remodeled as a
store building on old Bridge Street, now M Street, one-half block from
the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Originally it was a 3-story “colonial”
brick building, which stood there as such until about the year 1917,
when the Francis Scott Key Bridge was built to replace the old Aqueduct

Entering the front door at the left of the building, there was a
spacious hall extending through the entire house. At the right of the
hall were two large parlors. In the basement was the dining room,
kitchen, and “cold room,” a room bricked up and used as a refrigerator
and pantry. In the second story were two large bedrooms and a large
hall. The third story contained four bedrooms. The window frames were
small, 4 by 6 inches, supported in heavy sashes, as was the custom in
building such houses.

In the rear of the house was a beautiful garden, which sloped
gracefully to the river. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was later built
through it. This area is now occupied by factories, warehouses, and
store buildings.


Mr. Key, an attorney and poet, lived here with his family many years,
and resided here at the time of the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Near
by was his law office, a little brick building.


In 1814, while the British fleet was in Chesapeake Bay, Mr. Key
attempted to secure the release of his friend Dr. William Beane, of
Marlboro, Md., who had been captured. He was held on shipboard during
the shelling of Fort McHenry on the night of September 13. Key’s
anxiety became intense. With the first approach of dawn Mr. Key turned
his eyes in the direction of the fort and its flag, but darkness had
given place to a heavy fog. Finally, through a vista in the smoke
and vapor he could dimly see the flag of his country. Overjoyed and
inspired by the sight, he composed The Star-Spangled Banner. This is
now our national anthem by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1931,
as follows:

  _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
  United States of America in Congress assembled_, That the composition
  consisting of words and music known as The Star-Spangled Banner is
  designated the national anthem of the United States of America.

The historic flag that flew over Fort McHenry is on exhibition at the
Historical Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.



Tudor Place, located at Thirty-first and Q Streets NW., is one of the
fine examples of the architecture of the early days of the Republic
in Washington. It was designed by Dr. William Thornton, Architect of
the Capitol, and built about 1805 by Thomas Peter, who was one of the
original landowners of the District of Columbia. Mr. Peter married
Martha Parke Custis, Mrs. Washington’s granddaughter. Tudor Place is
still the residence of lineal descendants of Martha Washington and
contains many heirlooms of the family. General Lafayette and other
distinguished visitors were entertained here.

[Illustration: ROCK CREEK CHURCH]

Tudor Place to-day is well preserved, and its gardens give it added



Rock Creek Church is to the north of the Soldiers’ Home. The original
building was erected by the people of the Eastern Branch and Rock Creek
in 1719 in what was then St. Paul’s Parish, and was for many years the
oldest parish church in the District of Columbia. It was rebuilt in
1775 and remodeled in 1868. It burned on April 6, 1921, but was again

In 1726 the separation of this parish from St. John’s (Georgetown)
marked a religious era in the future National Capital. Of the seven men
appointed to establish the town of Georgetown, five were officers of
this parish.

In the cemetery surrounding the church is the famous Adams Memorial by


Although Washington had been planned as a city in 1791, it did not
become the actual seat of government until 1800. It was necessary,
therefore, for those desiring a Protestant Episcopal Church in
Washington to apply to the Maryland Assembly. This application was
made and an act passed to form a new parish to be known as Washington

On May 25, 1795, a meeting was held, and the parish of Christ Church,
Washington Parish, was incorporated and vestrymen elected. At this
meeting Rev. George Ralph was appointed the first rector.

The first services were held in an old building, originally used as a
tobacco barn, located on New Jersey Avenue near D Street SE.

[Illustration: OLD TOBACCO BARN]

On May 6, 1806, two offers of sites for a new church were made. The
one by William Prout--the present site--was accepted, and in 1807 the
present building was erected. Three free pews were set aside--one for
the use of the President of the United States; one for Mr. Prout, the
donor of the land; and the third for the rector. The church stands on G
Street, near Seventh SE.

For many years each incoming President was notified that a pew had
been reserved for his use. During their terms of office Presidents
Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe worshiped in Christ Church. During
all these years the fame of the church has grown, from its antiquity
as the mother church of the Capital and from its spiritual work and

A history of the parish would not be complete without some notice of
its burying ground (illustrated on page 44).

[Illustration: CHRIST CHURCH]

On March 30, 1812, Henry Ingle deeded to Christ Church vestry a square
of ground known as square 1115, and the name of Washington Parish
Burial Ground was given it. On May 30, 1849, the vestry changed it
to Washington Cemetery. Yet in popular nomenclature it is known
as Congressional Cemetery. Title can be traced back to its early
connection with the National Legislature.

On April 15, 1816, the vestry assigned 100 sites for the interment of
deceased Members of Congress. On December 15, 1823, 300 more sites
were donated for the same purpose. Congress afterwards bought more
sites and erected small freestone cenotaphs, which form a conspicuous
feature, made sundry appropriations for improvements, and began to add
its name to the cemetery. Many Congressmen and Government officials
are buried there, including Tobias Lear, private secretary and friend
of George Washington, who died in 1816; Dr. William Thornton, who drew
the original plans of the Capitol, and died March 28, 1828; George
Hadfield, an assistant architect of the Capitol; George Clinton,
of New York, and Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, Vice Presidents
of the United States. The cemetery, located at Eighteenth Street
and Pennsylvania Avenue SE., is adjacent to the Anacostia River and
comprises 30 acres.


St. John’s Church, sometimes called the President’s Church, while
not the oldest in the city, has a history which is unique. Probably
no other church of any denomination in the United States has had
throughout its history such a distinguished roster of communicants as
has St. John’s, located at Sixteenth and H Streets NW.

The title, the “President’s Church,” was derived in this way: In 1816,
before the church was consecrated or any pews sold, a committee from
the vestry was instructed to make the offer of a pew to President
Madison. He accepted and thereafter occupied pew No. 28 even more
frequently than his pew in Christ Church. The custom of preserving a
pew for the President has been continued, and a number have regularly
worshiped there.

Situated in the heart of official Washington, for a century it has been
the place of worship of Presidents, Cabinet officers, distinguished
soldiers and diplomats, and leaders in the professional life of the
city. In the year 1812 there were two Episcopal churches within
the present city limits--Christ Church, Navy Yard, and St. John’s,
Georgetown. There was need for a third, caused by the fact that the
White House and departmental buildings were erected at a point almost
midway between these two. Washington in those days undoubtedly seemed
a city of magnificent distances. So, on April 6, 1812, a committee was
appointed by the vestry of the mother parish of Christ Church to meet
the situation. Then came the War of 1812, when both the city and the
public buildings suffered, and it was not until September 14, 1815,
that the corner stone of St. John’s, Washington, was laid.

[Illustration: ST. JOHN’S CHURCH]

Jonathan Elliott, in his history of the District published in 1831,
said of St. John’s Church:

  It was built of brick, covered with rough stucco, in the form of a
  Grecian cross; but being too small for its congregation, in 1820 it
  was enlarged by lengthening its western arm, to the form of a Latin
  cross; and a portico and tower were also added.


The most notable changes were made in 1863, when a sanctuary was
added, the interior remodeled, and many fine additions put in place.
Since that time there have been few changes of importance save in the
interior decorations and sanctuary beautification. The eye can not
glance in any direction without seeing some memorial. Over the altar
is a brass cross, commemorating President Arthur. In the west wall is
a window commemorating Presidents Madison, Monroe, and Van Buren. A
window in the east wall commemorates Presidents Tyler, Harrison, and
Taylor. Over the south gallery is a memorial window to Gen. Winfield
Scott. The atmosphere of the old church is vibrant of memories. But
St. John’s is far from being entirely a church of memories. It has
made possible several undertakings of institutional character in the


The District of Columbia Courthouse is situated in Judiciary Square,
along Indiana Avenue, facing south, with John Marshall Place
immediately in front of it, leading down a slope of 30 feet to
Pennsylvania Avenue. It is the old city hall, now used for the Supreme
Court of the District of Columbia, and is one of the oldest buildings
in the city. Designed by the English architect, George Hadfield, the
corner stone was laid August 22, 1820. The building is 250 feet long,
47 feet high, and 166 feet deep. Each of the wings is 50 feet wide. Its
style resembles the classical type of architecture which received an
impetus during the period from 1830 to 1840, when the Patent Office,
the old Post Office, and the Department of the Treasury Buildings were
erected. It was remodeled by the Architect of the Capitol, and in 1920,
a century after the corner stone was laid, was officially rededicated
as the United States Courthouse. It will be at the head of the new
municipal center which has been authorized by Congress to occupy four
squares, two on each side of John Marshall Place.

The District of Columbia as the seat of the Federal Government of the
United States of America was without a court from 1791 until February
9, 1801. In the latter year the Circuit Court of the District of
Columbia was organized under the provisions of the act of Congress
providing a judiciary for the said District. From 1790 until the year
1801 all litigation arising within the District was disposed of by the
Maryland courts, at Annapolis.

The first session of the circuit court was held in Market Square,
Alexandria, situated in the territory ceded by Virginia. The first
session on the Maryland side was held in Washington on March 23, 1801,
in the old brick Capitol, occupying a room adjoining the Senate Chamber
which had been assigned to the Supreme Court of the United States. The
circuit court was rather nomadic, occupying a number of sites before
the city hall was finally built in 1820 as its permanent home. It was
in the Capitol at the time of the War of 1812 and was removed to “Mr.
Carroll’s house” near the Capitol. After the war the court returned to
the Capitol and sat continuously until 1819. After passing through many
heartbreaking annoyances, the court finally settled in the building
erected for municipal affairs and for the local courts, located in what
is now known as Judiciary Square.

As time progressed the judicial system expanded, the local government
underwent radical changes, and the edifice erected to house a dual
tenancy was acquired by the United States and assigned to the circuit
court as a permanent home. It remained there until the court was
abolished by Congress on March 3, 1863.

When President Lincoln entered the White House just before the rupture
between the North and South, he was not satisfied with the personnel of
the circuit court. He prevailed upon Congress to abolish the circuit
court and provide for its successor--history hints this was a political
move--and also that the President be supported by a judicial system
upon which he could rely for complete loyalty to his administration.
He believed that at least two of the justices were in sympathy with
the South and would use means to embarrass his administration. The
thought in his mind was that more satisfaction could be derived by
the abolition of the court and the enactment of a new judicial system
entirely friendly to his ideas of personal liberty and justice than
through the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.


Congress complied with President Lincoln’s wishes, and on March 3,
1863, created the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, giving
him the appointment of the new justices and the clerk. This court was
to have all the jurisdiction of its predecessor--which by statute and
decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States had greater powers
than any of the United States circuit courts--not only a court of local
jurisdiction, but also a court of admiralty, equity between residents
and nonresidents, common-law jurisdiction, and the right of mandamus
and common-law certiorari over all Government officials, with an
appellate branch to be composed of three of the five justices to review
the decisions of its special terms.

On May 4, 1863, the court organized and promulgated rules of practice.
From that date until February 9, 1893, it held its appellate
jurisdiction. The members of the bar previous to that date had
interceded with Congress for a separate court of appeals in order to
circumvent any comment against the supreme court owing to the close
association of its justices sitting as an appellate tribunal to review
the decisions of their brothers holding the special terms. This was
accomplished. On February 9,1893, the court of appeals was created. It
is now composed of five justices, as against three provided for in the
organic act.

With its probate court--district court, embracing admiralty,
condemnation of adulterated articles under the pure-food act; the
widening of streets, and the condemnation of alleys and privately
owned property for carrying out the enlargement and beautification of
Washington; its purely local jurisdiction to settle disputes in equity
and law; the jurisdiction over Government officials and inferior courts
of the District--it is taxed to the limit of human endeavor to keep up
with the tide of modern requirements and hold all who come within its
jurisdiction to an orderly and legal course of conduct. Its opinions
have always received wide notice and are continually quoted in State
and Federal courts.

Many noted cases have been disposed of, as disclosed by its records.
President Grant was sued for damages for false arrest of an individual.
When the case was tried the verdict of the jury was in favor of the
President. The trial of Charles J. Guiteau for the assassination of
President Garfield was held here, and after a long-drawn-out and stormy
session covering many weeks the assassin was convicted. The famous
oil-scandal cases against Doheny and Sinclair, involving the bribery of
Albert B. Fall, a former Secretary of the Interior, were tried by this
court. Many other cases of note could be mentioned, but space will not

Under the various acts of Congress, the number of justices has
gradually increased until at the present time the destiny of this court
is in the control of ten justices. The bench as constituted to-day
is composed of a chief justice, the Hon. Alfred A. Wheat, and the
following associate justices, the Hon. Jennings Bailey, the Hon. Peyton
Gordon, the Hon. Jesse Corcoran Adkins, the Hon. Oscar R. Luhring, the
Hon. Joseph W. Cox, the Hon. James M. Proctor, the Hon. F. Dickinson
Letts, the Hon. Daniel W. O’Donoghue, and the Hon. Bolitha J. Laws.

The orphans’ court in the District of Columbia, as constituted by the
act of 1801, continued until 1870, when its functions were transferred
to one of the justices of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia
holding a special term for probate business; the register of wills is
also clerk of the probate court.

Justice-of-the-peace courts continued until 1912, when they were
superseded by the present municipal court, with a jurisdiction in debt
and landlord and tenant cases, replevin and tort actions not exceeding
$1,000, and the right of litigants to apply to the court of appeals for
a writ of error if they feel aggrieved.

A police court, divided into two branches--municipal and Federal--with
appeal to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, is presided
over by judges.


One of the interesting historic landmarks in the National Capital is
the old Land Office Building at Seventh and Eighth and E and F Streets
NW., where it occupies an entire square. It was designed by Robert
Mills in 1830 and constructed of marble from New York and Maryland
under the supervision of Thomas U. Walter, Architect of the Capitol, at
a cost exceeding $2,000,000. It was built during that decade when the
Patent Office and the Department of the Treasury Buildings, similar in
their classical type of architecture, were authorized by Congress and
placed under way during the administration of President Jackson.

This building was erected as the first permanent building for the Post
Office Department and of the city post office.

Here, in 1844, the first telegraph office in the United States and of
the world was opened and operated by S. F. B. Morse, the site being
marked by a bronze plaque in the wall on the east side of the building.

The first attempt to determine longitude by telegraph also was made in
this building in 1846. Earlier in the century a building stood here
in which the first theatrical performance in the National Capital
was given. The site, too, was at one time considered for the Botanic
Garden. Until 1880 this section was the residential district of the

During the World War the building was occupied by Gen. Enoch Crowder,
in charge of the National Selective Draft Board. On his return from
France, General Pershing made it his headquarters. Since his retirement
the building has been occupied in part by the United States Tariff


[Illustration: DR. WILLIAM THORNTON]

The original two buildings burned, whereupon Congress authorized the
erection of a new Patent Office Building according to the designs of
Robert Mills, architect. The present building was begun in 1837 and
completed in 1867. Doctor Thornton was the first Commissioner. It
occupies two squares, at Seventh and Ninth and F and G Streets NW.,
at the site where L’Enfant had indicated in his plan there should be
a great national church. It is a monumental marble building, Doric in
its style of architecture, and with its large pediments and columns--in
design and size like those of the Parthenon--creates the impression
of simple dignity and beauty that is eternal. Models of American
inventions to the number of 200,000 were kept in this building until
the new National Museum was built. The Patent Office has been moved
into the new Department of Commerce Building. It is one of the large
bureaus of the Department of Commerce.


On August 7, 1783, the year that witnessed the treaty of peace at
Paris, Congress ordered--

  That an equestrian statue of General Washington be erected at the
  place where Congress shall be established, * * * in honor of George
  Washington, the illustrious Commander in Chief of the Armies of the
  United States of America during the War which vindicated and secured
  their liberty, sovereignty, and independence.


But no action was taken to carry out this legislation. The monument
was to have been executed by Ceracchi, a Roman sculptor, and paid for
by contributions of individuals. As has been mentioned, a site for
it was marked on the L’Enfant map of the city of Washington at the
intersection on the Mall of the axis of the Capitol and the White House.

As President, by his wise administration of the affairs of the new
Republic, General Washington so added to his fame and so won the
gratitude of his countrymen that on his death a select joint committee
of both Houses of Congress was appointed to consider a suitable manner
of paying honor to his memory. Thus, on December 23, 1799, on motion
of John Marshall in the House of Representatives, it was resolved by

  That a marble monument be erected by the United States in the
  Capitol, at the city of Washington, and that the family of General
  Washington be requested to permit his body to be deposited under it;
  and that the monument be so designed as to commemorate the great
  events of his military and political life.

It was then proposed to make an area in front of the Capitol available
for the monument, and an appropriation of $100,000 was proposed to
carry the resolution into effect. Instead of an equestrian statue, by
the terms of this resolution the monument was to take the form of a
“mausoleum of American granite and marble, in pyramidal form, 100 feet
square at the base and of a proportionate height.”

On January 1, 1801, the House of Representatives passed a bill
appropriating $200,000 for the monument. The Senate, however, did not
concur in this act, due, it is thought, to political questions that
absorbed the attention of Congress and the people until the War of 1812.

In 1816 the General Assembly of Virginia endeavored to secure the
consent of Judge Bushrod Washington, then proprietor of Mount Vernon,
to have the remains of President Washington removed to Richmond, there
to be marked by a fitting monument to his memory.

When this came to the attention of Congress a select joint committee
was appointed which recommended that a tomb should be prepared in the
foundations of the Capitol for the remains of George Washington and
that a monument should be erected to his memory. But this plan failed,
because Judge Bushrod Washington declined to consent to the removal of
the body of George Washington from the vault at Mount Vernon, where
it had been placed in accordance with Washington’s express wish.
Nevertheless, a vault appears to have been prepared beneath the center
of the Dome and Rotunda of the Capitol and beneath the floor of the


In 1833 a group of public-spirited citizens organized the Washington
National Monument Society, for the purpose of erecting “a great
National Monument to the memory of Washington at the seat of the
Federal Government.” The first meeting was held on September 26, 1833,
in the city hall, now the District of Columbia Supreme Court Building.
Chief Justice John Marshall, then 78 years of age, was chosen the
first president of the society. The population of the United States
had grown from 3,329,214 in 1790 to 12,866,020 in 1830, with 28 States
in the Union at that time. In 1835 the president of the society, John
Marshall, died and was succeeded in the office by ex-President James
Madison, who took steps to inaugurate a national campaign to secure
contributions through agents appointed to collect funds. Upon the death
of Mr. Madison the society amended its constitution so that thereafter
the President of the United States should be ex officio its president.
The first to so occupy the office was Andrew Jackson.

The progress of the society was at first slow, and in 1836 only about
$28,000 had been collected. In 1836 advertisements were published by
order of the society inviting designs from American artists, but no
limitation was placed upon the form of the design. It was determined
by the society, and so recommended, that any plans submitted should
“harmoniously blend durability, simplicity, and grandeur.” The
estimated cost for the proposed monument was not less than $1,000,000.
A great many designs were submitted, but the one selected among the
number was that of Robert Mills, a well-known and eminent architect
of that period. This plan was published. It is the design of an
obelisk 500 feet high and 70 feet at the base, rising from a circular
colonnaded building 100 feet high and 250 feet in diameter, surrounded
by 30 columns of massive proportions, being 12 feet in diameter and 45
feet high. There was to be an equestrian group over the portal. The
interior was designed to be “a spacious gallery and rotunda,” which
was to be a national pantheon, adorned by statues of the Colonial
Fathers, paintings commemorative of battle scenes of the Revolution,
and a colossal statue of George Washington. The feature of the pantheon
surrounding the shaft was never formally adopted by the society as a
part of the Monument. Its first purpose was to secure the necessary
funds for the shaft.

By December 10, 1838, the funds of the society had reached $30,779.84,
and the following year a restriction of a contribution to the sum of
$1 appears to have been removed. In 1846 the society, through its ex
officio president, James K. Polk, made another appeal, stating the
society wished to proceed with the erection of the Washington Monument,
and it was hoped legislation would be enacted at the following session
of Congress to provide a location for it. By a resolution adopted
February 29, 1847, the United States consuls abroad were also invited
to solicit subscriptions “for the erection of a suitable National
Monument to the memory of Washington from American citizens, seamen,
and others of liberal patriotic feelings.” In that year the fund was
increased to $70,000. Congress thereupon, in January, 1848, granted
authority for the erection of the Washington Monument on public
reservation No. 3, on the plan of the city of Washington, containing
upward of 30 acres, where the Monument now stands, near the Potomac
River, west of the Capitol and south of the President’s house. As has
been related, the actual location of the Monument was fixed at a point
more east and south of the position indicated in the plan of L’Enfant,
because it was somewhat more elevated ground and regarded more secure
for the foundation. The original intersection had been marked by
Thomas Jefferson by a small monument, known as the Jefferson pier. In
the McMillan Park Commission plan of 1901 the site of this pier is
indicated for a circular pool.


On July 4, 1848, under a bright sky, in the presence of the President
and Vice President of the United States, Senators and Representatives
in Congress, heads of the executive departments and other officers of
the Government, the judiciary, representatives of foreign governments,
military organizations, associations of many descriptions, delegations
from the States and Territories and from several Indian tribes, the
corner stone was laid. Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, Speaker of the House of
Representatives, delivered the oration. Three distinguished persons of
George Washington’s time were present on this notable occasion: Mrs.
Dolly Madison; Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, widow of the first Secretary
of the Treasury; and George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of
George Washington.

The corner stone laid, the society began operations to lay foundations
and to raise the shaft. Every precaution was taken to test the
understrata where the foundations were laid. At a depth of 20 feet
a solid bed of gravel was reached; the strata were found to be very
compact, requiring a pick to break them up.

By January, 1853, the Monument was 126 feet high, and in about six
years from the date of the laying of the corner stone it had reached
the height of 152 feet. During this period the society continued most
actively at work in the raising of funds to carry the Monument forward.
In 1854, however, an act occurred at the Monument which created much
indignation and public discussion through the country. A block of
marble, which had originally stood in the Temple of Concord at Rome,
and which had been sent by the Pope to be set in the wall of the
Monument, was stolen, and no trace of it was ever found. At the time
contributions of stones from societies, municipalities, and the several
States were being encouraged, so the Pope’s stone was not an unusual
gift. The disappearance of the stone angered and estranged a large body
of citizens and discouraged the collection of public contributions,
so that all construction work ceased. By 1854, $230,000 had been
spent on the structure, and funds for it were now exhausted. In 1859
Congress passed an act incorporating the Washington National Monument
Society for the purpose of completing the Monument. In 1869 Senator Nye
introduced a bill to insure completion of the Monument, and several
like bills were introduced during the next few years. On February
22, 1873, a committee of the House of Representatives recommended an
appropriation of $200,000. It was estimated that $700,000 would be
required to finish the shaft, constructing also a suitable base, and
that the work would be completed by July 4, 1876, the one hundredth
anniversary of American independence. This gave the needed impetus to
the completion of the project.

Vigorous campaigns for funds were conducted in the States, and campaign
meetings were held in several large cities. In June, 1876, the society
published a further appeal, signed by its officers. President Grant was
ex officio president of the society at the time. On August 2, 1876,
Senator John Sherman offered a concurrent resolution in the Senate
that the Monument to commemorate the achievements of George Washington
in behalf of the Republic be completed during the centennial year.
A bill appropriating $200,000 for the project was approved by the
President that day. At the same time a special board of officers was
detailed from the Corps of Engineers to investigate and report on the
sufficiency of the foundations.

TO 1878]

The board appointed in 1876 reported that the foundations were not
sufficient, and the first work undertaken by the Government consisted
in underpinning the structure. This was accomplished under the
direction of Lieut. Col. Thomas Lincoln Casey, afterwards Chief of
Engineers, United States Army, who was the engineer in charge of
construction of the State, War, and Navy Building at the time, and
later of the Congressional Library Building. Colonel Casey was assisted
by Capt. George W. Davis, United States Infantry, later major general,
who was afterwards relieved by Bernard R. Green, C. E. The work of
excavating beneath the Monument was commenced January 28, 1879, and the
new foundation was finished May 29, 1880. Colonel Casey stated in his

  The project or design of the work is an obelisk 550 feet in height,
  faced with white marble and backed with dressed granite rock. Of this
  structure 156 feet is already finished.

  The base of the Monument is 55 feet square, the top will be 34 feet 6
  inches square, and it will be crowned with a pyramidion, or roof, 50
  feet in height.

  The proportions of the parts of this obelisk are in exact accordance
  with the classic proportions of parts of this style of architecture,
  as determined after careful research by Hon. George P. Marsh,
  American minister at Rome.

  The shaft as proportioned, both in dimensions and weight, will be
  entirely stable as against winds that could exert a pressure of 100
  pounds or more per square foot upon any face of the structure.

  The project includes the preparation of the foundation so as to
  enable it to carry this structure. This preparation or strengthening
  consists in making the existing foundation wider and deeper, in order
  to distribute the weight over a greater area, and in bringing upon
  each square foot of the earth pressed no greater weight than it is
  known to be able to sustain.

The mass of concrete beneath the old foundation is 126 feet 6 inches
square, 13 feet 6 inches in depth, and extends 18 feet within the outer
edge of the old foundation and 23 feet 3 inches beyond this line. In
placing this work, 70 per cent of the area of the earth upon which the
Monument was standing was removed.

The second part of the strengthening of the foundation consisted in
constructing a continuous buttress beneath the shaft and extending
out upon the concrete slab, so as to distribute the pressure over the
foundation. In this operation sections of the rubble masonry were
removed and replaced with concrete. As compared with the original
bulk of the old foundation, 51 per cent of its contents was removed
and 48 per cent of the area of the base of the shaft undermined. The
new foundation rests on a bearing surface 126 feet 6 inches square,
or 16,002 square feet, as compared with 6,400 square feet for the old

The entire work of underpinning was accomplished without causing the
slightest crack or the least opening in any joint of that portion of
the Monument already constructed, which, including the foundation, was
80 feet square at its base. The new foundation rests upon a bed of fine
sand 2 feet in thickness, below which is a bed of bowlders and gravel.
Borings were made in this deposit for a depth of 18 feet without
passing through it. Thus, as completed, the new foundation covers two
and a half times as much area and extends 13¹⁄₂ feet deeper than the
old one, being 36 feet 10 inches in depth. The bottom of the work is
only 2 feet above the level of high tide in the Potomac. No settlement
has occurred to date.


Work was resumed on the shaft in 1880. The first 13 courses--26
feet--were faced with white marble from Massachusetts. The remainder
is Maryland white marble similar to that used in the lower section.
The new work was backed with dressed New England granite to the
452-foot elevation, above which the walls are entirely of marble, of
through-and-through blocks, and from the 470-foot level, where the
ribs of the pyramidion begin, the courses are secured to each other
by mortise and tenon joints cut in the builds and beds of the stone.
During the working season of 1880, 26 feet were added to the shaft;
in 1881 there were added 74 feet; in 1882, 90 feet; in 1883, 70 feet;
in 1884, 90 feet. These additions brought the walls of the shaft to a
height of 500 feet on August 9, 1884. The pyramidion topping the shaft
is supported on 12 marble ribs, which spring from the interior faces of
the walls of the well, beginning at the 470-foot level. The covering
slabs are 7 inches in thickness and are supported upon projections or
spurs on the marble ribs. The pyramidion has a vertical height of 55
feet 5¹⁄₈ inches and consists of 262 separate stones. The weight of
the pyramidion is 300 tons. The capstone, which weighs 3,300 pounds,
was set in place on December 6, 1884. Over it is a small pyramid of
pure aluminum 5.6 inches at its base, 8.9 inches high, and weighs 100
ounces, the largest piece of this metal ever cast in any country to
that time. The following inscriptions appear on the four faces of the
aluminum capstone:

  ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1876.




The entire height has been made slightly greater than ten times the
breadth of the base, producing an obelisk that for grace and delicacy
of outline is not excelled by any of the larger Egyptian monoliths,
while in dignity and grandeur it surpasses any that can be mentioned.
The Monument tapers one-fourth of an inch to the foot, being 15 feet
thick at the base and 18 inches thick at the top of the shaft. When the
capstone was set in place a salute was fired by artillery stationed
near the base, while the national flag was unfurled to the breeze in
the rigging far above. The cost of the Monument was $1,300,000. To
the criticism that the obelisks of old were monoliths, the reply was
made that this Monument to Washington will not be less significant
or stately because of being made up of many separate stones, for our
country has been proud to give examples of both political and material
structures which owe their strength to union; and this Monument
embodies the idea of our national motto, E Pluribus Unum.


With a view of having the States of the Union properly represented
in the Monument the society extended an invitation for each State to
furnish for insertion in the interior walls a block of marble or other
durable stone--a production of its soil--of the following dimensions:
4 feet long, 2 feet high, and with a bed of from 12 to 18 inches, the
name of the State to be cut thereon in large letters, and if desirable
to the donor, the State’s coat of arms also. Later, this invitation to
contribute memorial blocks of stone was extended to embrace such a gift
from a foreign government. In response to these invitations many rich
and durable blocks of stone were received which now adorn the interior
walls of the shaft (in 1929 the memorial stones numbered 187) from all
parts of the world, including one from the Parthenon at Athens, the
ruins of ancient Carthage, and the tomb of Napoleon at St. Helena.
These memorial stones begin at a height of 30 feet and end at 290 feet.

Great preparations were made for dedication of the Monument. This
took place on February 21, 1885, with Hon. John Sherman, chairman of
the commission, presiding. Several descendants and relatives of the
Washington family were present. The orator of the day was again the
Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, who as Speaker of the House of Representatives
had delivered the oration at the laying of the corner stone July 4,
1848. His oration on this occasion was read, as illness prevented him
from being present. Among those in Washington to-day who witnessed
the dedication is Hon. William Tyler Page, then serving as a page in
the House; later becoming Clerk of the House of Representatives and
executive secretary of the George Washington Bicentennial Commission.
Thus when we are reminded of the three friends of George Washington
who were present at the corner-stone laying of the Washington Monument
we must indeed admit that we even of this day are not far removed from
him and his times, and that our Republic is still young, though greater
achievements have been wrought in the past 100 years than in the
previous 1,000 years of the world’s history.

The efforts of the Washington National Monument Society had at last
been realized, and the American people beheld the consummation of their
desire--a great monument erected at the seat of the Federal Government
to the name and memory of George Washington.

The interior is lighted by electricity, affording an opportunity to see
the memorial stones. Ascent is made by means of an elevator and an iron
stairway, supported by 8 vertical iron columns--4 columns terminating
at a height of 500 feet and 4 within the roof at 517 feet--which
sustain the elevator machinery above. The iron stairway consists of
short flights, strung along the north and south sides of the wall,
connecting with iron platforms 4 feet 8 inches wide (to a height of
150 feet) and 7 feet 10³⁄₄ inches wide, 20 feet apart on a side, and
extending along the east and west walls. There are 50 flights and 900
steps. From these steps and platforms the inscriptions may be read.

In 1926 a new elevator was installed. It is of the electrically
driven, gearless, single wrap, traction type, with a speed of 500 feet
per minute and a lifting capacity of 6,000 pounds, exclusive of the
weight of the car and cables. It is equipped with a micro-leveling
device, which insures exact leveling of the car at landings and
also makes possible the operation of the elevator at slow speed in
case of failure of the main motor, thus eliminating the danger of
stalling the car between landings. It accommodates 30 persons and
makes 12 trips per hour. There are 8 windows at a height of 504 feet
above ground--2 windows in each of the 4 faces of the pyramidion--4
feet above the 500-foot landing. These windows measure 18 inches
by 3 feet on three sides, and on the east side 2 feet by 3 feet.
Looking to the east from the windows one sees the stately Capitol;
to the north, across the President’s Park, the beautiful mansion of
the Chief Magistrate; to the northeast, the Soldiers’ Home; to the
northwest, the great residential section, the Naval Observatory, and
the Washington Cathedral; to the west the beautiful Potomac River,
as it winds its way for miles past the city, and Arlington National
Cemetery, the Nation’s most sacred resting place for those who served
in defense of their country; and as we follow the Potomac southward
there is Alexandria, 6 miles beyond, and in the faint distance Mount
Vernon, where is the tomb of the immortal Washington. And on that lofty
height, the greatest single piece of masonry in the world, we think
also of other high structures--the Empire State Building, with 86
stories, 1,248 feet; Chrysler Building, 68 stories, 1,046 feet; Bank
of Manhattan, 65 stories, 838 feet; Woolworth Tower 60 stories, 792
feet; Metropolitan Life Insurance Building, 700 feet; The New York Life
Insurance Building, 610 feet, at the site of the former famous Madison
Square Garden; Singer Tower, 612 feet; spires of Cologne Cathedral, 524
feet; spire of Old St. Paul’s, London, 508 feet; Pyramids of Cheops,
480 feet; Book Tower, Detroit, 472 feet; Victoria Tower, Westminster,
325 feet; Statue of Liberty, 317 feet; Bennington Battle Monument,
306 feet; the Capitol, 287 feet; Bunker Hill Monument at Boston, 221
feet. In 1890 Daniel H. Burnham completed the Masonic Temple, in
Chicago, “the tallest building in the world,” 21 stories high, among
the first of all-steel construction. In New York City the caisson for
high-building foundation work was first adopted in the Manhattan Life
Insurance Building, near Exchange Place on Broadway, in 1894. Built on
a foundation of bedrock 55 feet below the surface, the structure of 18
stories was built 350 feet in height from the sidewalk.

The masonry constructed by the Government is the best known to the
engineering art, and the weight is so distributed that, subject to a
wind pressure of 100 pounds per square foot on any face, corresponding
to a wind velocity of 145 miles per hour, the Monument would have a
large factor of safety against overturning. The entire weight is 81,120
tons. The weight of the foundations is 36,912 tons, and there is a
maximum pressure on the underlying soil of 9 tons per square foot.

In the morning the Monument catches the first rays of the sun. In
stormy weather the top stands like a mountain peak, immovable, as
seen amidst clouds. So, indeed, does the great and noble Washington
overtower all of his contemporaries of the Revolutionary War and
the formative period of this Republic. The Washington Monument
has been fittingly described as typifying the character of George
Washington--lofty in its grandeur, plain in its simplicity, and white
in its purity. The following is a quotation from the oration of Speaker
Winthrop delivered at the laying of the corner stone on July 4, 1848:

  Lay the corner stone of a monument which shall adequately bespeak
  the gratitude of the whole American people to the illustrious Father
  of his Country. Build it to the skies; you can not outreach the
  loftiness of his principles! Found it upon the massive and eternal
  rock; you can not make it more enduring than his fame. Construct it
  of peerless Parian marble; you can not make it purer than his life.
  Exhaust upon it the rules and principles of ancient and modern art;
  you can not make it more proportionate than his character.


In the United States the founding of a soldiers’ home dates from March
3, 1851, when an act of Congress was passed and approved “to found a
military asylum for the relief and support of invalid and disabled
soldiers of the Army of the United States.” For years before this,
however, the principal officers of the Army, particularly Maj. Gen.
Winfield Scott, had given the subject attention and had made special
efforts to procure the needed legislation. In February, 1848, General
Scott transmitted to the Secretary of War a draft for $100,000 as part
of the tribute levied by him on the City of Mexico for the benefit of
the Army, and he expressed the hope that it might be allowed to go to
the credit of an Army asylum.

This home for the Regular Army was established in the District of
Columbia in 1851-52. It is located about 3 miles due north from the
Capitol. The original purchase of land was 256 acres. Additional tracts
added since the original purchase make a total of 500³⁄₄ acres.


The south part of the main building is named for Gen. Winfield Scott,
the founder of the home; the addition on the north for Gen. William
T. Sherman. Constructed of white marble; it was commenced in 1852
and completed in 1891; is of Norman Gothic design, 251¹⁄₂ feet long
by 158¹⁄₂ feet wide, and has a clock tower; it will accommodate 370
members and contains a library and billiard hall.

The old homestead building near to and west of the Scott Building
is named after Gen. Robert Anderson, of Fort Sumter renown, to
commemorate the fact of his early advocacy of and great interest in
the establishment of the home. It was the home of the first members
and has frequently been used as the summer residence of the President.
President Buchanan occupied it in 1856-1860, President Lincoln in
1861-1864, President Hayes in 1877-1880, and President Arthur in
1882-1884. President Garfield thought of occupying it in the summer of

The eastern building--especially for members--was the first erected
and is called the King Building, after Surg. B. King, for 13 years the
attending surgeon and secretary and treasurer of the home.

The brick quarters northwest of the Sherman Building, erected in 1883,
is called the Sheridan Building, in honor of Gen. Philip H. Sheridan,
who was the president of the board of commissioners when the building
was erected.

More recently built structures are the Grant Building, completed in
1911, of white marble, accommodating 272 members and containing the
hall of the general mess, mess kitchen, and cold storage.

Stanley Hall, named for a former governor of the home, was completed in
1897, and is the general amusement hall, seating about 700 persons.

A neat chapel, built of red stone, was completed in 1871. Religious
worship--Protestant and Roman Catholic--is regularly observed.

A well-designed hospital was completed in 1876 and is known as the
Barnes Building. The Forwood Building and the La Garde Building have
since been added. The maximum capacity of the present hospital is 500
beds. It is not only for the sick, but is an infirmary for the aged and
helpless members.

The home maintains a library of 20,385 volumes, with newspapers and
magazines, which are added to yearly as funds will permit.

A portion of the spacious grounds is cultivated for the benefit of the
home; but the largest part is woodland, and through it all, taking
advantage of its topography, nearly 10 miles of graded macadamized
roads have been constructed, winding through groves of selected trees
of native and foreign varieties and over the open ground, commanding
fine views of the city, the Potomac River, and the surrounding country
for miles. The park is open to the public.

Soldiers of 20 years’ service, and men, whether pensioners or not, who
disabled by wounds or disease in the service and in the line of duty
and have been honorably discharged from the Army are admitted to the

[Illustration: CABIN JOHN BRIDGE]


Erected about 1860 by Gen. Montgomery G. Meigs, this bridge spans Cabin
John Run, about 7 miles northwest of Washington. It is a part of the
aqueduct system, and the arch spanning the stream is 220 feet across
at the base and 105 feet in height. The entire length of the bridge is
584 feet. The thickness of the bridge above the arch is 14¹⁄₂ feet, and
it is 20 feet in width. Until a few years ago it was the largest stone
arch in the world.


Ford’s Theater Building, in which President Lincoln was assassinated
while attending a performance on the night of April 14, 1865, is on the
east side of Tenth Street between E and F Streets NW.

The building was originally a Baptist Church and used as such for more
than 15 years. It was used as a theater less than three years--from
1862 to 1865--and never as such after the night of the assassination.
Taken over immediately by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, it was
made over into a 3-story building for use of the War Department and
was so used for many years. Now it is a Government building, housing
in part a portion of the Oldroyd collection from the Lincoln museum.
On April 9, 1893, while repairs were being made, the three floors
collapsed, killing 22 clerks and injuring 68.

The residence of Harry C. Ford, who was manager of the theater for his
father, John T. Ford, stood adjacent to the theater on the right.


Across the street from Ford’s Theater stands a red brick house (No. 516
Tenth Street NW.) to which President Lincoln, after being shot about
10.30 o’clock on the night of April 14, 1865, was carried and where,
after an interval of 9 hours, he died at 22 minutes after 7 o’clock the
following morning without regaining consciousness.

The room to which the martyred President was brought is a little front
one on the main floor. In size and simplicity it was a room like that
of the log cabin in Kentucky in which the great man was born. As a man
of the people, though they had elevated him to the highest position
the Nation could bestow on any of its citizens, he died amidst simple
surroundings as one of them.

The house was purchased by the United States Government in 1897 for
$30,000; the Oldroyd Lincoln Memorial Collection was purchased for
$50,000 and taken over by the Government September 1, 1926. It is now
under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and is visited by
many thousands each year.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Leet Brothers_



Mr. Oldroyd gathered in the course of 50 years upward of 3,000 articles
pertaining to the martyred President. These can be seen by visitors
to the house. The room in which Abraham Lincoln died has been kept as
nearly as possible as it was when Lincoln passed away and when Stanton
said, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

The following are some of the articles that can be seen: Wreaths
that lay upon the casket in Washington and at the final burial in
Springfield, Ill., and a rose taken from his bosom just before the
casket was closed--faded, but hermetically sealed in a small glass
case, it still appears a rose. There is also in the house furniture
used by Mrs. Lincoln in Springfield, including her cookstove; the plain
office desk and chair Abraham Lincoln used while practicing law with
William H. Herndon; a plain black and white shawl that he wore in place
of an overcoat, as men did in those days; the last bit of writing he
did; the Bible his mother, Nancy Hanks, gave to him before she died,
when he was not yet 9 years of age, and from which he was taught to
read; the desk upon which much of the Emancipation Proclamation was
written; also many documents, prints, and books describing his life.




The site for the Capitol, or the Federal House, as selected by
L’Enfant, is on what was then known as Jenkin’s Hill, 88 feet above the
level of the Potomac River.

The northwest cornerstone of the main building was laid on September
18, 1793, by President Washington with Masonic ceremonies. The building
is of Virginia sandstone from quarries on Aquia Creek.

The north wing was finished in 1800 and the south wing in 1811. A
wooden passageway connected them. Congress convened there for the first
time at the second session of the Sixth Congress, which began November
17, 1800, and ended March 3, 1801.

The original designs were prepared by Dr. William Thornton, and the
work was done under the direction of Stephen H. Hallet, James Hoban,
and George Hadfield. Benjamin H. Latrobe was the architect. Washington
and Jefferson favored the classical type of architecture for the
building, and it was adopted.

On August 24, 1814, the interior of both wings was destroyed by fire
set by the British. Many books of the small Library of Congress housed
in the building at that time were burned, whereupon Congress purchased
the library of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. The damage to the
Capitol was immediately repaired.

In 1818 the central portion of the building was commenced under the
architectural superintendence of Charles Bulfinch, architect, of
Boston. The original building was finally completed in 1827. Its cost,
including the grading of the grounds, alterations, and repairs, up to
1827, was $2,433,844.13.

Because of the growth of the Republic, after half a century it became
necessary to build a Senate Chamber on the north and a House of
Representatives Chamber on the south. The cornerstone of the extensions
to the Capitol which increased it to its present size was laid on
July 4, 1851, by President Fillmore. Daniel Webster was the orator of
the day. This work was prosecuted under the direction of Thomas U.
Walter, Architect of the Capitol until 1865, when he resigned, and was
completed under the supervision of Edward Clark. The House extension
was first occupied for legislative purposes December 16, 1857, and the
Senate extension January 4, 1859.

The white marble used in the walls is from Massachusetts and that in
the columns from Maryland.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Commercial Photo Co._


The entire length of the building from north to south is 751 feet 4
inches and its greatest dimension from east to west is 350 feet. The
area covered by the building is 3¹⁄₂ acres.

The Dome of the original central building was constructed of wood,
covered with copper. The present structure of cast iron was commenced
in 1856, and completed in 1865. The entire weight of iron used is
8,909,200 pounds.

The Dome is crowned by the bronze Statue of Freedom, 19 feet 6 inches
high and weighing 14,985 pounds. It was modeled by the sculptor Thomas
Crawford. The height of the Dome above the base line of the east front
is 287 feet 5 inches. The height from the top of the balustrade of the
building is 217 feet 11 inches. The greatest diameter at the base is
135 feet 5 inches.

The Rotunda is 97 feet 6 inches in diameter, and its height from
the floor to the top of the canopy is 180 feet 3 inches. The canopy
overhanging the Dome, portraying the Apotheosis of Washington, was
painted by Brumidi.

The Rotunda frieze, 65 feet above the floor, making a circle 300 feet
in length around the walls, illustrates important periods in American

Paintings in the Rotunda are as follows:

  The Landing of Columbus on San Salvador, October 12, 1492, by

  The Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto, 1541, by W. H. Powell.

  The Baptism of Pocahontas, Jamestown, Va., 1613, by John G. Chapman.

  The Embarkation of the Pilgrims from Delft-Haven, July 22, 1620, by
  Robert W. Weir.

  The Signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, July 4,
  1776, by John Trumbull.

  The Surrender of Burgoyne, Saratoga, October 17, 1777, by John

  The Surrender of Cornwallis, Yorktown, Va., October 19, 1781, by John

  The Resignation of General Washington, December 23, 1783, by John

The Senate Chamber is 113 feet 3 inches in length by 80 feet 3 inches
in width and 36 feet in height. The galleries will accommodate 682
persons. The House of Representatives Chamber is 139 feet in length
by 93 feet in width and 36 feet in height. In 1800 the Chambers were
lighted by lamps and tallow candles, and the 142 Representatives
were seated in chairs. To-day there are 435 Members of the House
of Representatives, in addition to 2 Delegates and 2 Resident
Commissioners, who are seated on benches, which are arranged in a
semicircle like those of the theater of Dionysius. To-day the Capitol
is lighted by electricity and equipped with a modern ventilating system.

The room later occupied by the Supreme Court of the United States was
the Senate Chamber until 1859. Previous to that time the court occupied
the room immediately beneath, now used as a law library.

Beautiful paintings by Brumidi, Trumbull, and others adorn the Capitol,
and many statues, gift of the States, may be seen in Statuary Hall,
set apart as such in 1864, being formerly the House of Representatives

[Illustration: THE CAPITOL AT NIGHT]

[Illustration: STATUE OF FREEDOM]

Massive bronze doors by Rogers, depicting scenes from the life of
Christopher Columbus, are at the main entrance, the east, and open from
the portico to the Rotunda. They call to mind the Ghiberti doors in

There are 24 columns of Maryland sandstone, 30 feet high, in the
central portico. Statues by Greenough and Persico flank the steps.

The Capitol is to-day the most significant building in this country.
Its assessed value in 1930 for building and grounds was $45,000,000.

On the east portico of the Capitol newly elected Presidents of the
United States take the oath of office.


As has been stated, the Statue of Freedom surmounting the Dome of the
Capitol is the work of one of America’s great artists, Thomas Crawford.
The modeling was done in Rome, and at the time of his death, in 1857,
he was endeavoring to secure the necessary funds for the casting of
it at the Royal Foundry at Munich. On April 19, 1858, the plaster
model was shipped from Leghorn, Italy, and after a perilous voyage to
New York it arrived in Washington in April, 1859. At that time work
on completion of the Capitol was proceeding under the supervision of
Thomas U. Walter, architect.

On May 24, 1860, the Secretary of War, in a statement concerning the
casting of the statue stated that--

  it will be cast by Clark Mills and he will be paid for his services
  and for the rent of his foundry [at Mills Avenue toward Bladensburg,
  where the Andrew Jackson equestrian was cast in 1853] and necessary
  expenses at the rate of $400 per month and that the material, fuel,
  labor, etc., will be paid for by the Government.

This arrangement had been entered into and the work had progressed to
quite an extent, when Captain Meigs, who had returned to duty at the
Capitol, issued a formal statement of the existence of war, on May
15, 1861, suspending work on the Capitol extension and the new Dome.
But subsequently, even though the existence of war between the States
handicapped the Government, the necessary arrangements for completing
the Dome and for casting the statue were made. The statue was hoisted
in place on the Dome amid a salute of 35 guns on December 2, 1863.

The original model of the statue may be seen to-day in the rotunda of
the Museum of History Building of the Smithsonian Institution.


These bronze doors, the central and most elaborate of the Capitol,
were modeled by Randolph Rogers at Rome in 1858, and cast at the Royal
Bavarian Foundry in Munich by Ferdinand von Muller, director, at a cost
of $17,000. Each of the doors is 19 feet high and 5 feet wide. They are
surmounted by a semicircular transom-panel or lunette representing the
landing of Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. The casing
border is a decorative scheme composed of anchors, rudders, and armor;
four figures in low relief typify Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. At
the top of the casing arch is a bust of Columbus.


Each of the doors is separated into four panels, portraying scenes in
alto-relief from life of Columbus.

The lowest panel on the left-hand door pictures Columbus before the
Council of Salamanca. Then follows his departure from the Convent of La
Rabida for the Spanish Court. The next is the audience before Ferdinand
and Isabella, and the last the sailing from Palos on the first voyage.

The top panel on the right-hand door represents the first encounter
with the Indians. The next the triumphal entry into Barcelona. Then
follows Columbus in chains, and the last depicts the death of the

The borders of the separate doors each contain eight figures
representing prominent personages of the fifteenth century who played
important parts in the events connected with the discovery of America.


The bronze doors of the Senate wing were designed by Thomas Crawford,
sculptor, though the actual work of executing the plaster models was
done by William H. Rinehart. They represent Crawford’s last work as a
sculptor. It was first contemplated that one of the doors should be
cast at the Royal Bavarian Foundry in Munich and that the other door
should be cast in this country. The death of Thomas Crawford in 1857
and the subsequent occurrence of the Civil War caused many of the plans
to be changed. The doors, the first of that kind in America, were
finally cast in 1868 at Chicopee, Mass., by James T. Ames, and the
expense, $50,000, was far greater than was anticipated at the time when
it was planned to have the work done in this country. They weigh 14,000
pounds. The sculptor, Rinehart, received about $9,000.

Each of the doors consists of three panels and a medallion picturing
events of the Revolutionary War.

The upper panel of the right-hand door contains a representation of
the death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17,
1775; the center panel shows General Washington rebuking Gen. Charles
Lee at the Battle of Monmouth, N. J., on June 28, 1778; the lower panel
pictures the storming of a redoubt at Yorktown, Va., led by Alexander
Hamilton, on October 14, 1781; the medallion at the bottom represents a
conflict between a Hessian soldier and a New Jersey farmer.

The medallion at the bottom of the left-hand door represents Peace
and Agriculture. Above is a panel showing General Washington passing
underneath an arch of flowers at Trenton, N. J., while on his way to
New York City to be inaugurated as the first President of the United
States; the middle panel represents Washington taking the oath of
office as President, which was administered by Chancellor Livingston
on April 30, 1789--the United States Supreme Court had not as yet been
organized, so that the oath could not be administered by the Chief
Justice. The top panel represents President Washington laying the
corner stone of the Capitol on September 18, 1793.



The bronze doors of the House of Representatives resemble in general
outline and arrangement the bronze doors of the Senate. Each door
consists of three panels and a medallion picturing events in American
history. The design is that of Thomas Crawford, sculptor, but the
modeling and completion was that of William H. Rinehart. The models
after being transported to this country remained for a long time in
storage and were finally cast by M. H. Mosman, at Chicopee, Mass., who
had succeeded to or continued the business organization of James T.
Ames, by whom the Senate doors were cast.

The doors were installed in the autumn of 1905, the cost to the
Government being $45,000.

The upper panel of the left-hand door portrays the Massacre of Wyoming,
July 17, 1778; the center panel the Battle of Lexington, April 19,
1775; the lower panel presentation of flag to Gen. William Moultrie for
his defense of Sullivans Island, Charleston Harbor, June 28, 1776; and
the medallion at the bottom shows the death of General Montgomery in
the attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775.

The upper panel of the right-hand door depicts the reading of the
Declaration of Independence; the center panel the signing of the Paris
treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, September
3, 1783; the lower panel Washington’s farewell to his officers at New
York, December 4, 1783; and the medallion at the bottom contains a
seated figure of Franklin in his study.


Congress is one of the three coordinate branches of the United States
Government. It is the legislative branch and consists of a Senate,
to which the Members, two from each State, are elected for a term of
six years; and the House of Representatives, to which the Members
are elected for a term of two years. The membership is based on the
population of the United States, and in January, 1939, numbered 435
Members. The apportionment is made among the several States in the
ratio that the whole number of persons in each State bears to the total
population of the country. States arrange for their own congressional
districts after the number of Members of the House of Representatives
from each State has been determined upon. There are in the House, also,
2 Territorial Delegates--1 each from Alaska and Hawaii--and 2 Resident
Commissioners--1 from the Commonwealth of the Philippines and 1 from
Puerto Rico. They have the right to debate but not to vote.


[Illustration: SENATE CHAMBER]


The Constitution provides that Congress shall assemble on January 3 of
each year (20th amendment); and each Congress usually consists of two


The powers of Congress are set forth in Article I, section 8 of the
Constitution, which is divided into 18 clauses. The power to raise
revenue originates in the House of Representatives, which carries
the burden in providing necessary appropriations; the Senate has the
power of confirming or rejecting appointments made by the President
and to ratify treaties. Measures are originated in the form of bills
or resolutions, which are thereupon referred to committees for report
before being introduced in the Senate or House of Representatives.

The age requirement for eligibility as a Member of the House of
Representatives is 25 years, and for the Senate 30 years; each person
must have been a citizen of the United States for seven years and a
citizen of the State from which elected.

Members of Congress are by the Constitution granted exemption from
arrest under certain conditions while attending the sessions of their
respective Houses and in going to and returning from such sessions,
“and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be
questioned in any other place.”

The proceedings and debates in Congress are published in the
Congressional Record, which is printed daily at the Government Printing
Office with such rapidity that even though a session of Congress may
continue until late in the night a copy of the Record is at hand for
each Member the following morning.



A bill or resolution, to become a law, must be passed by both the
House of Representatives and the Senate and approved by the President.
If there are points of disagreement in the Senate or House of
Representatives in the enactment of legislation, each body appoints
conferees to settle the points in dispute. The President has the
power to veto a bill, but the measure can become law if reconsidered
and passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives by
a two-thirds majority. Occasionally the President makes use of the
“pocket veto”; that is, if the bill was passed within 10 days (Sundays
excepted) of the adjournment of Congress, the President may retain
(pocket) the bill, which is thus killed at the end of the session
without the interposition of a direct veto, and without risking the
chances of its passage over the veto. If the President does not
interpose the ordinary veto, a bill becomes law at the expiration of 10

[Illustration: UNION STATION]

The President is given authority by the Constitution to convene either
or both Houses of Congress in extraordinary session.


The Senate and House Office Buildings, the former flanking the Capitol
to the north and the latter to the south, were designed by Carrere &
Hastings, architects, and are in the classical style of architecture.
A new House Office Building, designed by the Allied Architects, Inc.,
of Washington, has recently been completed, and also the East Wing of
the Senate Office Building, designed by Wyeth & Sullivan, architects of
Washington. Each Senator is provided with offices of from two to three
rooms, and likewise each Representative, excepting a few whose offices
are in the Capitol.


In the design of the station much thought was given to the
architectural features. Since Greece and Rome have furnished
architectural inspiration for so many of the public buildings of
Washington, a freely interpreted classic may be considered as the
recognized architecture of these structures; and as the new station was
to be the monumental gateway to the National Capital, it seemed fitting
that the architectural motives should be drawn from the triumphal
arches of Rome. They inspired Mr. Burnham to design the Union Station
as he did. Construction work was begun in August, 1902, the terminal
opened October 27, 1907, and was completed in April, 1908.

Some of the elements entering into the design of the terminal were
unique. In most cities the probable future growth and nature of
the traffic plays an important part in the planning of a passenger
terminal. Washington has very little suburban traffic; and as it will
never become a commercial center, the question of providing for future
growth was of minor importance. The main problem was how to care for
and provide against abnormal conditions, which arise at least once
every four years. The handling of inauguration crowds had always been
a heavy expense to the railroads, because they had to provide such
elaborate temporary facilities. On the other hand, to provide adequate
permanent facilities meant a large expenditure, with the attendant
heavy carrying charges. On account of the dilapidated condition of the
passenger facilities owned by the companies, and the urgent need of
larger and better terminals, a union terminal seemed to show advantages
over the separate stations provided for in the acts of 1901.

[Illustration: _Courtesy of Commercial Photo Co._


The layout embraces every feature and facility involved in the
construction of a first-class terminal, including a depot building
planned and constructed after the most modern lines, and containing
every feature for the convenience, comfort, and pleasure of the
traveling public; the most complete and up-to-date facilities for
conducting the business of a large railroad station; a main power
plant for furnishing power of every kind required for the successful
operation of the station and yards; a large and completely equipped
express terminal for caring for the express business handled by the
companies; a modern commodious roundhouse and shop layout for caring
for repairs to equipment; the most complete interlocking layout and
intercommunication system ever constructed; one of the most complete
passenger-equipment yards ever built; and a track system covering yards
and main tracks within the passenger-terminal zone aggregating about 60
miles of single track.

The station building proper is 626 feet 10 inches long and 210 feet 9
inches wide, exclusive of the space taken up by the columns in front of
the central pavilion or main portico. The front and ends are made up of
groups of semicircular arches characteristic of Roman architecture. The
main portico or central pavilion consists of 3 arches, each 29 feet 6
inches wide and 48 feet 9 inches high. Flanking it on either side are 7
arches, each 12 feet 4 inches wide and 24 feet 8 inches high, while the
end pavilions are composed of arches 22 feet wide and 38 feet 6 inches

The west end is made up of 5 arches 19 feet 2 inches wide and 37 feet
7 inches high, and 1 arch 12 feet 4 inches wide and 24 feet 8 inches
high. The former are used as exits for carriages from the carriage
porch, the latter to carry out the open portico treatment across the
front. At the east end leading to the open portico are 2 windows with
arch treatment, and there are 5 arches 12 feet 6 inches wide and 24
feet 8 inches high, 1 arch 22 feet wide and 38 feet 6 inches high,
leading to a carriage pavilion.

The east pavilion leads to a suite of rooms for the use of the
President and the guests of the Nation, the west pavilion to the
carriage porch at the west end of the ticket lobby. The central and end
pavilions are connected by a portico or loggia from 14 feet 6 inches to
16 feet 6 inches wide, the portico and pavilions forming a continuous
covered porch the entire length of the structure, and affording
protection from the elements. The east and west wings of the building
are 69 feet 7¹⁄₂ inches above the floor level, and the domes over the
carriage entrances are 78 feet 3¹⁄₂ inches above the same point. The
dome over the main waiting room is 122 feet 10 inches high.


The concourse in the rear of the main building is 760 feet long and 130
feet wide, exceeding by nearly nine feet the length of the Capitol. It
is covered by a segmental arched ceiling 45 feet high in the center and
22 feet at the springing line above the main floor. About 40 per cent
of the ceiling area is of glass, the remainder is artistically coffered
ornamental plaster. The concourse is divided by the usual train fence
into two sections, that on the station side being 83 feet and that on
the track side 47 feet wide.

There are 32 tracks leading to the station--20 on the level of the
waiting rooms and 12 depressed below the street level a distance of 20
feet. Two tubes of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. and Southern Railway
Co., each 16 feet wide, run from the station south along First Street
between the Library of Congress and the Capitol for about a mile.
At the Fountain of Neptune the tunnel is 40 feet below the surface.
Approximately 285 trains enter and leave the railway station each day;
the daily number of passengers is approximately 30,000.

The general waiting room has a clear width of 120 feet, is 219
feet long, exclusive of the colonnades, and is covered by a Roman
barrel-vaulted ceiling, its highest point, exclusive of coffers,
being 96 feet above the floor level. The decorations are sunken
panels patterned after the baths of Diocletian. It is lighted by a
semicircular window 72¹⁄₂ feet in diameter at the east end, by three
semicircular windows in the south side and five on the north side, each
27¹⁄₂ feet in diameter, and by the glass roof over the ticket lobby at
the west end. Imperial Rome at her greatest did not possess a hall of
such proportions.

The Union Station is built of Vermont white granite. In the
construction of this massive building Mr. Burnham set a standard for
civic improvement for the construction of railroad terminals in this

The complete architectural treatment of the front elevation of the
station includes six stone statues and four eagles, the former over
the central pavilion, and the latter over the carriage entrances at
the east and west ends. This statuary is placed in front of the great
friezes over the main entrance arches and over the carriage archways
and, with the inscriptions in the panels between, have been made a
special architectural feature.

Before the adoption of the scheme a number of suggestions for the
subjects of the statues and inscriptions were secured, ranging from
the explorers and discoverers of this country to the various inventors
who have had most to do with the development of transportation. The
general architectural treatment of the building, however, was such
as to preclude the usual portrait statues. To make them take their
place as part of the architecture required that they be limited to
allegorical draped figures, forming simple, massive silhouettes against
the vast frieze. In the development of the complete scheme, embracing
the subjects for the statuary, with appropriate inscriptions in the
intervening panels, the late Charles W. Eliot, former president of
Harvard University, was consulted. The result is an appropriate and
adequate treatment of the decorative frieze over the doorway of the
vestibule to the Capital of the Nation.

The general decorative features of the main entrance to the building
consist of six massive stone columns, two on each side and one in front
of each pier supporting the main arches. Upon pedestals on the tops
of these columns the granite statues, about 18 feet high, are placed,
those on the west side of the entrance representing Prometheus and
Thales, typifying Fire and Electricity, those on the east side Ceres
and Archimedes, typifying Agriculture and Mechanics, while Freedom and
Imagination are depicted by the central figures. Those on the west
side represent two of the great forces connected with the operation of
railroads, while those on the east owe much of their development and
wealth to the railroads. The central figures typify the atmosphere of
freedom in which the inventive imagination has been able to accomplish
such great results. The columns flanking the carriage entrances are
surmounted by stone eagles about 8 feet high.

The following inscriptions are cut in the granite panels over the main

  _West_ (_Prometheus and Thales_)




  _Central_ (_Freedom and Imagination_)




  _East_ (_Ceres and Archimedes_)




In the panels over the entrances to the carriage porch and state
apartment the following inscriptions are cut:

  _Carriage Porch_ (_south elevation_)


  _State Apartment_ (_south elevation_)


  _State Apartment_ (_east elevation_)



The decorations immediately in front of and along the sides of the east
and west entrances consist of stone balustrades upon which at proper
intervals are ornamental lamp posts.

Immediately in front of the main entrance to the Union Station there
are three ornamental iron flagstaffs 110 feet in height, the ornamental
base and decorative portions of which are in bronze. These were
designed by D. H. Burnham & Co., architects of the Union Station.

Since the completion of the Union Station in 1908 there have also been
placed on the Plaza the Columbus Memorial Fountain in front of the main
entrance, and two large fountains, one on each side of the memorial.

All stone used in the decoration of the Plaza, except that in the bowls
of the fountains, is Vermont white granite, from the same quarry as
that used in the station building. The fountain bowls are of Maine
green granite. The upper bowls are 13 feet in diameter and cut from
a single piece of stone; the lower bowls are 22 feet 6 inches in
diameter, the rims being made from eight separate pieces of granite.
The bottoms of these bowls are of reinforced concrete and are lined
with sheet lead.


The Washington City Post Office moved into its present quarters on
September 5, 1914. The building faces on Massachusetts Avenue and
extends from North Capitol Street to First Street NE.

At the time of occupancy it was considered the model post office
for the rest of the country, being provided with the most modern
mail-handling equipment that human ingenuity could devise. There are
conveyor belts through a tunnel under the streets for bringing the
enormous amount of Government mail from the Government Printing Office
directly into the post office, where it is made up for dispatch to
trains; other belts for conveying mail from one section of the office
to another; bucket lifts for raising mail from a lower to a higher
floor; gravity chutes to send mail from an upper to a lower level;
miniature trolley systems to carry smaller amounts of mail, or even
single important letters, from one section of the workroom floor to
another; and other devices to save footsteps of the employees and
conserve their time.

The building is three stories above the ground level and two stories
below. The two upper floors and one of the lower ones are given over to
Post Office Department activities, such as the Postal Savings Division,
the Division of Stamps, the Division of Equipment and Supplies, and
others. The building is so constructed that the maximum of natural
daylight is permitted to enter. It has no heating plant of its own,
being supplied with heat from the plant located at First and E Streets
SE. that supplies the Capitol, Senate and House Office Buildings, and
the Government Printing Office. The necessary pipes are brought into
the building through underground tunnels.


There are approximately 6 acres of floor space available for the
Washington Post Office. This additional space was secured by a new
addition. It was thought at the time the post office moved into its new
quarters that the floor space provided would be ample to take care of
all increases in the volume of mail for a period of 50 years. In a few
years the office far outgrew this space, and Congress appropriated for
an addition to the building about equal in size to the original one.
The construction of this addition cost $4,000,000.

The original building cost $3,028,000, and the general style of the
architecture is that of the monumental work of Roman times and was
designed by Peirce Anderson, architect, to harmonize with the Union
Station, which adjoins, and to which it is connected by a covered
bridge, over which mail to and from the trains is trucked.

The main exterior motive consists of an Ionic colonnade flanked by
corner pavilions treated with round arches, inclosed in a strong frame
of columns and pilasters and surmounted by solid attics carrying
inscriptions as follows:



Many visitors to Washington will stop and read these inscriptions
and, being interested in the authorship thereof, will make inquiry
concerning it. Research shows that the originals were prepared by Dr.
Charles W. Eliot, at that time president of Harvard University, but
that some slight changes were made in the text by the late President
Wilson to the extent of the alteration of some three or four words. It
is this revision that appears on the building.

The material of the exterior of the building is Vermont white granite
and is the same as that used in the construction of the Union Station.
The general treatment of the main lobby, which is 250 feet in length,
is that of a high cella, 30 feet wide and 53 feet high, and surrounded
by an order of pilasters in Tavernelle marble. The adjoining vestibules
are ornamented by 24 monolithic columns of gray-green granite from
New Hampshire. These columns are 2 feet and 4 inches in diameter and
20 feet in height. The floor is of Tennessee marble, laid in patterns
of pinks and grays. The main lobby ceiling has an elaborate coffered
design inspired from the best period of the Italian Renaissance.


The gross receipts of the Washington Post Office have increased from
$1,792,917 in 1914 to nearly $7,000,000 in 1938.

In order to make postal facilities as easily accessible as possible,
there are located throughout the city 31 classified and 41 contract

To properly transport mail from the main office to the various
stations, electric-line terminals, steamboat wharves, and aviation
fields, and to make collections from the street letter boxes and
deliver parcel-post packages, the office operates a fleet of fully 100
Government-owned automobile trucks.

Designed by Graham Anderson, Probst & White and built of white Vermont
granite, the addition was completed in 1937 and it doubled the size of
the city post office.


The Library of Congress, the world’s largest and most elaborate
building devoted wholly to library uses, occupies two city squares east
of and facing the Capitol Grounds, also an addition recently completed.

The architecture is of the Italian Renaissance order, from plans made
by J. J. Smithmeyer and Paul Pelz, and modified by Edward P. Casey. The
exterior walls are of New Hampshire granite. Fifty masters of painting
and sculpture worked together to make it a treasure house of the best
contemporary American art, fit to shelter one of the greatest libraries
of the world. Army engineers superintended its construction.

Begun in 1886, completed in 1897, the building measures 340 feet
by 470 feet and covers about 3¹⁄₂ acres. Its cost to date has been
$7,868,951. The addition was designed by Pierson & Wilson, architects
of Washington, and built of Georgia marble.

In front of the Library is a bronze fountain by Hinton Perry, sculptor,
representing the Court of Neptune.

The grand stair hall of the entrance pavilion is of Italian white
marble, is particularly beautiful at night, when visitors delight to
see it. It leads to the great rotunda, which is the reading room. To
the right are the library rooms of Senators and Representatives and
the periodical room. To the left are the rooms for the blind and the
conservatory of music.

On the second floor at the head of the staircase is Elihu Vedder’s
famous mosaic, Minerva. On this floor also are on exhibition the
original Declaration of Independence, the original Constitution of the
United States, and the Gutenberg Bible. To the right is the prints
division, now called the division of fine arts, and to the left the
manuscripts division.


The reading room contains the card-index catalogue of the books in
the Library, will accommodate 1,000 readers at a time, and is free to
any reader over 16 years of age. The alcoves are devoted to books on
particular subjects.

The reading room is under the dome, which is 100 feet in diameter
and 195 feet high to the lantern. In the lantern of the dome is a
female figure indicating Human Understanding, and on the collar
surrounding the lantern, 150 feet in circumference, is the Evolution
of Civilization, symbolic of the 12 nations and epochs which have
contributed to the world’s advance--both great works of art by Edwin
Howland Blashfield. The dome is beautifully decorated, and the series
of statues in bronze by famous American sculptors at intervals on the
balustrade encircling the rotunda make the scene impressive.

The pillars in the rotunda are 40 feet high, the windows 32 feet wide.

There are 16 bronze statues surrounding the railing of the gallery
under the dome, representing leaders in great fields of learning, as

  _Religion_: Moses the great lawgiver, holding the Tables of the Law,
  given at Mount Sinai, by Charles Henry Niehaus; St. Paul, with sword
  and scroll, by John Donoghue.

  _Commerce_: Christopher Columbus, by Paul Bartlett; Robert Fulton,
  holding a model of his first steamboat, Clermont, by Lewis Potter.

  _History_: Herodotus, the “Father of History,” by Daniel Chester
  French; Edward Gibbon, author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman
  Empire, by C. H. Niehaus.

  _Art_: Michelangelo, by Paul Bartlett; Beethoven, by Theodor Bauer.

  _Philosophy_: Plato, by John J. Boyle; Francis Bacon, by John J.

  _Poetry_: Homer, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens; Shakespeare, by Frederick
  W. MacMonnies.

  _Law_: Solon, by F. Wellington Ruckstuhl; James Kent, by George E.

  _Science_: Newton, by Cyrus E. Dallin; Joseph Henry, by Herbert Adams.

Numerous paintings, mosaics, and inscriptions adorn the interior walls.
The dark Tennessee, the red Numidia, and the shades of yellow Sienna
marble give the room a rich color effect.

When the collection of a million books was moved from the crowded
Capitol it was believed that the increase for the next hundred years
had been amply provided for; but before 15 years had passed it had been
found necessary to roof over one of the four great open courts (more
than a quarter of an acre in extent) and fill it with a 10-story steel
bookstack to hold 1,500,000 volumes. By 1927 another court had been
filled with a 14-story stack. Two years later four levels were added to
the first of these court stacks, making the two equal.

To meet the great increase in the future, Congress appropriated for
the purchase of a square and a half of land to the eastward and the
construction of an annex building costing $9,300,000. To the annex will
be transferred the copyright office, card division, printery, and
bindery, but leaving room in it for eight or ten million volumes of
less active material, such, for example, as the 97,000 volumes of bound
newspapers. There are 20 acres of floor space in the new building.

The Library’s resources for research are unsurpassed in the Western
Hemisphere; its service as a national library is unexcelled. The
printed book collection on June 30, 1938, totaled 5,591,000, surpassed
in numbers only by that of the Bibliothèque National in Paris, and
increasing at a greater rate than those in any other library. Last year
196,000 volumes were added.


Founded in 1800 by an act appropriating $5,000 for the purchase of
“books for the use of both Houses of Congress,” the Library continued,
down to the midpoint of its 139 years of history, to be no more than
its name implies--a collection for the use of the National Legislature.
By 1865 the Library had attained a growth of 82,000 volumes, which
was notable among American libraries neither in size nor in service

The collections include the library of Thomas Jefferson (6,760 volumes,
the nucleus of the present collections, purchased for $23,950 in 1815),
the Peter Force and the Toner collections of American history, the
Smithsonian Institution’s unequaled collection of the proceedings of
learned societies of the world, the Yudin collection of Russian books
(with later additions probably the largest outside of Russia), the
collection of John Boyd Thacher (fifteenth-century books, and books
on the French Revolution, early Americana, autographs of European
notables), the Schiff-Deinard collection of Hebrew literature, and
130,000 Chinese books, understood to be one of the largest and
best-organized collections outside the Orient. Most notable among
recent accessions is the Vollbehr collection of 3,000 fifteenth-century
books (incunabula), for whose purchase Congress appropriated $1,500,000
in July, 1930. The gem of this group is the Gutenberg Bible, one of the
three extant perfect copies on vellum of the first great book printed
in Europe from movable type (A. D. 1450-1455).


Manuscripts relating chiefly to American history are among the
Library’s greatest treasures. The reproducing by photography of
manuscript materials for American history in foreign archives and
libraries, which since 1927 has formed so significant a portion of the
division’s work, has added more than 2,000,000 pages to the resources
which students of that history can use in Washington without going to

Chief among originals beyond all price are the Declaration of
Independence, the Constitution of the United States--both added in
1921--the personal papers of President Washington, many Presidents, and
other statesmen.

The Library is rich in music. This collection numbers over 1,194,000
pieces and volumes, surpassed only in two or three European libraries.
An auditorium of 500 seats, given and richly endowed by Mrs. Elizabeth
Sprague Coolidge, provides free concerts and lectures.

Other notable groups are 1,400,000 maps and views; 542,000 engravings
and other pictorial reproductions, including the splendid Pennell
collections; the law library (404,000 volumes). The social and
political sciences are represented by 890,500 volumes, language and
literature by 350,000, history by 420,000, and pure science by 265,500.

The most recent important development in service is the division of
aeronautics, established through a benefaction of $140,000 from the
Daniel Guggenheim Fund for Aeronautics, now supplemented by an annual
congressional appropriation.

Special facilities for serious research include some 50 individual
study rooms and (elsewhere) 125 special desks or tables. Interlibrary
loans for investigators whose work is likely to advance the boundaries
of knowledge are sent far and wide through the United States and some

There is a service for blind readers which last year loaned 42,000
volumes in embossed type to some 3,000 readers in the United States.

Printed catalogue cards, numbering 110,000,000, prepared by the Library
for its own catalogues, are sold at cost to some 6,300 other libraries,
effecting for the subscribers prodigious savings in their cataloguing
bills but yielding a revenue to the Treasury of $328,405.

Until very recently Congress alone provided the funds to meet all the
Library’s expenses, excepting one gift of $20,000 received in 1904.
But in 1925 the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board was created by
Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Librarian of Congress
being ex officio chairman and secretary of the board, respectively.
The act authorized the board to receive and invest funds for permanent
endowments, and the Librarian to receive gifts of money for immediate
disbursement. Already endowments aggregating about $2,000,000 and
gift funds of $1,415,000 for immediate expenditure have been received
and have yielded an income from 1925 to 1938 of $726,000. These new
resources add to the bibliographic apparatus and support a project
for developing an archive of American folk song. One endowment yields
$4,000 per year for the purchase of recent Hispanic literature and
employs a consultant to suggest items for purchase in this particular


Six consultants, men of professional rank and experience, are engaged
(without any administrative duties) in advising the maturer users of
the Library in their investigations. This unique service is to be found
nowhere else in libraries.

Notable among gifts are those of John D. Rockefeller, jr.--one of
$450,000 for the acquisition in facsimile copies of source material for
American history existing in the archives of foreign countries, and
another of $250,000 for the development of a great union catalogue of
important books in other American libraries.

The scheme of classification, covering 5,000 printed pages, has been
adopted in 80 large libraries in America and Europe.

Herbert Putnam, the Librarian, took office on April 5, 1899.

The Library staff, organized in 30 divisions, consists of 1,055
persons, of whom 585 are doing library work proper; 136 handle the
copyright business, which since 1870 has been under direction of
the Librarian; 204 constitute the building force, which guards the
building day and night, keeps it in beautiful order, attends to
heating, lighting, and ventilating the 15 acres of floor space, vacuum
cleans--the year round--the 162 miles of books, and looks after the
countless other mechanical matters. The remainder (111 persons) are
printers and bookbinders engaged on Library work, but under the Public
Printer’s direction; 19 are engaged on special projects.


When Henry C. Folger, of New York City, decided to build the library
his first thought was to have this monument to the glory of Shakespeare
designed in harmony with the architecture of Shakespeare’s time.
However, the library being in Washington, very near the Capitol, the
House of Representatives and Senate Office Buildings, and the Library
of Congress (to which group was added the Supreme Court Building), made
it appear somewhat dangerous to introduce Elizabethan architecture in
such a classical frame.

After a conference with Dr. Paul Cret, architect, and Alexander B.
Trowbridge, consultant, Mr. Folger agreed with this view, and a white
marble structure of classic design was agreed upon. However, if the
façades of a building are part of the scenery, once the door is passed,
it is quite legitimate to harmonize the interiors with the collections
therein displayed. It was with this end in view that the general plan
was studied and adopted.


The requirements of the donor necessitated a reading room as free as
possible from disturbance, and to find, for the benefit of the public,
a room where could be displayed some selected material--books, prints,
costumes, paintings, and works of art relating to Shakespeare. An
exhibition room and theater were laid out to form a somewhat separated
unit. The location of this reading room on the courtyard side away from
the street noise is also more favorable to study. Below the reading
room are two stories of stacks fully lighted by the courtyard.

The exhibition hall and the reading room form the center of the plan.
The east wing is occupied by the lecture room-theater, which has its
own lobby, and can be used at night independently of the rest of the
building. The retiring rooms and dressing rooms are in the basement,
and stairs lead to the balcony.

The west wing is occupied by the administration. On the main floor are
the founder’s rooms and the offices of the director, his assistants,
and clerks. On the second floor are the library staff workrooms and
five private study rooms for scholars.

The over-all size of the building is 226 feet by 111 feet. It rises
to a height of 48 feet on a property 364 feet by 186 feet. Work was
started in November 1929. The façades were to harmonize in masses
and material with classic Washington. A quiet modern Georgia marble
façade, with silver grilles and balconies, was designed, using,
as principal decoration, a set of nine bas-reliefs illustrating
Shakespeare’s plays and some inscriptions emphasizing its purpose of
memorial to a great poet.


The sculptural theme is based on the following plays: Macbeth, Romeo
and Juliet, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The
Merchant of Venice, Richard the Third, Hamlet, and Henry the Fourth.
Their execution was entrusted to John Gregory of New York. They are
placed so as to have more importance than the usual frieze--below each
window of the exhibition room, at the proper height for the passer-by,
and along a marble terrace raised 3 feet above the street level.



The Smithsonian Institution was established by act of Congress in
1846, under the terms of the will of James Smithson, an Englishman,
who in 1826 bequeathed his fortune to the United States to found,
at Washington, under the name of the “Smithsonian Institution,” an
establishment for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”
The Institution is legally an establishment, having as its members the
President of the United States, the Vice President, the Chief Justice,
and the President’s Cabinet. It is governed by a Board of Regents. The
Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution is its executive officer and
the director of its activities. The building was designed by James
Renwick, architect.

The regents are empowered to accept gifts without action of Congress,
in furtherance of the purpose of the Institution, and to administer
trusts in accordance therewith. Throughout its history, the Smithsonian
Institution has conducted and encouraged important scientific
researches, explorations, and investigations, which have contributed
largely to the advancement of knowledge, and thereby accomplishing
the “increase of knowledge.” The “diffusion of knowledge” is carried
on through several series of publications based on its researches
and collections, through its museum and art gallery exhibits, and
through an extensive correspondence. The Smithsonian issues 13 series
of scientific publications which are distributed free to libraries,
learned societies, and educational institutions throughout the world.
It also maintains a library of 876,000 volumes, which consists mainly
of transactions of learned societies and scientific periodicals.

The Institution has charge of the National Museum, the National Gallery
of Art, the National Collection of Fine Arts, the Freer Gallery of Art,
the International Exchange Service, the Bureau of American Ethnology,
the National Zoological Park, and the Astrophysical Observatory (with
several field stations).

The United States National Museum is the depository of the national
collections. It is rich in the natural history, geology, paleontology,
archeology, and ethnology of America, and has large and important
collections illustrating American history, including military and naval
material, and also valuable series relating to arts and industries.
It is an educational and research museum and issues scientific
publications. Its aeronautical collection includes the airplane _The
Spirit of St. Louis_, deposited by Col. Charles A. Lindbergh in the
spring of 1928.

The National Gallery of Art is a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution
created by joint resolution of Congress approved March 24, 1937, as
a result of the gift of Andrew W. Mellon to the Nation of his art
collection of masterpieces valued at $50,000,000 and $10,000,000 to
erect a building to house it. The above act accepting Mr. Mellon’s
gift provided that the art collections already in possession of the
Smithsonian Institution and therefore designated the National Gallery
of Art should thereafter be known as the National Collection of Fine
Arts. The National Gallery of Art is administered for the Smithsonian
Institution, in which title is vested, by a Board of Trustees. The
monumental marble building, designed by John Russell Pope, is now under
construction on the site on the north side of the Mall between Fourth
and Seventh Streets. (See p. 281 for illustration.)

The Bureau of American Ethnology is engaged particularly in the
collection of information relating to the American Indians. The
National Zoological Park has an area of 175 acres and is located
adjacent to Rock Creek Park. Its collection comprises about 3,000


The Government Printing Office, in which the printing and bookbinding
for the various branches of the National Government is executed, is
located on North Capitol Street between G and H Streets NW. Covering
almost a city block with its eight-story, red-brick building, this
plant is the best-equipped and is reputed to be the largest printing
office of its kind in the world.

Printing for the Government of the United States was first mentioned
during the initial session of Congress, in 1789, in the form of a
recommendation to that body that proposals be invited for “printing the
laws and other proceedings of Congress.”

The first specific appropriation for public printing was passed in
1794, when an expenditure of $10,000 was authorized for “firewood,
stationery, and printing.”

Between 1804 and 1814, Congress had no fixed policy in relation to
printing. A contract system by the lowest bidder was adopted. The plan
prevailed for 5 years but was very unsatisfactory, and Congress was
compelled to look for a better method. In December, 1818, both houses
passed a resolution appointing a joint committee to “consider and
report whether any further provisions of law are necessary to insure
dispatch, accuracy, and neatness in printing the documents of the two
Houses of Congress.” The inquiries by this committee led them to New
York and Philadelphia, where they studied printing costs and methods,
and upon returning to Washington they made a report declaring most
emphatically for the establishment of a national printing office as
the only means by which Congress could secure necessary printing at
reasonable costs.

No definite action was taken on the report, with the result that for
the next forty-odd years the method of handling public printing was
constantly changing. Some years there was a “Printer to the Senate”
and a “Printer to the House,” both elected by a ballot of Congress,
and in other years there was a “Superintendent of Public Printing.”
Altogether it was expensive and impractical, and by act of Congress on
June 23, 1860, a national printing office was authorized. On February
19, 1861, $135,000 was appropriated, and with this money the printing
establishment of Joseph T. Crowell, located at H and North Capitol
Streets, Washington, D. C., was purchased, upon approval of the Joint
Committee on Printing. This building had been constructed in 1856 by
Cornelius Wendell, as a private office. The building at that time was
243 by 61¹⁄₂ feet, 4 stories high, but by subsequent appropriations up
to 1876 several additions were made to the original structure.


The plant, as taken over in 1861, employed between 300 and 400 persons
and evidently was, for that period, very complete. It consisted of
a drying room, pressroom, wetting room, job room, folding room,
reading room, office, bindery, machine shop, boiler house, and
stable. Among some of the items of equipment were 1 timepiece, 5
wrenches, one 40-horse engine, 104 pressboards, 2 wetting tubs, and
a large assortment of book and job type. The reading room had eight
armchairs, two pine desks, and one mahogany desk. The bindery had but
few machines, with only 2 ruling and 2 cutting machines, but the list
carried 10 pairs of shears, 4 bodkins, and other minor equipment. The
pressroom had 23 Adams presses and 3 cylinder presses. With the stable
came two horses, one wagon, and one carryall, and the boiler house had
one 60-horse boiler, 525 feet of fire hose, five buckets, etc.

On March 23, 1861, President Lincoln appointed Hon. John Defrees, of
Indiana, as the Superintendent of Public Printing. He reported that
at once the cost of work decreased at least 15 percent from the old
contract prices.

On March 3, 1873, the printing of the debates of Congress, then known
as the Congressional Globe and handled under private contract, was
taken over by the Government Printing Office and thereafter became the
Congressional Record.

In 1876, Hon. A. M. Clapp, then Congressional Printer, was designated
the first Public Printer, at a yearly salary of $3,600. Composing rooms
employed 520 persons, pressroom 209, and bindery 591; in all, 1,361
persons were on the roll. The total yearly pay roll was $786,493. It
cost $188,198 to print the Congressional Record in 1876, while binding
of all kinds cost $402,069, paper $298,251, and the total output of the
Office was charged at $1,617,469. The total purchase of machinery and
equipment in that year was only $342.50.

In 1878 the building known as the Globe Vault was purchased from the
private owner, together with the bound and unbound volumes of the
Congressional Globe and all the stereotyped plates. The price paid was

Fireproof extensions to the Government Printing Office were erected in
1879 and 1880. In 1882 the first fire escapes were installed, and force
pumps proved such an attraction to the public that the apparatus had to
be covered with canvas. Bows and arrows were also provided which would
enable life lines to be “shot” through the upper windows.

By the act of January 12, 1895, the Office of the Superintendent of
Documents was established in the Government Printing Office. Previously
it was a part of the Interior Department. The principal functions of
the office were the preparation of the official catalogs and indexes of
the Government and distribution and sale of Government publications.

The Office was placed under operation of the civil-service law August
1, 1895. In the same year the Annex Building, formerly used by the
Superintendent of Documents, was constructed, and in the following year
the Public Printer reported the total floor space of the entire Office
had increased to 8³⁄₄ acres.

In 1898 Congress appropriated $190,000 for the purchase of ground
occupied by the present building. In 1899 the building was started. It
was completed about 4 years thereafter, at a cost of $2,430,000.

In 1903 a small space in the Old Building was set aside as the “sick
room.” Its equipment consisted of a cot, blanket, and a small supply of
medicines contributed by the employees. This was the nucleus from which
developed the first emergency hospital in any Government establishment
and was the initial step toward scientific medical and surgical
service. In 1907 an emergency room was installed and an additional
physician and matron were assigned to that service.

The first linotype machine and the first monotype keyboard
were installed in 1904. In 1912 electric trucks displaced the
horse-and-wagon delivery. In 1915 the Government Printing Office was an
exhibitor at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San
Francisco, Calif.

Between 1921 and 1934 several innovations were made. A few of the
outstanding are as follows: The eighth floor was remodeled and raised
to provide room for the Cafeteria, Harding Hall, recreation rooms,
rest rooms, and large space for productive work. The Cafeteria serves
around 2,800 meals daily, and Harding Hall, seating 1,200, is devoted
to social activities of employees and may be quickly converted into a
ballroom, a motion-picture theater, or a forum. Recreational activities
include orchestra, baseball clubs, bowling alleys, dances, moving
pictures and lectures, annual excursions, and similar affairs. The
photo-engraving plant was also added as one of the new mechanical
departments and is also located on the eighth floor. A roof garden was
built, covering practically the entire building. The emergency hospital
was enlarged, and wards for men and women were provided, with beds,
toilets, and shower baths.

Two hundred apprentices received training for occupational pursuits in
the various printing and bindery trades represented in the Office.

A testing laboratory was established in the Office for the purpose
of standardizing all materials, supplies, and stock used in the
manufacture of printing.

The boiler and generating rooms were abolished, and the purchase of
electric current and steam from the Capital Power Plant was started.

Since 1934, under the direction of Public Printer A. E. Giegengack,
the Government Printing Office has continued to grow not only in size
but also in public esteem. Under his leadership, appropriations for
a much-needed building program were granted by Congress, and the
erection of a warehouse and an eight-story, red-brick addition to
the main Printing Office building was accomplished. The cost of this
building program, which included buildings, machinery and equipment,
furnishings, the expense of moving, and other incidentals, amounted to

Among the many noteworthy improvements inaugurated for the betterment
of service to the Government, to the public, and to the 5,500 employees
of the Office, are the following:

The establishment of a department of typography, through which there
are incorporated into Government printing the accepted improvements
in the field of typography; the standardization of a type-metal alloy
for all type-casting machines; the installation of a more efficient
cost-finding and pay-roll bookkeeping system; the reestablishment of
the Government Printing Office Apprentice School; and encouragement of
greater employee participation in all social, fraternal, and welfare
activities sponsored by the Office.

Uncle Sam’s Book Shop sold 10 million copies from its list of 65,000
publications in 1937. This department is called the Office of the
Superintendent of Documents, which is located in the Government
Printing Office building, and these Government publications, covering
almost every phase of human endeavor, are for sale to the public at a
reasonable price.


The site of the White House, or the President’s House, was selected
by President Washington. It was part of the David Burnes farm, and at
the time it was chosen a cornfield extended one-half mile south to the

The cornerstone of the President’s House was laid on October 13, 1792,
but not by George Washington, as the records show that he and his
family were in Philadelphia at the time. The design was made by James
Hoban, an architect of Dublin, Ireland, who won a $500 prize and a lot
for the best plan. In its exterior it somewhat resembles the palace of
the Duke of Leinster in Ireland. That, however, has Corinthian columns
over a rusticated base, showing the influence of the Renaissance in
England; and there are other distinctions in their classical motives.

The White House was first occupied by President and Mrs. John Adams,
who moved in the latter part of November, 1800, the year Washington
became the seat of government. At the time it was very incomplete,
and much discomfort was experienced, particularly as to heating and
lighting. The East Room was used to dry the family wash. The White
House was not finished until 1826. Then and for many years following it
secured its water from springs a short distance to the northeast, in
the vicinity of what is now Franklin Square.


The President’s House, as it was then called, was considerably damaged
by fire by the British, who threatened the destruction of the city
in 1814. The building, except for the wings at each side, which were
used for offices and servants’ quarters, was restored by Hoban. Of
white sandstone, the building which became discolored by the fire was
thereupon painted white and has since been known as the White House.
It was first lighted by gas in 1848, and a system of heating and
ventilating was installed in 1853.

The White House was remodeled during the administration of President
Roosevelt in 1902, when the Executive Office was taken out of the
building and placed in a temporary building to the west of the main
building. This was enlarged during the administration of President Taft
in 1909 to twice its former size. It was further remodeled in 1927 by
making the building fireproof and constructing a third story out of the

In 1929 it was found necessary by President Hoover to use also the
basement for an office. In the same year the building was partially
burned, but has since been rebuilt. It is thought by some that in the
years to come the remodeled State Department Building will become the
permanent Executive Office Building, and the State Department will have
a new building on the west side of Lafayette Square.

The White House has a length of 183 feet (east and west) and a width
of 85 feet; it is 58 feet high. The portico of Ionic columns forms a
porte-cochère and measures 40 feet by 59 feet (east and west), and is
50 feet high.

The building contains many beautiful paintings and other works of art,
among them a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, called the
Lansdowne Stuart, which was saved by Dolly Madison by cutting the
picture from its frame when the White House was burned by the British
in 1814. It is now in the East Room, which is the great reception
room, 82 feet long (the width of the mansion), 40 feet wide, and 22
feet high. From the ceiling hang three massive crystal chandeliers. In
addition to numerous paintings, large vases and other articles adorn
the room.

Other interesting rooms are the State Dining Room, the scene of
brilliant State functions; the Blue Room--the President’s reception
room--the walls of which are covered with rich blue corded silk, with
window hangings of blue; the Red Room, the walls and window draperies
of which are of red velvet; and the Green Room, which has on the walls
green velvet. The wainscoting of the Green Room is of white enamel.

Large and beautiful grounds bound the White House on the south. Here
the Marine Band plays every Saturday afternoon during the summer
months. Also it is here where the annual Easter egg rolling takes
place, always a great day for the boys and girls of Washington. The
area is called the White Lot because about 1850 a board fence that
later was painted white surrounded these grounds.


Originally the main entrance to the White House was on the south side,
while the portico on the opposite side was a garden where the family
spent their evenings. This is the arrangement observed to-day at
Arlington House and at Mount Vernon, and is an indication that in the
colonial days the back yards of homes were as nicely kept as were the
front yards.



In 1788 the Department of Foreign Affairs moved from Fraunce’s Tavern
to a house owned by Philip Livingston, on the west side of Broadway,
near the Battery, in New York City. Later it moved to another house on
the same street on the opposite side. The Capital having been again
located at Philadelphia, the department took up its abode first on
Market Street, then on the southeast corner of Arch and Sixth Streets,
then in North Alley, and finally at the northeast corner of Fifth and
Chestnut Streets, where it remained until it was moved to Washington,
except for an interval of three months--from August to November,
1798--when it occupied the statehouse at Trenton, N. J., the office
being moved from Philadelphia on account of an epidemic of yellow

On July 27, 1789, the act establishing an executive department to be
called the Department of Foreign Affairs was approved; but the Sedgwick
Act, approved September 15, 1789, changed this title to the Department
of State and that of the principal officer to the Secretary of State.
A few days later John Jay, who was Secretary of Foreign Affairs under
the Confederation, was nominated to be Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court and Thomas Jefferson to be Secretary of State, and both were
commissioned on September 26. Jay accepted at once, but continued to
discharge the duties of Secretary of State for some months. Under
date of October 13 President Washington informed Jefferson of his
appointment, and added that Mr. Jay had been so obliging as to continue
his good offices. When this letter was written Jefferson had not
returned to America from his mission to France. Upon his arrival Jay
recommended to him favorably “the young gentlemen in the office.”
Jefferson formally entered upon the discharge of his duties on March
22, 1790.

When the seat of government was established in the District of Columbia
in 1800 the archives and the seven employees of the Department of
State were crowded into the Treasury Office, a building of 30 rooms,
to the east of the White House. It was the only Government building
sufficiently completed to receive them. John Marshall was then
Secretary of State. On August 27, 1800, the Department of State was
removed to one of the Seven Buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue and
Nineteenth Street NW.

It has been interesting to determine positively the name of this
historic group of buildings, because some confusion has arisen through
there being in 1800 two groups or rows of houses, near to one another,
one called the Six Buildings and the other the Seven Buildings.
Christian Hines, in his Early Recollections of Washington City (1866),
says, when giving a list of the few houses standing in the year 1800:

  One square between Pennsylvania Avenue and K and Twenty-first and
  Twenty-second Streets, the Six Buildings, three stories high,
  owners and occupants not recollected * * *. One square bounded by
  Pennsylvania Avenue and I and Nineteenth and Twentieth Streets, 10
  houses--one 3-story frame, occupied by a Mr. Middleton; one 2-Story
  frame, owned and occupied by William Waters, Esq., and the Seven
  Buildings, brick, 3 stories high.

Samuel C. Busey, in his Pictures of the City of Washington in the
Past (1898), refers to and confirms Hines’s statements as to these
two sets of buildings, and adds that in the Six Buildings was located
O’Neal’s famous hotel. All writers apparently agree that the first
home of the Department of State in Washington was in the house on the
northwest corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Nineteenth Street. This row
of buildings--Nos. 1901-1913 Pennsylvania Avenue--is still standing,
though it has undergone considerable change.

From the early part of 1820 to November, 1866, the Department of State
was located at the corner of Fifteenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
NW., in what was known as the Executive Building. The picture shown
below was given to William McNeir, chief of the division of accounts
of that department, by Thomas Ridgate, who found it in the attic of
the old building. It will be noted from the picture, which shows the
Treasury Department Building columns at the extreme left, that it
was taken before the building was razed to make room for the north
wing of the present Treasury Department Building; the rest of the new
building had at that time been erected. Of this building Jonathan Eliot
states, in his Historical Sketches of the Ten Mile Square, describing
Washington in 1830:

  At the distance of about 200 yards, on the east of the President’s
  house, are situated two buildings for the Department of State and of
  the Treasury; and at the same distance on the west are two others for
  the War and Navy Departments. These buildings are all of the same
  dimensions and construction; they are 160 feet long and 55 feet wide,
  of brick, two stories in height; they are divided in their length by
  a broad passage, with rooms on each side, and a spacious staircase
  in the center. The two most northerly buildings are ornamented with
  an Ionic portico of six columns and pediment. The grounds about
  these offices have been graduated and planted of late years, and the
  shrubbery begins to present a pleasing appearance.

[Illustration: EXECUTIVE BUILDING, 1820-1866]

W. K. Force, in his Picture of Washington for 1850, said, speaking of
the northeast Executive Building:

  The first floor is occupied by the Fifth Auditor of the Treasury at
  the east end, and the Second Comptroller of the Treasury at the west
  end. On the second floor are the apartments of the Secretary of State
  and his suite; also the library of the department, containing some
  ten or twelve thousand volumes.

John Quincy Adams was Secretary of State when the move to this new
home was made, and thereafter followed a long list of distinguished
Secretaries, the last to occupy this building being William H. Seward,
from 1861 to 1869.

The north wing of the present Treasury Department Building bears on its
exterior wall on Fifteenth Street a tablet, erected April 30, 1929,
by the Kiwanis Club of Washington, in cooperation with the Committee
on Marking Points of Historic Interest, which contains the following


On March 3, 1871, Congress appropriated half a million dollars to start
work on the State, War, and Navy Departments Building. The act provided:

  For the construction under the direction of the Secretary of State,
  on the southern portion of the premises now occupied by the War and
  Navy Departments, of a building which will form the south wing of a
  building that, when completed, will be similar in ground plan and
  dimensions to the Treasury Building and provide accommodations for
  the State, War, and Navy Departments.

The original plans were drawn by Thomas U. Walter, a noted Philadelphia
architect, who designed the Dome of the Capitol and the completed
Treasury Building, but A. B. Mullett, Supervising Architect of the
Treasury, undertook the work, and finally only the interior conformed
to the original plans.

The building was erected in five different sections. The south wing
was commenced in 1871 and completed in time for the Department of
State to move in July 1, 1875. The east wing was commenced in 1872
and completed seven years later, so that on April 16, 1879, the War
and Navy Departments moved into that wing. The old War Department
Building, which had occupied the site of the north wing of the present
building, was demolished in 1879, and the new building or north wing
was completed three years later, the War Department moving into it in
December, 1882. The west and center wings were the last to be erected,
work on them commencing March 31, 1883, and being completed January
31, 1888. For a long time each wing was necessarily separated by a
solid wall--and later by an iron grill, or gates in the corridors--but
finally these disappeared, and the beauty of the long corridors as they
now are appeared. The total cost of the whole building was slightly
more than $10,000,000, and appropriations therefor spread over a period
of 17 years. Separate permanent buildings for the War and the Navy
Departments are now to be erected, these two departments being housed
at present largely in temporary buildings. The Department of State
alone remains in the building.

In 1910 a building for the Department of State was recommended for a
site along Fifteenth Street, south of Pennsylvania Avenue, where now
the Department of Commerce has been built. In 1917 it was recommended
that a Department of State Building be erected on the west side of
Lafayette Square.

In the new Federal building program Congress has provided that the
present State, War, and Navy Building be remodeled to conform in
design to the Treasury Department Building, and to be known as the
Department of State Building. The building will thus properly balance
the White House. Congress made a fund of $3,000,000 available for this
work. The Secretary of the Treasury appointed Waddy Wood, architect
of Washington, to prepare the design, which has been approved by the
Commission of Fine Arts. However, the project has been held in abeyance.

The Department of State was created as the first department of the
Government in 1789, in order to help the President in carrying on our
foreign relations. However, in the early years of our country the
Department of State not only had charge of foreign affairs, but, as
Thomas Jefferson, the first Secretary of State, once wrote, it also had
charge of all important matters of domestic government as well, except
matters of war and finance. In the early days the Secretary of State
even managed the mint. Until 1849 he had charge of the Patent Office,
until 1859 handled all copyright matters, and until 1850 the census
of the United States was taken under his direction. Before the Civil
War, United States judges, marshals, and attorneys all received their
instructions from the Department of State, but in 1870 a new Department
of Justice was established to take care of these matters, and little
by little much of the domestic work was taken from this department and
put under new departments, such as the Department of the Interior, the
Department of Labor, and the Department of Commerce. Therefore, to-day
the Department of State devotes most of its time to handling foreign
affairs, although it is still the custodian, or the keeper, of the
great seal, the official seal of the Government of the United States.
When Congress passes new laws the original copies are kept in this
department, and when there is any correspondence between the various
States of the Union and the Federal Government it is carried on through
the Department of State.

The Secretary of State has a force of some 950 people in the department
in Washington, and about 3,800 people scattered over all the world in
the Foreign Service of the United States. The department in Washington
is divided into 35 divisions and offices, each with its special work
to perform. Six divisions have charge of matters pertaining to foreign
countries--South and Central America; the Far East, as China, Japan,
and Siam; the division of Western European affairs; Eastern European
affairs; a division of the Near East; and the Mexican division.

One of the largest offices in the department is the passport division,
which issues passports to American citizens traveling in foreign
countries. Last year 134,737 Americans obtained passports so that they
might travel abroad, the fees for which amounted to nearly $1,500,000,
almost enough to pay the entire expenses of the Department of State.


When foreigners wish to come to this country they must first go to one
of our American consuls to obtain a visa or a permit. The immigration
of foreigners into this country is now restricted by law. Therefore our
consuls examine the foreigners abroad, so that they may know before
starting on their journey whether they will be allowed to remain in
this country. The visa division of the Department of State has charge
of that work.

Whenever there are expositions or meetings of various kinds abroad,
and it is decided that the United States Government shall take part
in them, such participation has to be arranged through another of the
divisions of the Department of State. As many as 150 cables are sent
every day to all parts of the world, which are taken care of in the
department’s telegraph office. In many foreign countries our Government
is now buying and constructing its own buildings for our ambassadors
and consuls, and one of the offices in the department attends to these

The Secretary of State is assisted in the direction of all these
officers and offices by an Under Secretary of State, four Assistant
Secretaries of State, and a legal adviser. The United States has an
ambassador or minister in 54 different countries of the world. There
are 314 foreign commercial cities where the United States has a consul
general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent, who, among other
duties, help steamship lines and great business establishments to
promote commerce with the United States. Our consuls protect and assist
the hundreds of American missionaries whose stations are in remote
foreign regions of the world. In addition to their many duties they
help thousands of visitors during trips abroad who seek advice. And
when an American is visiting in a foreign land, even though scenery and
ruins that recall civilizations of past ages give him pleasure, there
is nothing that gives him more joy than to see in such places the Stars
and Stripes waving over a United States consulate.


The Department of the Treasury was created by act of Congress September
2, 1789. Robert Morris, of Pennsylvania, financier and statesman,
one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, was the first
financial officer of the Government and was Superintendent of Finance
from 1781 to 1784. Upon the resignation of Morris the powers conferred
upon him by the Continental Congress were transferred to the Board
of the Treasury. This board served until Alexander Hamilton, of New
York, the first Secretary of the Treasury, assumed office. Hamilton
served from September 11, 1789, to January 31, 1795, thus serving under
President Washington. Since the formation of the Government there
have been 50 Secretaries of the Treasury; the present incumbent, Hon.
Henry Morgenthau, jr., of New York, assumed office January 1, 1934. The
Secretary of the Treasury, of course, has supervision over the finances
of the Government. The annual estimates, however, since 1921 have been
transmitted to Congress by the Director of the Budget for the President
of the United States.

The first building of the Treasury Department situated at this location
east of the White House was a small wooden structure, called the
State and Treasury Departments Building. It was built at the time the
seat of government was established in the District of Columbia in
1800 and comprised 30 rooms. This original building was burned by the
British during the invasion of Washington in 1814. A second building
was erected. This was destroyed by fire in 1833. In 1836 Congress
authorized the erection of “a fireproof building of such dimensions
as may be required for the present and future accommodations.” Also
the material for the building was to be similar to that used for the
Capitol and the White House. The architect was Mr. Robert Mills, who
at the same time was designing the Patent Office Building and later
won the competition for the design of the Washington Monument. When it
came to the question of location of the new building, it is said that
President Andrew Jackson, becoming impatient at the delay, said “Here,
right here, is where I want the corner stone laid.” Thus the building
stands where it is to-day. In 1839 the department was installed in the
unfinished building.

The Treasury Building consists of a 4-story rectangle around a large
central court; this court is divided by a corridor of offices. On the
west the building faces the beautiful White House Grounds, its north
side is on Pennsylvania Avenue, its east front runs along Fifteenth
Street, and its south side overlooks a half-mile stretch of park
leading down to the Potomac River.

The building completed in 1842 included only the middle portion of
the present east wing and the central corridor and offices. The south
wing was completed in 1861, the west wing in 1864, and the north wing
in 1869. It is an imposing granite structure. In design it is pure
Grecian, furnishing what is claimed to be one of the finest examples
of this style of architecture in Washington, if not in the entire
country. There are great pediments on the north, south, and west sides.
Monolithic columns of the Ionic order adorning the façades are the
distinguishing feature of the building architecturally. There are 72 of
these columns, each 36 feet in height, 30 being set to form an unbroken
colonnade 341 feet long on the east front. Most of the granite used was
brought to Washington in sailing vessels from Maine. The building has
488 rooms and cost over $6,000,000.

The department long ago outgrew the building. The personnel in
Washington now numbers more than 22,000, with some 26 main bureaus and
divisions. At present Department of the Treasury bureaus occupy, in
addition to the main building, 9 entire buildings and part of 6 other
buildings owned by the Government and 5 rented quarters. The Treasury
Annex is an imposing building, designed by Cass Gilbert, across
Pennsylvania Avenue on the north. Congress has authorized its extension
to H Street.

The Department of the Treasury is the central agency through which the
Federal Government conducts its financial affairs. Generally speaking,
it receives and has custody of all funds paid to the Government and
disburses all moneys of the Government. At the head of the department
are the Secretary of the Treasury, the Under Secretary of the Treasury,
and three Assistant Secretaries of the Treasury, whose offices are all
located in the main building.

The receipts of the Government come chiefly from internal-revenue
collections and customs duties. The Bureau of Internal Revenue
administers and enforces the internal-revenue laws and collects all
internal-revenue taxes. The personnel of this bureau has been brought
together and now occupies a beautiful new building recently completed
as part of the development along the Mall. Import duties or customs are
collected by the Bureau of Customs.

Disbursements of Government funds can be made only on the authorization
of Congress. When any payment is authorized, a warrant signed by the
Secretary of the Treasury and countersigned by the Comptroller General
of the United States is drawn. Upon this authority payment is made. The
division of bookkeeping and warrants, under the general supervision of
the commissioner of accounts and deposits, keeps complete records of
all appropriation accounts as well as of public moneys covered into the
Treasury and of warrants authorizing disbursements.

The Treasurer of the United States is charged with responsibility for
the actual receipt and disbursement of all public moneys that may be
deposited in the United States Treasury and in all other depositaries
authorized to receive deposits of Government funds for credit in the
account of the Treasurer of the United States. He has also many other
fiscal duties.

The public-debt service handles the records and operations pertaining
to the issue and retirement of the public debt and the interest
payments thereon, under the supervision of the commissioner of the
public debt.

The Bureau of the Mint manufactures the coin circulating medium of the
country. It maintains mints at Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver
for the coinage of money, as well as assay offices in New York and
elsewhere. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing at Washington engraves
and prints notes, bonds, securities, stamps, checks, etc.

The Comptroller of the Currency is charged under the law with the
supervision of national banks.



Lack of space in this book makes it necessary merely to mention the
more important of the other monumental buildings in the National
Capital. Detailed information concerning them may be found in the
author’s Washington the National Capital and in other books on
Washington. They should be studied in connection with the buildings
described in this chapter.

Attention is called first to the group of monumental semipublic
buildings, classical in design, on Seventeenth Street north of
Constitution Avenue and along that Avenue from Seventeenth Street west
to the Potomac River. It has been said that nowhere else in the world
is there such a fine group of marble buildings.


This Gallery had its beginning in the year 1869. It ranks as one of
the great art galleries in the United States. The present building (at
New York Avenue and Seventeenth Street) was designed by Ernest Flagg,
architect, and completed in 1897. It is built of Georgia marble. It
houses rare masterpieces of painting and sculpture.


Adjacent to the Corcoran Gallery on the south, the American National
Red Cross occupies three large buildings constructed of Vermont marble.
They were designed by Trowbridge & Livingston, architects, of New York
City. The Red Cross had its beginning during the Civil War. In 1905 the
organization was chartered by Congress along its present lines. There
are 5,500,000 adult members and 8,500,000 Junior members (as of June
30, 1938).


The next building to the south is the headquarters of the National
Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. It faces
Seventeenth Street, was designed by Edward Pearce Casey, architect,
built of Vermont marble, and completed in 1905. The cornerstone was
laid April 19, 1904, the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington. On
that date the organization holds its convention in Washington each
year. It was founded October 11, 1890, and on February 1, 1938,
numbered 142,744 members, with about 2,500 chapters in all parts of the
United States.


Another of the Society’s buildings, facing Eighteenth Street, in this
square, is the leading auditorium of the city. It was designed by John
Russell Pope, architect, built of Alabama limestone, and completed in
October, 1929. The auditorium seats 4,000 persons. On page 278 there is
a picture of the building. The mural decorations of the interior are by
J. Monroe Hewlett, architect.


This building, at the corner of Seventeenth Street and Constitution
Avenue, is considered by some to be the most beautiful in Washington.
It was designed by Albert C. Kelsey and Paul P. Cret, architects, in
the Spanish-classical style of architecture. It was built of Georgia
marble and was dedicated April 26, 1910. It is the headquarters of the
21 Republics of the Pan American Union. In it is the famous Hall of the
Americas. Andrew Carnegie contributed $850,000 toward the building, and
the United States Government contributed the 5-acre tract, on which
stood the Van Ness Mansion (1815) and the David Burnes cottage, which
stood there in the days of George Washington.


Designed by Waddy B. Wood, architect, the new Department of the
Interior building occupies two squares between C and E and Eighteenth
and Nineteenth Streets. It is built of Indiana limestone and is the
largest air-conditioned office building in the world.


This building, designed by J. H. deSibour, architect, is classical in
design and built of white Georgia marble. It was completed in 1933. It
is four stories in height and houses the large and growing office of
the Surgeon General of the United States and his staff of assistants.
In its location on Constitution Avenue it forms a part of the frame for
the Lincoln Memorial.


Completed in 1937, this building forms the center of the group
of monumental marble buildings along Constitution Avenue west of
Seventeenth Street. The design, by Paul P. Cret, architect, is based
on classical motives. It is built of white Georgia marble. It is the
headquarters building for the Federal Reserve Board. In it is a large
mosaic map of the United States by Ezra Winter, mural painter, showing
the location of the 12 Federal Reserve branch banks in the different
sections of the country.


This building, designed by Bertram G. Goodhue, architect, is
immediately east of the Federal Reserve Board building. It is classical
in design and built of white marble from Dover, N. Y. The building
was dedicated by President Coolidge in April, 1924. The interior is
decorated with paintings and decorations by Hildreth Meiere and Albert
Herter; the sculptural decorations are by Lee Lawrie.


Immediately north of the Lincoln Memorial stands the American Institute
of Pharmacy. It was designed by John Russell Pope, architect, and built
of white Vermont marble. It is classical in its style of architecture,
and in its location west of the National Academy of Sciences completes
the group of buildings on Constitution Avenue that form a frame for the
Lincoln Memorial. The building is the headquarters of the druggists
in the United States. More than 14,000 druggists subscribed toward
the building fund. The Pharmacopoeia of the United States, under
which prescriptions and drugs are standardized, is supervised by the


This building, at Sixteenth and P Streets NW., is the headquarters of
the Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree, of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction.
It is modeled after the tomb of Mausolus, at Halicarnassus, in Asia
Minor, which was regarded by the ancients as one of the Seven Wonders
of the World. Its 33 Ionic columns are 33 feet tall, suggesting the 33
degrees of Masonry. On each side of the main entrance is a colossal
sphinx, symbolic of Divine Wisdom and Power, executed by A. A. Weinman,
sculptor. The building was designed by John Russell Pope, architect.


At 16th and P Streets NW. is the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
The building was designed by Carrére and Hastings, and shows an
influence of the French classical style of architecture.


Dedicated in 1925, this building, at Connecticut Avenue and H Streets
NW., is classical in its style of architecture and is adapted to modern
office requirements. It was designed by Cass Gilbert, architect. Fully
13,000 business men representing almost 200 cities of the United States
contributed toward the building.


The National Geographic Society, organized in 1888, “for the increase
and diffusion of geographic knowledge,” is the largest educational and
scientific body in the world.

In its 50 years the society has sponsored a series of notable
explorations, discoveries, and research activities of our times, and
it has developed its unique and beautifully illustrated National
Geographic Magazine as a means of disseminating geographic information
among its world-wide membership.



The society’s administrative and editorial offices, at Sixteenth and M
Streets NW., were enlarged by an addition which extends its handsome
and dignified headquarters along a 214-foot frontage. A commodious and
modern office building at Third Street and Randolph Place NE., is used
for mailing its magazine, maps, and communications to its world-wide

In its editorial, research, technical, photographic, and clerical
departments, and in the publishing of the National Geographic Magazine,
the society now employs more than 800 persons. It is the largest
non-Government user of the National Capital’s post office facilities.

The society’s members, numbering 1,150,000 (December, 1938), represent
every community of 100 or more persons in the United States, while its
foreign membership of 183,709 includes residents in every country,
colony, principality, and mandated area of the world which has any
semblance of a postal system.

To each member goes monthly the National Geographic Magazine, which
has been called the foremost educational periodical in the world; each
member also receives every map and panoramic illustration as issued.
Thus the society has distributed among its more than a million member
homes some 20,000,000 wall maps, in color, in addition to the numerous
sketch maps which accompany articles in the magazine.

The society’s weekly lectures, which are held in Constitution Hall,
have become a part of the intellectual life of the National Capital.
Since their inception more than 1,400 explorers, statesmen, and
world travelers of note have addressed the Washington meetings. Such
explorers as Rear Admiral Peary, Sir Francis Younghusband, Capt. Roald
Amundsen, Colonel Lindbergh, and Rear Admiral Byrd have related their
findings to the society’s members; also such noted travelers as the
late Viscount Bryce, former Ambassador Jusserand, the late William
Howard Taft, and Colonel Roosevelt, after his return from his African
game hunt and his Amazon expedition.

When these lectures are of general interest they are reprinted and
illustrated in the magazine for the society’s entire membership.

At its Sixteenth Street headquarters the society maintains a library of
up-to-date geographic information, comprising some 20,000 volumes, in
addition to maps, periodicals, and reports from foreign governments and
geographic societies.

The leading universities of the city, such as Georgetown University,
founded 1789; George Washington University, founded 1821; Catholic
University, founded 1889; American University, founded 1893; Howard
University, founded 1867; Columbia Institution for the Deaf, founded
1857; and Trinity College, Brookland, founded 1897; also have their
monumental buildings.

In the Triangle group are to be found: Department of Commerce Building,
York & Sawyer, architects; Department of Labor and Interstate Commerce
Commission Building, Arthur Brown, architect; Post Office Department
Building, Delano & Aldrich, architects; Department of Justice Building,
Zantzinger, Borie & Medary, architects; Internal Revenue Building,
Louis Simon, architect; National Archives Building, John Russell Pope,
architect; Federal Trade Commission (Apex) Building, Bennett, Parsons &
Frost, architects.






Other buildings are: The Central Heating Plant (for heating 75
buildings), Paul P. Cret, architect; Bureau of Engraving and Printing,
W. B. Olmstead, architect; Smithsonian Institution (begun in 1846),
James Renwick, architect; National Museum Building, Hornblower
& Marshall, architects; Freer Gallery of Art, Charles A. Platt,
architect; Department of Agriculture Building, Rankin, Kellogg & Crane,
architects; Department of Agriculture South Building, the Supervising
Architect; Naval Observatory; State, War, and Navy Building, A. B.
Mullett, supervising architect; Old Pension Office Building (General
Accounting Office); Army War College, McKim, Mead & White, architects;
Walter Reed Hospital; Naval Hospital; Public Library, Ackerman & Ross,
architects; United States Bureau of Standards; National Zoological Park
(large new buildings completed in 1937); National Gallery of Art (now
under construction), John Russell Pope, architect.


Arlington Memorial Bridge, McKim, Mead & White, architects; Calvert
Street Bridge, Paul P. Cret, architect; Francis Scott Key Bridge,
Nathan Wyeth, architect; Connecticut Avenue (Taft) Bridge, Edward P.
Casey, architect, lions by R. Hinton Perry; Q Street Bridge, Glenn
Brown and Bedford Brown, architects, A. Phimister Proctor, sculptor;
Klingle Ford Bridge, Connecticut Avenue, Paul P. Cret, architect; New
Chain Bridge, designed under supervision of Brig. Gen. Dan I. Sultan,
former Engineer Commissioner of the District of Columbia; John Philip
Sousa Bridge, Southeast, McKim, Mead & White, architects.



The cathedral is situated on Mount St. Alban, in the northwestern part
of the city, on a hill 400 feet in height, said to be the highest point
in the District of Columbia, giving a superb view over the National

The cathedral, also known as the National Cathedral, was designed by
George F. Bodley, of London, and Henry Vaughn, of Boston. It is a
typical fourteenth century Gothic edifice. The cornerstone was laid in
1907, and since then a large part of the cathedral has been completed.
Its ultimate cost, it is estimated, will be $20,000,000. The central
nave is about complete, the apse and north transept are finished as are
also several of the chapels, such as the Bethlehem Chapel, the Norman
Chapel, the Chapel of St. John, and the Chapel of St. Mary. There are
costly stones in the building from many parts of the world, including a
stone from Bethlehem, which formed the cornerstone.




The building is constructed of limestone. The sculpture and beautifully
stained glass windows form the principal decorations.

The total length of the building from the exterior of the apse at
the eastern end to the main entrance at the western end will be 534
feet. The total spread of the transepts will be 215 feet, and each
of these arms of the cross will be 105 feet wide. The ground area of
the cathedral will be 71,000 square feet, and this will be ample to
provide standing room for 27,000 persons or seating space for 7,500.
The central tower will rise to a height of 262 feet and each of the two
western towers will be 195 feet high. The nave will have a span of 40
feet and its height will be 95 feet.

Within the cathedral are buried Woodrow Wilson, our World War
President; also Admiral George Dewey, General Nelson A. Miles, and
several bishops of the Episcopal Church.

The grounds comprise 67 acres, and the carefully designed Bishop’s
Garden forms an interesting feature. The National Cathedral School for
Girls and for Boys and the College of Preachers are within the grounds.


This cathedral has been designed in the Roman-Byzantine style of
architecture. It is located on Michigan Avenue, Brookland, in the
Catholic University grounds. The cornerstone for the church was laid
in 1920. It is estimated that the total cost will be $50,000,000. The
architects are Maginnis & Walsh, of Boston, and Professor Frederick V.
Murphy, architect, of Washington.

The building as designed is cruciform in plan, with a triple apse,
at the focus of which is placed the central altar within a great
baldachin. The apse is of vast scale and, with the presbytery that
separates it from the transepts, will admit of important ceremonies.
The dome will be 250 feet high; the tall campanile, or bell tower,
330 feet high. The building is to take its place with such notable
memorials as Santa Maria Maggiore, of Rome, and Santa Maria del Fiore,
of Florence. It is to stand as a symbol of American Catholic devotion
to the Virgin Mary. The availability of the Byzantine tradition for the
rendering of this idea was readily perceived. The crypt, capable of
seating approximately 1,500 persons, has been completed. Here a most
interesting decorative scheme in terms of faïence has been introduced
to enrich the effect of the vaults. The central altar is of Algerian
onyx. The pavement is of Italian marble. The crypt is richly treated
with still other marbles and with mosaics.


There is no city in the country that has so many representative
churches as the city of Washington, which is undoubtedly due to the
fact that this is the National Capital. The leading denominations of
the country, recognizing the importance of religion in the life of the
Nation, have erected or are raising funds for the erection of great
edifices, including memorial churches, fittingly to represent them at
the seat of government.

In chapter XX attention has already been directed to the earliest
churches in Washington.


Among the notable buildings in the National Capital that have had
a distinguished place since the early days of the Republic are the
residences, embassies, and legations of the representatives from
foreign countries. At the present time there are 53, representing the
leading countries of the world.

The legation and embassy buildings are held territory of the respective
countries to which they belong, and fly the flag of their respective
nations, excepting on state occasions, when they fly both their own
flag and that of the United States.

L’Enfant, in his plan of the city, contemplated diplomatic buildings to
line the Mall. But as the Mall was delayed in its development for over
a century, the museum type of building has been erected on the Mall
and the diplomatic establishments located elsewhere. In later years
the suggestion was offered to locate them in the vicinity of the State

At the present time the embassies and legations are located, for the
most part, in the residential section of northwest Washington. Quite
a number are on Sixteenth Street in the vicinity of Meridian Hill
Park. In more recent years several of the leading countries have built
new embassies on spacious grounds. In this Great Britain has taken
the lead, having built a large embassy on 4 acres of ground at 3100
Massachusetts Avenue, near the Naval Observatory. Three blocks beyond,
the Norwegian Legation building has recently been completed. In recent
years the Imperial Japanese Government built a new embassy at 2514
Massachusetts Avenue. The French Government recently purchased the home
of John Hays Hammond for its new embassy.

A list of the countries having embassies and legations in Washington
(with the exception of Estonia, whose representative is located in New
York City) is as follows:

[Illustration: BRITISH EMBASSY]

[Illustration: ITALIAN EMBASSY]

  Albania: The Mayflower Hotel.

  Argentina: 1806 Corcoran Street.

  Belgium: 1777 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Bolivia: Fifteenth and K Streets.

  Brazil: 3007 Whitehaven Street.

  Bulgaria: 2881 Woodland Drive.

  Canada: 1746 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Chile: 2154 Florida Avenue.

  China: 2001 Nineteenth Street.

  Colombia: 1520 Twentieth Street.

  Costa Rica: 2128 Bancroft Place.

  Cuba: 2630 Sixteenth Street.

  Czechoslovakia: 2349 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Denmark: 1868 Columbia Road.

  Dominican Republic: 2633 Sixteenth Street.

  Ecuador: Barr Building.

  Egypt: 2301 Massachusetts Avenue.

  El Salvador: 2400 Sixteenth Street.

  Estonia: Rockefeller Plaza, New York City.

  Finland: 2416 Tracy Place.

  France, Chancery: 1601 V Street.

  Germany: 1439 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Great Britain: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Greece: 2221 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Guatemala: 1614 Eighteenth Street.

  Haiti: 5017 Sixteenth Street.

  Honduras: 2611 Woodley Place.

  Hungary: 1424 Sixteenth Street.

  Ireland: 2310 Tracy Place.

  Italy: 2700 Sixteenth Street.

  Japan: 2514 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Latvia: 1715 Twenty-second Street.

  Lithuania: 2622 Sixteenth Street.

  Mexico: 2829 Sixteenth Street.

  Netherlands: 1470 Euclid Street.

  Nicaragua: 1521 New Hampshire Avenue.

  Norway: 3401 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Panama: 1536 Eighteenth Street.

  Paraguay: Wardman Park Hotel.

  Peru: 1300 Sixteenth Street.

  Poland: 2640 Sixteenth Street.

  Portugal: Wardman Park Hotel.

  Rumania: 1601 Twenty-third Street.

  Siam: 2300 Kalorama Road.

  Spain: 2801 Sixteenth Street.

  Sweden: 2247 R Street.

  Switzerland: 2419 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Turkey: 1606 Twenty-third Street.

  Union of South Africa: 3101 Massachusetts Avenue.

  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: 1125 Sixteenth Street.

  Uruguay: 1010 Vermont Avenue.

  Venezuela: 2400 Sixteenth Street.

  Yugoslavia: 1520 Sixteenth Street.




As a result of the World War, Government departments in Washington
became overcrowded, and from 30,000 to 40,000 employees were housed in
temporary buildings. This congested situation made a public-building
program one of urgent need. For 40 years no real department building
had been erected in Washington. The Department of Agriculture was in 47
rented buildings. The Department of War and the Department of the Navy
were housed in many temporary war buildings.



In 1910 plans were authorized for three department buildings--Justice,
Commerce and Labor, and State--to be built along Fifteenth Street,
between Pennsylvania Avenue and B Street NW., now Constitution Avenue,
and the land in this locality was bought by the Government, but the
building project was deferred. Again, in 1913, Congress took up the
question of a public-building program, and in 1917 a comprehensive
survey was made by the Public Buildings Commission of the needs of
the Government for additional buildings. At that time the area south
of Pennsylvania Avenue along Fifteenth Street to Constitution Avenue,
which in 1910 was proposed for three buildings, was designated for two
buildings. Then came the World War, during which the many temporary war
buildings were erected. President Coolidge in his message to Congress
on December 9, 1925, called attention to the great need for public
buildings and asked for an annual appropriation of $10,000,000. He



  No public buildings bill has been enacted since before the war. I
  am not in favor of an act which would be characterized as a general
  parceling out of favors and that usually bears a name lacking in good
  repute. I am ready to approve an act similar in character to that
  already passed by the House, providing a lump-sum appropriation to
  be expended under the direction of the Treasury or any other proper
  authority, over a term of years, with such annual appropriation as
  the national finances could provide.

The public buildings act was approved May 25, 1926.

This marked the beginning of a public-buildings program in the National
Capital greater than any which had been undertaken by the United States
since the establishment of the seat of government along the banks of
the Potomac in 1790.

Congress placed the public-buildings program in the hands of the
Secretary of the Treasury, both for Federal buildings in the States and
for the District of Columbia. To assist him in the plans for new public
buildings here in the National Capital the Secretary of the Treasury
appointed a board of architectural consultants. The Commission of Fine
Arts has been called upon regularly to advise in the development of the
plans for the new public buildings.

Five years had not yet elapsed when the long pent-up needs for
buildings to accommodate public business finally burst their bonds in
the act of 1926. The preparations for the flood had been long in the
making--so long and so carefully considered, indeed, that the flood has
always been under control. There has been no haphazard planning. No
hasty or ill-considered work has been done. The harmonious development
of the National Capital has progressed in form that would have pleased
George Washington, and latterly with a speed and vigor that would have
gladdened his heart.

In addition to the great public-buildings program and the Arlington
Memorial Bridge, Congress authorized during the past ten years many
other great projects for the development of the National Capital
which contribute to making Washington the greatest and most beautiful
national capital in the world. Among these are: The completion of the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington, the restoration of Arlington
Mansion, the Mount Vernon Highway, the George Washington Memorial
Parkway, the enlargement of the Capitol Grounds and development of
Union Station Plaza, development of the Mall, addition to the House
Office Building, addition to the Library of Congress, United States
Supreme Court Building, Government Printing Office extension, Social
Security Building, War Department Building, Navy Department Building,
new Naval Hospital, Municipal Center development, Walter Reed General
Hospital buildings, Botanic Garden and new conservatory near the
Capitol, and a National Arboretum.




Pennsylvania Avenue is the great historic avenue of the Nation,
particularly that portion between the legislative and executive
branches of the Government--the Capitol and the White House--extending
a distance of 1 mile. It was named by Congress at the time the plan
of Washington was under consideration, in compliment to the State of
Pennsylvania. In the time of Thomas Jefferson it was a dusty highway,
and to add beauty to it he planted quick-growing poplar trees. Being
about at sea level in elevation, it was the scene of rowboats in times
of flood as late as the year 1880. Several large department stores of
the city to-day had their beginning on the Avenue. The Evening Star has
been published there for about 89 years; its home, remodeled from time
to time, to-day is a large and beautiful building.

Since the L’Enfant plan provided for giving Pennsylvania Avenue
a conspicuous place in the development of the National Capital,
Congress decided, by the public buildings act of May 25, 1926, that
the necessary land on the south side of the Avenue from the Capitol
to the Treasury should be purchased by the Government and monumental
buildings erected thereon. In the House of Representatives the bill
was sponsored by Congressman Richard N. Elliott. As Chairman of the
Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, he had a very prominent
part in furthering the legislation for the public buildings program of
the National Capital and also for the country at large. More public
buildings were authorized during the Sixty-ninth and Seventieth
Congresses (1925-1929) than in all the preceding Congresses. In the
United States Senate the public buildings program was sponsored by
Senator Bert N. Fernald and after his death in 1926 by Senator Henry W.
Keyes, Chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds of the
Senate. This is the Triangle Plan, which is now being carried out. In
due time it is expected also that the north side will be developed to
correspond to the south side. However, several buildings now there may
be considered as established for decades to come.

Here at Pennsylvania Avenue, connecting the Capitol and the White
House, we are at the heart of the Nation. It is the Via Sacra of the
great Republic of the New World.

On September 5, 1931, at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Archives
Building, at Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh Street, Hon. Ferry K.
Heath, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who was in immediate charge
of the public-buildings program, said: “The story of the traffic and
parades of this great Avenue would be an outline of the history of the
United States.”

The act for enlarging the Capitol Grounds, and the municipal center
development on the north side of the Avenue, gives the Government
control from the Capitol to Sixth Street.



Upon the adoption of the public buildings act of May 25, 1926, Hon.
Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, took up with the Public
Buildings Commission, and the executive departments that were in
immediate need of new buildings, the project to place the building
program under way. Secretary Mellon authorized the preparation of a
tentative study for new public buildings, and after an interval of a
few months sketches were submitted to him for a series of buildings
monumental in character and intended for the most part for locations
south of Pennsylvania Avenue. The greater part of the Triangle
development has been completed.


An important feature of the McMillan Park Commission plan of 1901 was
the creation of a series of “Congress Gardens” on the north side of the
Capitol. For many years this project was held in abeyance pending the
completion of the purchase of lands. The development necessitated the
purchase of 12 squares and laying out a plan for this long-neglected
area at the entrance to the city. The plan also provided for a new
avenue to extend from Union Station to Pennsylvania Avenue, and street
cars are routed accordingly.

In addition to the landscape features, the plan, which was designed by
Bennett, Parsons & Frost, architects of Chicago, provided for a terrace
upon which is located a fountain and also a large basin, which reflects
the Dome of the Capitol. To harmonize with this plan, a new approach to
the northwest corner of the Senate Office Building has been built.

The temporary war buildings and Government hotels, which stood on the
grounds a whole decade after the World War, have been removed, and the
work of developing the plan was carried forward as rapidly as possible
under the direction of David Lynn, Architect of the Capitol.

Through this plan the United States Capitol is given the appropriate
landscape setting which, as the most important building in this
country, it should have. The plan joins the plan for the Mall, giving
the Capitol the open approach from the west and embellishing Union
Square at the head of the Mall.


The United States Supreme Court Building is in classic style, in
harmony with the architecture of the Capitol and adjacent buildings,
and is located in the square east of the Capitol, north of the Library
of Congress, and facing the United States Senate Chamber.

The building, 385 feet from east to west and 305 feet from north to
south, has four open courtyards 64 feet square. The portico is of the
Corinthian order, and there is a low pilaster treatment around the

[Illustration: _Photograph by Commercial Photo Co._




General designs were prepared, and then, to unify every part of the
design, a model was made which was publicly exhibited in the Rotunda of
the Capitol for a number of months.

The Supreme Court Chamber is placed on the main axis of the plan.
It is characterized by appropriate simplicity and quiet dignity.
It is classical in style, 82 feet by 91 feet square in its extreme
dimensions, about 64 feet square inside the columns, and 45 feet high
from floor to ceiling.

The second floor contains a law library and rooms for members of the
bar and conference rooms.

The third floor contains a law library and reading room. The justices’
rooms are on the first floor, convenient to the court room.

A number of rooms for the use of lawyers are provided in the second
story. Two large conference rooms are provided on the main floor, and
on this floor also rooms are provided for the Attorney General, the
Solicitor General, the clerk of the Supreme Court, and the marshal.
Convenient rooms and special telephone booths have been provided for
the press.

The appropriation for the building authorized by Congress was

The building was designed by Cass Gilbert, architect, and the erection
was under the charge of the Supreme Court Building Commission, Chief
Justice Charles Evans Hughes, chairman. David Lynn, Architect of the
Capitol, a member of the commission, was the contracting officer.


The Supreme Court of the United States is the major tribunal of one
of three coordinate branches of the Government--the judicial. During
the 148 years of its existence the Supreme Court has sat in eight
different places, always in or near the Capitol or place of meeting
of the legislative body. Thus it met, first, in New York; second, in
Independence Hall, Philadelphia; third, in the basement of the Capitol,
where it was when the British burned the Capitol in 1814; fourth, while
the Capitol was being rebuilt the Supreme Court occupied the residence
of the clerk of the court; fifth, when the Capitol wings were built it
moved into its former chamber; sixth, when driven out by an explosion
and fire in 1898 it occupied the committee room of the Senate Committee
on the District of Columbia, of which Senator McMillan was chairman,
and also sat for a brief period in the Judiciary Committee Room.

It then moved back into what was the old Senate Chamber until 1859
which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, after the model of a Greek
theater, a semicircular hall with a low-domed ceiling. It is historic.
Here Webster replied to Hayne; here Calhoun debated with Clay and
Webster; and in it the Electoral Commission sat which decided the
presidential contest between Hayes and Tilden in 1877.



The first Government of the District of Columbia consisted of three
Commissioners appointed by the President of the United States. Then 21
mayors served from 1802 to 1871.

A Territorial form of government, consisting of a governor, a board of
public works, and a legislative assembly, was provided for by an act
of Congress of February 21, 1871. The legislative assembly consisted
of 11 members, called a council, and 22 other members, called a
house of delegates. The District also had a Delegate in the House of
Representatives of the United States. The governor and the board of
public works were appointed by the President of the United States,
and the legislative assembly was elected by the people. This form of
government lasted three years, until June 20, 1874, when Congress
provided that the District should be governed by three commissioners,
appointed by the President. This was known as the temporary form of
government and lasted until June 30, 1878.

Thereupon the Congress, by an act approved June 11, 1878, created the
present form of government of the District of Columbia, to become
effective July 1, 1878. By this act the District was created a
municipal corporation with right to sue and be sued.

The act provided for the appointment of three commissioners, two of
them to be selected by the President from persons residing in the
District of Columbia for a period of three years preceding their
appointment. The third member was to be an officer of the Engineer
Corps, United States Army, detailed by the President, and to be
known as the engineer commissioner. The appointments of the civilian
commissioners are for a period of three years, or until their
successors are appointed. The detail of the engineer commissioner is at
the pleasure of the President. This detail is usually about four years.

While the District has a municipal form of government, Congress, by
various statutory enactments, has treated it as a branch of the United
States Government by including it in legislation applying to the
executive departments, such as the budget and accounting act, the act
classifying the salaries of Federal employees, and the act providing
for retirement of Federal employees.

In the act of June 11, 1878, it was provided that the expenses of the
government of the District should be borne 50 per cent by the United
States Government and 50 per cent from the revenues of the District of
Columbia, raised by taxation. This method of financing remained in
force from 1878 until 1920. In that year the proportionate expense was
changed by Congress so that 60 per cent of the expenditures was raised
by taxation and 40 per cent was contributed by the Federal Government.
This provision continued in force until the year 1925, when Congress
determined on a lump-sum contribution of $9,000,000 annually, the
balance of the expenses to be raised by taxation; the amounts of money
appropriated have varied since then.

The heads of the various departments make recommendations to the
commissioner in charge of their respective departments, and each
commissioner brings these recommendations to meetings of the board of
commissioners, which are held on Tuesday and Friday of each week. The
secretary to the board of commissioners records the action on these
recommendations and acts as executive officer of the board by issuing
orders and carrying on correspondence.

Not all of the municipal duties are, however, vested in the board of
commissioners. The management of the public schools is vested in a
school board of nine members appointed by the justices of the Supreme
Court of the District of Columbia. The Public Library, with its
branches, is managed by a board of trustees appointed by the board of
commissioners. The penal, charitable, and correctional institutions are
managed by a board of public welfare appointed by the commissioners.
The public utilities are under a public-utilities commission,
consisting of two civilians, appointed by the President, and the
engineer commissioner, who is a member ex officio. The public parks
are under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, which
is also in charge of public buildings and grounds. The water supply
is under an Army engineer officer, designated the district engineer,
but the distribution of the water is under the jurisdiction of the
commissioners. The zoning of private property as to height of building,
use of building, area of ground to be built upon, is handled by a
zoning commission, of which the three commissioners are members and, in
addition thereto, the Architect of the Capitol and the Director of the
National Park Service.

The justices of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia and the
judges of the police, municipal, and juvenile courts are appointed by
the President, as is also the recorder of deeds.

The National Capital Park and Planning Commission has been created by
Congress to advise the commissioners as to the planning of the city in
laying out new and changing old highways. This commission purchases
all land for parks and playgrounds. The land so purchased for parks
is placed under the Department of the Interior and the land for
playgrounds under the commissioners.

All expenditures for municipal purposes, including the schools, parks,
water supply, land purchases, etc., are appropriated by Congress
annually, and are based upon estimates submitted by the heads of the
District government and the other officials hereinbefore named.

These estimates are submitted by the Commissioners to the Director of
the Budget, a Federal official, and when approved are submitted by
the President to Congress, together with the estimates of the Federal
Government. Before submitting such estimates the Commissioners fix upon
a tax rate which they believe should not be exceeded. This tax rate is
such that, when applied to the taxable value of real, personal, and
intangible property in the District of Columbia, it will raise the
funds necessary to meet the estimates of the appropriations submitted
to the Director of the Budget. The present rate of taxation for real
and personal property is $1.75 per $100, based on full value. For
intangible personal property, such as money in bank, stocks and bonds,
etc., the rate is $5 per thousand.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 1938, the assessed value of land
in the District of Columbia was $480,473,718, and of improvements
$713,025,368, a total of $1,193,499,086.

The assessed value of tangible personal property for the same year was
$81,566,107. The value of intangible personal property was $575,472,070.

The budget estimate as submitted by the President to Congress each year
is reviewed by subcommittees of the Appropriations Committees of the
House and Senate, and the total amount of the Appropriation is fixed by
Congress and approved by the President.

Under the provisions of the Constitution, all legislation affecting
the District of Columbia must be passed by Congress. The advice of the
Commissioners is usually sought before such legislation is enacted.

What has been stated is but a brief outline of the government of the
District of Columbia. It can readily be seen that the District has a
dual status as a municipal corporation and as a branch of the Federal
Government. This situation has no parallel in any other city of the
United States. The District is also unique in having no bonded debt.
All of its expenses are borne from current revenues.

The residents of the District of Columbia do not enjoy the privilege
and obligation of suffrage. On the question of whether the people
should be allowed to vote in national elections and in local elections
there is a division of opinion.





The land comprising the Arlington estate, 1,100 acres, was sold
by Gerard Alexander to John Parke Custis in December, 1778, for a
consideration of £11,000 Virginia currency. John Parke Custis never
lived at Arlington, and on his death in 1781 his son, George Washington
Parke Custis, inherited the Arlington estate. Mr. Custis lived at Mount
Vernon, however, until after the death of Martha Washington, which
occurred on May 22, 1802. He then took possession of the tract, changed
the name to Arlington, after an old family seat on the eastern shore of
Virginia. While he was building the mansion he lived in a small cottage
on the Potomac. The two wings were built first. The central portion
of the house, with its massive columns, is said to have been built
from plans drawn by George Hadfield, an English architect, who came to
this country with the intention of designing the new Capitol. The date
when the mansion was completed is uncertain, but Mrs. Robert E. Lee is
authority for the statement that it was completed just before the Civil
War. The family lived in the wings for many years.

In 1804 Mr. Custis married Mary Lee Fitzhugh, daughter of William
Fitzhugh, of Chatham, at Alexandria, Va. To this union four children
were born, but only one, Mary Ann Randolph Custis (born October 1,
1808), lived. On June 30, 1831, she became the wife of Lieut. Robert E.
Lee. Upon the death of her father, in 1857, title to the estate passed
to Mrs. Lee.

On May 24, 1861, Union troops occupied Arlington, and it soon became
an armed camp. Under an act of Congress passed June 17, 1862, certain
commissioners of the Government were appointed to levy and collect
taxes in Virginia and elsewhere; and if default in payment was made,
to sell the real estate upon which the taxes were levied. Prior to
January, 1864, the commissioners had adopted a rule by which payment of
taxes in the district where the Arlington property was located would
not be accepted unless tendered by the owner in person. Mrs. Lee could
not comply with this rule, so she sent a cousin, Mr. Fendall, to pay
the taxes. The money was refused, and he was informed that Mrs. Lee
must be present in person.

On January 11, 1864, there was due only the sum of $92.07 on the 1,100
acres of the Arlington estate, together with a 50 per cent penalty,
when the property was sold “according to law,” as stated in the tax
certificate. The United States acquired title to the property at public
auction by the payment of $26,000.


Upon the death of Mrs. Lee, in 1873, her eldest son, George Washington
Custis Lee, according to the will of his grandfather, George Washington
Parke Custis, became entitled to the Arlington estate. He at once
took steps looking to the recovery of the property. After petitioning
Congress in vain, he began suit in ejectment in 1877 at Alexandria,
Va. In 1879 the United States Circuit Court for the Eastern District
of Virginia decided he was entitled to the estate and that the United
States did not have lawful title. The Department of Justice carried
the case to the United States Supreme Court, which decided that the
property belonged to Mr. Lee. The United States was thus faced with
the question of whether to disinter the remains of thousands of
soldiers and sailors and vacate the property, part of which had become
a military post, or purchase the same. However, Mr. Lee was willing
to sell Arlington for $150,000. On March 3, 1883, the Forty-seventh
Congress appropriated the necessary money, and on March 31 Mr. Lee
executed a deed which conveyed the title to the United States. The
deed was recorded at the Alexandria County Courthouse on the 14th
day of May, 1883, just 22 years, less 10 days, from the day, May 24,
1861, when General Scott’s soldiers crossed the Potomac River and took

Mary Randolph, wife of David Meade Randolph, and a relative of the
Custis family, is the first person known to have been buried at
Arlington. In April, 1853, Mrs. Custis, wife of the owner of the
estate, George Washington Parke Custis, died and was laid to rest in a
little plot of ground beneath huge oaks not far from the mansion house.
The master of Arlington died on October 10, 1857, and was laid beside
his wife. To-day their graves may be seen, surmounted by simple marble
shafts, within an iron-fenced inclosure, where lilies-of-the-valley
cover the ground in profusion. The Quartermaster General’s Department
has recently erected a marker beside the grave of Mrs. Randolph, giving
a short history of her life.


Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, Quartermaster Corps, United States Army, was
the first to suggest to President Lincoln that the estate be converted
into a military cemetery, and in 1864, by order of Secretary of War
Stanton, 200 acres were set apart and dedicated as a national cemetery
for the burial of Union soldiers and sailors. However, the first man to
be buried there was a Confederate soldier who died in the hospital May
13, 1864.

There are buried in Arlington a small number of those who fought in the
Revolutionary War and some who were in the War of 1812. Their remains
were removed to Arlington from an abandoned cemetery in 1892. Thousands
of men who died in the Civil War are buried there, with veterans of the
Spanish-American War and the Philippine campaign, and now the veterans
of the World War are steadily being added to the number.


In front of Arlington House is the tomb of Maj. Pierre Charles
L’Enfant, engineer, artist, and soldier, who, under the direction of
President Washington and Thomas Jefferson, designed the plans for the
city of Washington.


On May 5, 1868, Gen. John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand
Army of the Republic, issued the following general order (No. 11):

  The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with
  flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in
  defense of their country, * * * posts and comrades will, in their own
  way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as
  circumstances may permit.

There has been an annual observance of this ceremony in all the
national cemeteries of the country since this order was promulgated.

For years a vine-covered pergola, erected by the Quartermaster’s
Department of the Army, was used for the Memorial Day exercises. When
it was found to be entirely inadequate to accommodate the increasing
number of people who attended the exercises, it was decided to erect
a suitable building which would serve not only as a memorial to our
soldiers and sailors but which would also provide an assembly place for
those attending such exercises as might be held in the cemetery grounds.

Accordingly, the first steps toward this end were taken in 1903, when
the necessity for such a building and the appropriateness of its
erection were first suggested by the commander of the Department of the
Potomac, Grand Army of the Republic. Preliminary sketches and plans
were prepared in 1905 and presented to Congress by the Secretary of
the Treasury, but no action was taken until 1908, when the Arlington
Memorial Amphitheater Commission was created, and an appropriation
of $5,000 to secure and present more detailed plans for the proposed
memorial was made. No further action was taken by Congress for five
years, when, by the act of March 3, 1913, the construction of a
memorial amphitheater and chapel, in accordance with plans prepared
by Carrere & Hastings, architects, of New York City, was authorized.
Ground was broken March 1, 1915, the corner stone was laid October 13,
1915, and the memorial was dedicated May 15, 1920.


The main feature of the structure consists of an open-air amphitheater,
elliptical in plan, with a seating capacity of about 4,000 persons.
Its diameter, north and south axis, is 200 feet, and 152 feet on its
east and west axis. It has a height of approximately 30 feet. The
amphitheater is inclosed by a marble colonnade with entrances at the
ends of the principal axis. The main entrance is from the east, and
this section contains a reception hall and stage on the main floor,
a museum room or “Valhalla” on the second floor, and a chapel in
the basement. Under the floor of the colonnade, crypts are provided
for the burial of distinguished soldiers, sailors, and marines. The
amphitheater, erected at a cost of $825,000 is built of white marble
from Vermont. Inscriptions commemorate the great wars of the United

Immediately to the east of the main entrance is the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier, which was completed by the War Department in accordance with
plans that provide also for a great approach to the tomb and the


At the time when the rites for the Unknown Soldier were solemnized,
on November 11, 1921, the time for preparation was so short that the
location of the tomb on the terrace in front of the amphitheater was
quickly decided upon. The casket was inclosed in what was designed
to be the base of a monument which was to be erected later. The
preliminary work was designed by Thomas Hastings, of the firm of
Carrere & Hastings, architects of the amphitheater.

Five years later, on July 3, 1926, Congress authorized the Secretary of
War to secure by competition designs for a monument to cost $50,000,
and provided that the accepted design should be subject to the approval
of the Arlington Amphitheater Commission (the Secretaries of War
and of the Navy), the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the
Commission of Fine Arts. A competition was held, in which there were
39 competitors, 5 of whom were selected to enter the final stage. The
final award was made to Thomas Hudson Jones, sculptor, and Lorimer
Rich, architect, of New York City.

The competitors generally based their designs on such a modification
of the terrace as would place the monument at the head of a flight
of steps, the approaches to which called for rearrangement of the
immediate foreground of the terrace. Congress accepted the winning
design, and a supplemental appropriation was made for carrying out the
design. The work of completing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was
in charge of the Quartermaster General of the Army. The cost of the
memorial, constructed of Colorado Yule marble, was $400,000.

Within this marble sarcophagus rests the remains of the Unknown
Soldier, a hero of the World War. The Republic has bestowed upon him
its most cherished decoration for valor, the Congressional Medal of
Honor, and all the major nations associated with America in the Great
War have similarly honored his memory and the memory of the thousands
of his comrades who laid down their lives in that titanic struggle.


[Illustration: TOMB OF L’ENFANT]




  [1] A complete list of the statues and monuments will be found in the
  Appendix, p. 347.


The most precious work of art in the United States is the life mask of
George Washington by the noted French sculptor, Jean Antoine Houdon,
who in 1785 was commissioned by the State of Virginia to execute a
marble statue of George Washington. Houdon crossed the ocean, setting
sail from Paris, France, on July 22 of that year for this purpose, in
company with Benjamin Franklin. For 10 days he was a guest of General
Washington at Mount Vernon, making studies and a cast. Having made his
models, Houdon returned to France, reaching home on January 4, 1786.
It took him two years to model and carve the statue, and the completed
work arrived at Richmond in 1788. Eight years later the statue was
installed in the rotunda of the State capitol, where it stands to-day.
The statue represents Washington in the uniform of a Revolutionary
officer; and, according to John Marshall, his intimate friend, this
three-quarter view corresponds more to the exact likeness of Washington
than any other portrait. A copy of this statue is in the Rotunda of the
Capitol, the gift of the State of Virginia to the Nation. The life mask
is at Mount Vernon.


This was the first and only monument that stood in Washington for a
period of 26 years. It was erected in memory of the heroes that fell
before Tripoli in 1804. It had been made at the expense of officers
of the Navy and was brought from Italy in the U. S. S. _Constitution_
to the navy yard, where it was erected in 1808 under the direction of
Benjamin H. Latrobe, Architect of the Capitol. Afterwards, when in 1814
the navy yard was burned by the British, it was placed at the west
side of the Capitol. During the reconstruction and enlargement of the
Capitol to its present size it was removed.

In November, 1860, it was taken to the United States Naval Academy at
Annapolis, where it stands to-day.

The chief motif of the monument is an artistically designed, simple
Doric column, surmounted by an eagle. It was procured through the
efforts of Admiral Porter, who commissioned a noted Italian sculptor of
the time, Micali, of Leghorn, to execute the monument.



This statue is by Horatio Greenough, who, born in Boston in 1805, was
a noted American sculptor of the early days of the Republic. He was
the first American deliberately to choose sculpture as a profession
and to go abroad for serious study. He became absorbed with art as he
saw it in Italy, and those who have seen the massive Roman statuary
of the Farnese collection at Naples, in addition to the priceless
collections of statuary of classical times at Rome and Florence, can
make due allowance for the conception of the ponderous figure of George
Washington by Greenough when he was commissioned by Congress in 1832
to execute the statue. He was at work on the statue for eight years,
during the period of the classical revival in this country, marked by
the construction of the Patent Office, the old Post Office, and the
Treasury Department Buildings.

The statue is 12 feet high, and of Carrara marble. It cost $44,000.
After many perils by sea and land, it reached this city in 1843. At the
Capitol it was found that the doors were not large enough to permit its
passage, and they were temporarily widened to admit the statue, where
it was given a place in the Rotunda, but its immense weight was too
heavy for the floor, and it was transferred to the plaza in front of
and facing the Capitol. It remained there for over half a century, and
in 1908 was removed to the National Museum.

This statue of Washington in Roman toga, seated in a curule chair,
was often ridiculed. One wrote that Washington was supposed to be
saying, as he pointed in two directions, “My body is at Mount Vernon,
my clothes are in the Patent Office.” Nevertheless, the statue had its
friends. In 1841 Edward Everett wrote of it, “I regard Greenough’s
Washington as one of the greatest works of sculpture of modern times.”
It is an art treasure of the past, and as such is rightly cherished


This statue in Lafayette Square, north of the White House, is the
first equestrian statue cast in the United States. It is the work of
Clark Mills, sculptor, who, while he was in the South preparing to go
abroad, was persuaded to come to Washington and submit to Members of
Congress sketches of an equestrian statue. They were so highly pleased
with them that Mills was commissioned to produce the statue, and to do
this he built a foundry in northeast Washington at a place now called
Mills Avenue. The cost of the statue was $32,000. Congress appropriated
$20,000 and the Jackson Democratic Association of Washington the
balance. Congress also appropriated $8,000 for the pedestal. The
statue was unveiled January 8, 1853, the thirty-eighth anniversary of
Jackson’s victory at New Orleans. Stephen A. Douglas, then a United
States Senator, delivered the oration.



[Illustration: THE ADAMS MEMORIAL]

Repeated attempts have been made in the past 25 years to relocate the
statue, but without success. It has been suggested that it be placed at
the north steps of the Treasury Department Building. Some years ago the
suggestion was made to have the statue exchange places with the General
Washington Statue in Washington Circle. It met with strong objection.
To relocate the statue would require an act of Congress. However, the
statue is regarded a landmark in the city, and, as heretofore stated,
it is the first equestrian statue cast in the United States, having
thus added historic interest.


The Adams Memorial, a veiled female figure in bronze, by Saint-Gaudens,
in Rock Creek Cemetery, was erected in 1891. Under the carpet of pine
needles the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Adams are buried. There is no
inscription; not even a date on the architectural features, designed by
Stanford White. Thick planting of pines and shrubs completely secludes
the monument. Friends of the sculptor deplore the fact that this, his
masterpiece, has come to be known as the Statue of Grief, as such a
title is wholly at variance with the artist’s conception. It is, in
fact, a monument without a name, though the artist preferred the title,
“The Peace of God.” The sculptor endeavored to comprise in the figure
the thought of the philosophy of the ages--the great mystery of the
human race and of history--that being called man and his destiny. It
is a world-famous monument, and each year thousands of visitors to
the National Capital gladly travel the 4 miles directly north of the
Capitol to see it.


The statue of General Lafayette is situated on the southeast corner of
Lafayette Square. It is a heroic bronze statue by Alexander Falguiere
and Antoine Mercie, noted French sculptors. The statue stands on a
marble pedestal, on the north side of which are two cherubs holding up
the inscription:


Congress appropriated $50,000 for the statue and pedestal, and it was
completed in April, 1891. It is 45 feet high. On the east side are
two heroic French naval figures, Comte d’Estaing (north) and Comte de
Grasse (south), and an anchor. On the west side are two heroic French
Army officers who served during the Revolution, Comte de Rochambeau
(south) and Chevalier Duportail (north), and a mortar. On the south
side of the pedestal is a figure symbolizing America, lifting up a
sword to General Lafayette, with the inscription:


There were no ceremonies of dedication, but the statue is annually the
scene of ceremonies, including the presentation of a wreath by some
patriotic organization, such as the Sons of the American Revolution, on
Lafayette’s Birthday, September 6.


The statue standing in front of the District Building, at Fourteenth
Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., was unveiled May 3, 1909. The cost
of its erection, $10,192.67, was defrayed by public subscription in the
city of Washington.

The statue is the work of U. S. J. Dunbar, sculptor. It perpetuates
the memory of a man who in the face of great opposition accomplished
wonders for the National Capital.

Mr. Shepherd, for the years 1873 and 1874, was Governor of the District
of Columbia, and previous to that had been vice president and executive
officer of the board of public works, which inaugurated a program
for municipal improvement that led to the transformation of the city
in that day, as has been heretofore described. Driven from the city,
he went to Mexico and accumulated a fortune, returning later to
Washington. His tomb is in Rock Creek Cemetery, not far from the famous
Adams Memorial.


This bronze statue is situated at the intersection of Eighteenth Street
and Connecticut Avenue, at M Street NW., in one of the many triangular
reservations that are so numerous in Washington and which, in addition
to furnishing sites for monuments, help to make the city so attractive.
It was presented to the National Capital by the Longfellow Memorial
Association and unveiled May 15, 1909. Congress appropriated $4,000 for
the pedestal and furnished the site. The pedestal is of Milford pink
granite, polished. The statue is the work of William Couper, sculptor.
Longfellow, in academic gown, is seated.


This statue stands in front of the Church of the Covenant, on
Connecticut Avenue, near that of Longfellow. Congress provided the site
and pedestal at a cost of $4,000. It is the work of William Couper,
sculptor. It was presented to the United States by the Witherspoon
Memorial Association, and unveiled May 20, 1909.

John Witherspoon was a Presbyterian clergyman, at one time president
of what is now Princeton University, and one of the signers of the
Declaration of Independence, the only clergyman among the signers of
that famous document.





On the north side of the pedestal is a quotation from Witherspoon, made
during the War for Independence, as follows:



This memorial was presented to the United States by the Grand Army of
the Republic, in commemoration of Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson,
organizer and founder of the Grand Army of the Republic, and stands
near Pennsylvania Avenue at Seventh Street NW.

The monument is a solid granite shaft, in form a triangular pyramid.
The bronze figures represent three great principles. Fraternity,
symbolized by a soldier and a sailor, is on the west side. Over the
group is the inscription:


Underneath is a bronze medallion of Doctor Stephenson, also the badge
of the Grand Army of the Republic, obverse and reverse being shown, and
the inscription:


On the southeast side of the shaft is a female figure representing
Loyalty, holding a shield and drawn sword, and an inscription:


On the northeast side Charity is represented by a woman protecting a
child, with the inscription:


The monument cost $45,000, of which $10,000 was appropriated by
Congress for the pedestal, by act of March 4, 1907. It is the work of
J. Massey Rhind, sculptor. The monument was unveiled July 3, 1909,
during the administration of President Taft, who delivered an address
on the occasion.


The Pulaski monument, completed in 1910, and dedicated May 11, 1910,
the same day as was the Kosciuszko monument, is an equestrian by
Kasimiriez Chodzinski, sculptor, and stands on Pennsylvania Avenue,
at Thirteenth Street NW. It cost $55,000, which was appropriated by


The monument represents General Pulaski in his military uniform seated
on his horse “in action.” The pedestal, which is 9 feet high, is by
Albert R. Ross, architect. It rests on a large platform, measuring 20
by 16 feet. The equestrian, with its pedestal, is one of the best in
the city.


The Zero Milestone takes the place of the itinerary column planned
by L’Enfant for a place 1 mile east of the Capitol, “from which all
distances of places through the continent were to be calculated.” That
column never was built.

The Zero Milestone is immediately south of the White House grounds.
It is a block of granite 4 feet high with a bronze compass design
on top, and stands on the meridian of the District of Columbia. The
monument shows on the street side the designation Zero Milestone,
with the insignia of the Motor Transport Corps, U. S. Army. The
inscriptions on the other three sides show that it constitutes a point
from which distances may be measured on highways of the United States
radiating from Washington, and that it was the starting point of the
transcontinental motor-transport convoys over the Lincoln and the
Bankhead Highways in 1919 and 1920, respectively. The monument was
authorized by act of Congress approved June 5, 1920. It was designed by
Horace W. Peaslee, architect, of Washington.


The Dupont Memorial Fountain, at Dupont Circle, was designed by Daniel
Chester French, sculptor, and Henry Bacon, architect. The fountain was
dedicated on May 17, 1921, and cost $100,000. It replaces a portrait
statue of Admiral Dupont. The top bowl, in one piece, is 13 feet in

There are three figures on the supporting column of the fountain,
representing The Sea, The Wind, and The Stars. The picture used in this
book shows the figure typifying The Sea. The fountain is of Georgia


This statue, a copy of the celebrated Paul Dubois statue, one of the
masterpieces of modern art standing in front of Rheims Cathedral, is
situated on the grand terrace of Meridian Hill Park.

The statue is not large, measuring in length 10 feet and in height 9
feet. The pedestal is about 6 feet high. The casting was done under the
direction of the Ministère des Beaux Arts, in Paris. The pedestal was
designed by McKim, Mead & White, architects, of New York City.

[Illustration: STATUE OF JEANNE D’ARC]


[Illustration: ZERO MILESTONE]

[Illustration: STATUE OF DANTE]

[Illustration: GEN. U. S. GRANT MEMORIAL]

Congress authorized the erection of the statue on public grounds in the
National Capital, and the Commission of Fine Arts advised in the matter
of location and design of the pedestal.

In May, 1916, the commission received a communication from Mme. Carlo
Polifeme, President Fondatrice, Le Lyceum Société des Femmes de France
à New York, to this effect:

  Le Lyceum Société des Femmes de France à New York, in a spirit
  of patriotism, nurtured by exile, inspired with a deep sense of
  the friendship that binds our two sister Republics, animated by a
  sympathy born of closer and closer relations, “Le Lyceum” intends
  to perpetuate these sentiments by erecting, in their new home, a
  monument to Jeanne d’Arc, emblem of Patriotism, emblem of Love and
  Peace. The statue of our French heroine will be built to the glory of
  womanhood, dedicated by the women of France in New York to the women
  of America, and offered to the city of Washington.

The President and his excellency the French ambassador attended the
unveiling, which took place on January 6, 1922, the five hundred and
tenth anniversary of the birth of Jeanne d’Arc.

The life of Jeanne d’Arc has been eulogized by the greatest of writers,
and to-day she is revered as one of the world’s great liberators. Her
spirit of patriotism and devotion has thrilled the ages.


The statue of Dante, standing in Meridian Hill Park, was given to the
National Capital by Chevalier Carlo Barsotti, editor of Il Progresso
Italo-Americano, in behalf of the Italians of the United States in
commemoration of the six hundredth anniversary of the death of Dante
Alighieri, and unveiled on December 1, 1921. It is in bronze, 12 feet
high, and is the work of Commendatore Ettore Ximenes, sculptor, of
Rome. The artist has represented Dante in the gown of a scholar and
crowned with a laurel wreath.

The statue received an appropriate landscape setting upon the
completion of the lower garden of Meridian Hill Park.


The Grant Memorial, situated at the head of the Mall, in Union Square,
near the Capitol, was authorized by Congress in 1901, at a cost of
$250,000, the largest expenditure for statuary ever made by this
Government. It is said to be the second largest equestrian statue in
the world, being exceeded only by the Victor Emmanuel in Rome, which is
less than one-half foot higher.

The monument consists of a marble platform 252 feet in length and 69
feet at its greatest width, with steps on each side. In the center is
a pedestal 22 feet 6 inches high, on the top of which is a monumental
bronze figure of General Grant on horseback watching a battle. The
horse is 17 feet 6 inches high, two and one-half times life-size; the
monument is nearly 40 feet high. The top of General Grant’s army hat is
65 feet above the platform. The weight of the statue is 10,500 pounds.



[Illustration: GEN. U. S. GRANT MEMORIAL]

The infantry is represented by two bronze tablets at each side of the

On the platform at the right a cavalry charge is in progress. There are
seven horses in the group.

On the platform at the left a battery of artillery is going into
action. There are five horses and four soldiers in this group.

In these groups the sculptor has given particular attention to
portraying the army equipment of the period.

Four great bronze lions are at each corner of the main pedestal,
guarding the flag. For the inscription the memorial has the single word

The monument was cast by the Roman Bronze Works, of Brooklyn, N.
Y., and was dedicated April 27, 1922. Edward Pearce Casey was the
architect. The sculptor, Henry Merwin Shrady, died on April 12, a few
days before the dedication. The monument represents his most notable


The statue of the eloquent defender of the rights of the American
Colonies in the British Parliament is situated in a triangle at the
intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Eleventh Street NW. It is a
copy of the statue at Bristol, England, which city Burke represented
in Parliament. It was designed by the late Havard Thomas, and is
an excellent example of the work of one of the celebrated English
sculptors of recent times. The statue was given by Sir Charles Cheers
Wakefield, Bart., through the Sulgrave Institution. The pedestal was
designed by Horace W. Peaslee, architect, of Washington. The statue
was unveiled October 12, 1922, and accepted on the part of the United
States by the late Hon. John W. Weeks, Secretary of War.


This statue in bronze, about 9 feet in height, is on the south steps of
the Treasury Department Building. James E. Fraser is the sculptor. The
pedestal is of pink Milford granite and was designed by Henry Bacon,

If Alexander Hamilton, who was the first Secretary of the Treasury,
waited for more than a century to obtain representation in a capital
in part located through his sagacity and for the building of the
department his genius created, at least the result was well worth
the delay. By common consent the standing bronze figure of Hamilton,
dressed in a typical colonial costume, is notable for virility and
charm. It was unveiled May 17, 1923.





   Name and location  |   Sculptor and    |    Date     |    Cost
                      |    architect      |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Adams Memorial, Rock|Augustus           |Erected 1891.|Gift of Henry
  Creek Cemetery.     |Saint-Gaudens.     |             |Adams,
                      |                   |             |historian.
                      |                   |             |
  Bishop Francis      |Augustus Lukeman,  |Unveiled Oct.|Gift to city.
  Asbury (equestrian),|sculptor.          |15, 1924.    |
  16th and Harvard    |                   |             |
  Sts.                |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Commodore John      |John J. Boyle,     |Unveiled May |Act of
  Barry, Franklin     |Sculptor.          |16, 1914.    |Congress,
  Park.               |                   |             |$50,000.
                      |                   |             |
  William Jennings    |Gutzon Borglum,    |Unveiled May |Gift to city.
  Bryan, Potomac Park.|Sculptor.          |3, 1934.     |
                      |                   |             |
  Buchanan Memorial,  |H. Schuler,        |Unveiled     |Do.
  Meridian Hill Park. |sculptor; William  |June 26,     |
                      |Gordon Beecher,    |1930.        |
                      |architect.         |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Edmund Burke, 12th  |Havard Thomas,     |Unveiled     |Do.
  St. and             |sculptor; Horace W.|Oct. 12,     |
  Massachusetts Ave.  |Peaslee, architect.|1922.        |
                      |                   |             |
  Butt-Millet Memorial|Daniel C. French,  |Erected 1913.|Do.
  Fountain, south of  |sculptor;          |             |
  White House.        |Thomas Hastings,   |             |
                      |architect.         |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Colonial Settlers   |Delos Smith,       |April 25,    |Do.
  Monument, Ellipse,  |architect.         |1936.        |
  facing 15th Street. |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Columbus Memorial   |Lorado Taft,       |Unveiled     |Act of
  Fountain,           |sculptor; D. H.    |June 8, 1912.|Congress,
  Union Station.      |Burnham & Co.,     |             |$100,000.
                      |architects.        |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Cuban Urn, Potomac  |From fragments     |1928.        |Gift to city
  Park.               |of Maine Memorial. |             |by Cuba.
                      |                   |             |
  Louis J. M.         |Jonathan S.        |Unveiled Aug.|Gift to city.
  Daguerre,           |Hartley, sculptor. |15, 1890.    |
  Smithsonian grounds.|                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Dante Alighieri,    |C. Ettore Ximenes, |Unveiled Dec.|Do.
  Meridian Hill Park. |sculptor.          |1, 1921.     |
                      |                   |             |
  Darlington Memorial |C. P. Jennewein,   |1923.        |Do.
  Fountain, Judiciary |sculptor.          |             |
  Square.             |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Jane A. Delano      |R. Tait McKenzie,  |Unveiled Apr.|Gift of Nurses
  Memorial,           |sculptor.          |26, 1934.    |of the
  Red Cross grounds.  |                   |             |Red Cross.
                      |                   |             |
  District of Columbia|Frederick H.       |November 11, |Gift to city.
  World War Memorial. |Brooke, H. W.      |1931.        |
                      |Peaslee, and Nathan|             |
                      |Wyeth, associated. |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Dupont Memorial     |D. C. French,      |Unveiled May |Do.
  Fountain,           |sculptor; Henry    |17, 1921.    |
  Dupont Circle.      |Bacon, architect.  |             |
                      |                   |             |
  John Ericsson,      |James E. Fraser,   |Unveiled May |Act of
  Potomac Park.       |sculptor.          |29, 1926.    |Congress,
                      |                   |             |$35,000; part
                      |                   |             |gift of
                      |                   |             |Scandinavians.
                      |                   |             |
  Admiral David       |Vinnie Ream Hoxie, |Unveiled Apr.|Act of
  Farragut, Farragut  |sculptor.          |25, 1881.    |Congress,
  Square.             |                   |             |$20,000.
                      |                   |             |
  First Division      |D. C. French,      |Unveiled Oct.|Gift to city.
  Memorial,           |sculptor; Cass     |4, 1924.     |
  President’s Park.   |Gilbert, architect.|             |
                      |                   |             |
  Fountain, Botanic   |Auguste Bartholdi, |1876.        |Brought from
  Gardens.            |sculptor.          |             |Centennial
                      |                   |             |Exposition,
                      |                   |             |Philadelphia.
                      |                   |             |
  Benjamin Franklin,  |Jacques Jouvenal,  |Erected Jan. |Gift to city.
  10th St. and        |sculptor; after    |17, 1889.    |
  Pennsylvania Ave.   |Plassman.          |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gallaudet Group,    |Daniel Chester     |Erected 1889.|Gift of the
  Columbia Institute  |French, sculptor.  |             |Deaf.
  for Deaf Mutes.     |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  James A. Garfield,  |J. Q. A. Ward,     |Unveiled May |Congress,
  First St. and       |sculptor.          |12, 1887.    |$37,500; and in
  Maryland Ave.       |                   |             |part gift.
                      |                   |             |
  James Cardinal      |Leo Lentelli,      |Erected 1932.|Gift to city.
  Gibbons, 16th St.   |sculptor; George   |             |
  and Park Rd.        |Koyl, architect.   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Samuel Gompers and  |Robert Aitken,     |Dedicated    |Do.
  American Federation |sculptor.          |Oct. 7, 1933.|
  of Labor Memorial,  |                   |             |
  10th St. and        |                   |             |
  Massachusetts Ave.  |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  General U. S. Grant |Henry M. Shrady,   |Dedicated    |Act of
  Memorial, Union     |sculptor; Edward P.|Apr. 27,     |Congress,
  Square.             |Casey, architect.  |1922.        |$250,000.
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. Nathanael      |H. K. Brown,       |Erected 1877.|Act of
  Greene (equestrian),|sculptor.          |             |Congress,
  Maryland and        |                   |             |$50,000.
  Massachusetts Aves. |                   |             |
  NE.                 |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Dr. Samuel Gross,   |A. Stirling Calder,|Unveiled May |Gift to city.
  Smithsonian grounds.|sculptor.          |5, 1897.     |
                      |                   |             |
  Grand Army of the   |J. Massey Rhind,   |Unveiled July|Gift to city,
  Republic Memorial,  |sculptor; Rankin,  |3, 1909.     |$35,000; Act of
  7th St. and         |Kellogg & Crane,   |             |Congress,
  Pennsylvania Ave.   |architects.        |             |$10,000 for
                      |                   |             |pedestal.
                      |                   |             |
  Hahnemann Memorial, |Charles Henry      |Unveiled June|Gift to city.
  Scott Circle.       |Niehaus, sculptor. |21, 1900.    |
                      |                   |             |
  Alexander Hamilton, |James E. Fraser,   |Unveiled May |Do.
  south steps of      |sculptor; Henry    |17, 1923.    |
  Treasury Building.  |Bacon, architect.  |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. Winfield S.    |Henry J. Ellicott, |Unveiled May |Act of
  Hancock             |sculptor.          |12, 1896.    |Congress,
  (equestrian),       |                   |             |$50,000.
  between 7th and 8th |                   |             |
  Sts. on Pennsylvania|                   |             |
  Ave.                |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Joseph Henry,       |W. W. Story,       |Unveiled Apr.|Act of
  Smithsonian grounds.|sculptor.          |19, 1882.    |Congress,
                      |                   |             |$15,000.
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. Andrew Jackson,|Clark Mills,       |Unveiled Jan.|Act of
  Lafayette Park      |sculptor.          |8, 1853.     |Congress,
  (first equestrian in|                   |             |$32,000; part
  U. S.).             |                   |             |gift.
                      |                   |             |
  Jeanne d’Arc.       |Paul Dubois,       |Unveiled Jan.|Gift to city.
                      |sculptor.          |6, 1922.     |
                      |                   |             |
  Thomas Jefferson    |John R. Pope,      |Under        |Act of
  Memorial, south of  |architect.         |construction.|Congress,
  Tidal Basin.        |                   |             |$3,000,000.
                      |                   |             |
  Admiral John Paul   |Charles H. Niehaus,|Unveiled Apr.|Act of
  Jones, foot of 17th |sculptor; Thomas   |17, 1912.    |Congress,
  St.                 |Hastings,          |             |$50,000.
                      |architect.         |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. Thaddeus       |Antoni Popiel,     |Unveiled May |Gift to city.
  Kosciuszko,         |sculptor.          |11, 1910.    |
  Lafayette Park.     |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  General Lafayette,  |Alexandre Falguire |Erected 1891.|Act of
  Lafayette Park.     |and Antoine Mercie.|             |Congress,
                      |                   |             |$50,000.
                      |                   |             |
  L’Enfant Tomb,      |Welles Bosworth,   |Dedicated    |Gift of
  Arlington National  |architect.         |1909.        |American
  Cemetery.           |                   |             |Institute of
                      |                   |             |Architects.
                      |                   |             |
  Abraham Lincoln,    |Lott Flannery,     |Unveiled Apr.|Gift to city.
  Judiciary Square.   |sculptor.          |15, 1868.    |
                      |                   |             |
  Lincoln the         |Thomas Ball,       |Unveiled Apr.|Gift of freed
  Emancipator, Lincoln|sculptor.          |14, 1876.    |slaves to city.
  Park.               |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  General John A.     |Franklin Simmons,  |Dedicated    |Act of
  Logan (equestrian), |sculptor.          |Apr. 9, 1901.|Congress,
  13th St. and Rhode  |                   |             |$50,000; part
  Island Ave.         |                   |             |gift.
                      |                   |             |
  Henry W. Longfellow,|William Couper,    |Unveiled May |Gift to city;
  Connecticut Ave. and|sculptor.          |15, 1909.    |pedestal by
  M St.               |                   |             |Congress.
                      |                   |             |
  Martin Luther,      |Replica of figure  |Erected 1884.|$10,000.
  facing Thomas       |by Reitschel at    |             |
  Circle.             |Worms.             |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Chief Justice John  |W. W. Story,       |do.          |Gift to city.
  Marshall, Capitol   |sculptor.          |             |
  grounds.            |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. George B.      |Frederick          |Unveiled May |Act of
  McClellan           |MacMonnies,        |2, 1907.     |Congress,
  (equestrian),       |sculptor.          |             |$50,000.
  Connecticut Ave.    |                   |             |
  and Columbia Rd.    |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  McMillan Fountain   |Herbert Adams,     |Erected 1913.|Gift to city.
  (Senator James),    |sculptor; Charles  |             |
  McMillan Park.      |A. Platt,          |             |
                      |architect.         |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. James B.       |Louis T. Rebisso,  |Dedicated    |Act of
  McPherson           |sculptor.          |Oct. 18,     |Congress,
  (equestrian),       |                   |1876.        |$25,000; part
  McPherson Square.   |                   |             |gift to city.
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. George G.      |Charles Grafly,    |Dedicated    |Gift to city by
  Meade, Union Square.|sculptor; Simon &  |Oct. 19,     |State of
                      |Simon, architects. |1927.        |Pennsylvania;
                      |                   |             |(cost
                      |                   |             |$400,000).
                      |                   |             |
  Navy and Marine     |Begni del Piatta,  |Erected 1935.|Gift to city;
  Memorial, Columbia  |sculptor; Harvey W.|             |base by the
  Island.             |Corbett, architect.|             |Government.
                      |                   |             |
  Francis G. Newlands |Edward W. Donn,    |Dedicated    |Gift to city.
  Memorial Fountain,  |Jr., architect.    |Oct. 12,     |
  Chevy Chase Circle. |                   |1933.        |
                      |                   |             |
  Nuns of the Civil   |Jerome Connor,     |Unveiled     |Do.
  War Monument, Rhode |sculptor.          |Sept. 20,    |
  Island Ave. and M   |                   |1924.        |
  St.                 |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Peace Monument, 1st |Franklin Simmons,  |Dedicated    |Act of
  St. and Pennsylvania|sculptor; Edward   |1877.        |Congress,
  Ave.                |Clark, architect.  |             |$20,000; part
                      |                   |             |gift to city.
                      |                   |             |
  Albert Pike, 3d St. |G. Trentanove,     |Unveiled Oct.|Gift to city.
  and Indiana Ave.    |sculptor.          |23, 1901.    |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. Casimir Pulaski|K. Chodzinski,     |Dedicated May|Act of
  (equestrian), 13th  |sculptor; Albert R.|11, 1910.    |Congress,
  St. and Pennsylvania|Ross, architect.   |             |$55,000.
  Ave.                |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. John A.        |Joseph A. Bailey,  |Erected 1874.|Act of
  Rawlins, 18th St.   |sculptor.          |             |Congress,
  and New York Ave.   |                   |             |$13,000.
                      |                   |             |
  General Rochambeau, |F. Hamar, of Paris,|Unveiled May |Act of
  Lafayette Park.     |sculptor.          |24, 1902.    |Congress,
                      |                   |             |$22,500.
                      |                   |             |
  Theodore Roosevelt  |F. L. Olmsted,     |Island       |Gift to city.
  Memorial, Theodore  |landscape          |(formerly    |Act of May 21,
  Roosevelt Island.   |architect; John R. |Analostan)   |1932.
                      |Pope, architect.   |acquired     |
                      |                   |1931.        |
                      |                   |             |
  Benjamin Rush, Naval|Roland Hinton      |             |Gift to city.
  Medical School.     |Perry, sculptor.   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. San Martin     |Replica of one by  |Dedicated    |Do.
  (equestrian),       |Dumont at Buenos   |Oct. 28,     |
  Judiciary Square.   |Aires.             |1925.        |
                      |                   |             |
  General Winfield    |Henry K. Brown,    |Erected 1874.|Act of
  Scott (equestrian), |sculptor.          |             |Congress,
  Scott Circle.       |                   |             |$77,000.
                      |                   |             |
  General Winfield    |Launt Thompson,    |Erected 1873.|Gift to city.
  Scott, Soldiers’    |sculptor.          |             |
  Home grounds.       |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Second Division     |John R. Pope,      |Dedicated    |Do.
  Memorial,           |architect; James E.|July 18,     |
  President’s Park,   |Fraser, sculptor.  |1936.        |
  facing Constitution |                   |             |
  Avenue.             |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Serenity Statue,    |Jose Clara,        |Erected 1924.|Do.
  Meridian Hill Park. |sculptor.          |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Alexander R.        |U. S. J. Dunbar,   |Unveiled May |Do.
  Shepherd, 14th St.  |sculptor.          |3, 1909.     |
  and Pennsylvania    |                   |             |
  Ave.                |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. Philip Sheridan|Gutzon Borglum,    |Unveiled Nov.|Act of
  (equestrian),       |sculptor.          |25, 1908.    |Congress,
  Sheridan Circle.    |                   |             |$50,000.
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. William T.     |Carl Rohl Smith,   |Unveiled Oct.|Part gift,
  Sherman             |sculptor, and      |15, 1903.    |$11,000; acts
  (equestrian), south |several others.    |             |of Congress,
  of Treasury         |                   |             |$120,000.
  Building.           |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. George H.      |J. Q. A. Ward,     |Dedicated    |Act of
  Thomas (equestrian),|sculptor.          |Nov. 19,     |Congress,
  Thomas Circle.      |                   |1879.        |$25,000; part
                      |                   |             |gift to city.
                      |                   |             |
  Titanic Memorial,   |Mrs. Harry Payne   |Unveiled May |Gift to city.
  foot of New         |Whitney, sculptor; |26, 1931.    |
  Hampshire Ave.      |Henry Bacon,       |             |
                      |architect.         |             |
                      |                   |             |
  General Von Steuben,|Albert Jaegers,    |Unveiled Dec.|Act of
  Lafayette Park.     |sculptor.          |7, 1910.     |Congress,
                      |                   |             |$50,000.
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. Artemas Ward,  |Leonard Crunelle,  |Dedicated    |Gift to city.
  Nebraska and        |sculptor.          |Nov. 3, 1938.|
  Massachusetts Aves. |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Gen. George         |Clark Mills,       |Unveiled Feb.|Act of
  Washington          |sculptor.          |22, 1860.    |Congress,
  (equestrian),       |                   |             |$50,000.
  Washington Circle.  |                   |             |
                      |                   |             |
  Washington Monument.|Robert Mills,      |Dedicated    |Act of Congress
                      |architect.         |Feb. 21,     |and part gift
                      |                   |1885.        |to city.
                      |                   |             |
  Daniel Webster, near|G. Trentanove,     |Unveiled Jan.|Act of
  Scott Circle.       |sculptor.          |18, 1900.    |Congress,
                      |                   |             |$4,000; part
                      |                   |             |gift to city.
                      |                   |             |
  John Witherspoon,   |Wm. Couper,        |Unveiled May |Gift to city;
  Connecticut Ave. at |sculptor.          |20, 1909.    |pedestal by
  N St.               |                   |             |Congress.
                      |                   |             |
  Zero Milestone.     |H. W. Peaslee,     |Erected 1922.|Act of
                      |architect.         |             |Congress.



  (_By courtesy of the Library of Congress_)

  A History of the National Capital, by W. B. Bryan.

  A History of the United States Capitol, by Glenn Brown.

  Washington in the Past, by Dr. S. C. Busey.

  National Capital Centennial, 1900, compiled by William V. Cox.

  With Americans of Past and Present Days, by J. J. Jusserand.

  Historical Sketches of the Ten Miles Square, forming the District of
  Columbia, by Jonathan Elliott, 1830.

  The Improvement of the Park System of the District of Columbia. (S.
  Rept. No. 166, 57th Cong., 1st sess., 1902.)

  Park Improvement Papers, 1901. (S. Doc. No. 94, 56th Cong., 2d sess.)

  The Improvement of the District of Columbia; papers by the American
  Institute of Architects, 1900.

  The Restoration of the White House. (S. Doc. No. 197, 57th Cong., 2d
  sess., 1903.)

  The Reports of the National Commission of Fine Arts, Nos. 1 to 12,

  Daniel H. Burnham, Architect and Planner of Cities, by Charles Moore.

  Public Buildings Commission Reports.

  Reports of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

  Reports of the Columbia Historical Society.

  Centennial History of the City of Washington, D. C., by H. W. Crew.

  Washington, the City and the Seat of Government, by Charles H. A.

  The Capital of Our Country, by the National Geographic Society.

  Our Capital on the Potomac, by Helen Nicolay.

  Origin and Government of the District of Columbia, by William Tindall.

  Washington: Its Beginning, Its Growth, and Its Future, by William H.
  Taft. Published by the National Geographic Society.

  Washington, Past and Present, by Charles Moore.

  Art and Artists of the Capitol, by Charles E. Fairman. (S. Doc. No.
  95, 69th Cong.)

  Your Washington and Mine, by Louise Payson Latimer.

  Walks About Washington, by Francis Ellington Leupp.

  Washington, Its Sights and Insights, by Mrs. Harriet E. Monroe.

  Early Days of Washington, by S. Somervell Mackall.

  Washington and Its Romance, by Thomas N. Page.

  Rand-McNally Guide to Washington and Environs.

  The Standard Guide to Washington, by Charles B. Reynolds.

  Rider’s Washington, by Arthur F. Rider.

  The Book of Washington, by Robert Shackleton.

  Washington, the National Capital, by H. P. Caemmerer.

  Pictures of the City of Washington in the Past, by Dr. Samuel C.

  The First Forty Years of Washington Society, by Margaret Bayard Smith.

  The Story of the White House, by Esther Singleton.

  The Art Treasures of Washington, by Helen W. Henderson.

  Washington, the Capital City, and Its Part in the History of the

  Development of the United States Capital. Addresses delivered in
  the auditorium of the United States Chamber of Commerce Building,
  Washington, D. C., April 25-26, 1929. (H. Doc. No. 35, 71st Cong.)

  Washington, City of Mighty Events, by David R. Barbee.

  Territorial Government of Washington, D. C., by Col. Ulysses S. Grant

  L’Enfant and Washington, by Elizabeth S. Kite.

  Washington, Past and Present, by John C. Proctor.

  Washington, D. C., the Nation’s Capital, a book for young people, by
  Frances M. Fox.

  Approaching Washington by Tidewater Potomac, by Paul Wilstach.

  Washington, D. C., Committee on Marking Points of Historic Interest,
  1929. (S. Doc. No. 228, 70th Cong., 2d sess.)

  Society in Washington, by DeBenneville R. Keim.

  Letters from a Senator’s Wife, by Mrs. Frances P. Keyes.

  Our National Government; or, Life and Scenes in our National Capital,
  by Mrs. J. A. Logan.

  Picturesque Washington: Pen and Pencil Sketches of Its Scenery,
  History, Traditions, Public and Social Life, by Joseph West Moore.

  The Washington Sketch Book, by Joseph B. Varnum.

  Washington: City and Capital. Federal Writers’ Project. Government
  Printing Office, 1937.

  Records of the Columbia Historical Society.


  1. GEORGE WASHINGTON, April 30, 1789, to March 3, 1797.

  2. JOHN ADAMS, March 4, 1797, to March 3, 1801.

  3. THOMAS JEFFERSON, March 4, 1801, to March 3, 1809.

  4. JAMES MADISON, March 4, 1809, to March 3, 1817.

  5. JAMES MONROE, March 4, 1817, to March 3, 1825.

  6. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, March 4, 1825, to March 3, 1829.

  7. ANDREW JACKSON, March 4, 1829, to March 3, 1837.

  8. MARTIN VAN BUREN, March 4, 1837, to March 3, 1841.

  9. WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, March 4, 1841, to April 4, 1841.

  10. JOHN TYLER, April 6, 1841, to March 3, 1845.

  11. JAMES K. POLK, March 4, 1845, to March 3, 1849.

  12. ZACHARY TAYLOR, March 5, 1849, to July 9, 1850.

  13. MILLARD FILLMORE, July 10, 1850, to March 3, 1853.

  14. FRANKLIN PIERCE, March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1857.

  15. JAMES BUCHANAN, March 4, 1857, to March 3, 1861.

  16. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, March 4, 1861, to April 15, 1865.

  17. ANDREW JOHNSON, April 15, 1865, to March 3, 1869.

  18. ULYSSES S. GRANT, March 4, 1869, to March 3, 1877.

  19. RUTHERFORD B. HAYES, March 4, 1877, to March 3, 1881.

  20. JAMES A. GARFIELD, March 4, 1881, to September 19, 1881.

  21. CHESTER A. ARTHUR, September 20, 1881, to March 3, 1885.

  22. GROVER CLEVELAND, March 4, 1885, to March 3, 1889.

  23. BENJAMIN HARRISON, March 4, 1889, to March 3, 1893.

  24. GROVER CLEVELAND, March 4, 1893, to March 3, 1897.

  25. WILLIAM MCKINLEY, March 4, 1897, to September 14, 1901.

  26. THEODORE ROOSEVELT, September 14, 1901, to March 3, 1909.

  27. WILLIAM H. TAFT, March 4, 1909, to March 3, 1913.

  28. WOODROW WILSON, March 4, 1913, to March 3, 1921.

  29. WARREN G. HARDING, March 4, 1921, to August 2, 1923.

  30. CALVIN COOLIDGE, August 3, 1923, to March 3, 1929.

  31. HERBERT HOOVER, March 4, 1929, to March 3, 1933.

  32. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, March 4, 1933-


  “I most earnestly hope that in the National Capital a better
  beginning will be made than anywhere else; and that can be made only
  by utilizing to the fullest degree the thought and the disinterested
  efforts of the architects, the artists, the men of art, who stand
  foremost in their professions here in the United States and who ask
  no other reward save the reward of feeling that they have done their
  full part to make as beautiful as it should be the Capital City of
  the Great Republic.”


  “If General Washington, at a time when his country was a little
  hemmed-in nation, boasting but a single seaboard, with a population
  of only five million, and with credit so bad that lot sales,
  lotteries, and borrowing upon the personal security of individuals
  had to be resorted to in order to finance the new capital, could look
  to the future and understand that it was his duty to build for the
  centuries to come and for a great nation, how much more should we do
  so now?”


  It is hereby ordered that whenever new structures are to be erected
  in the District of Columbia under the direction of the Federal
  Government which affect in any important way the appearance of the
  city, or whenever questions involving matters of art and with which
  the Federal Government is concerned are to be determined, final
  action shall not be taken until such plans and questions have been
  submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts, designated under the act of
  Congress of May 17, 1910, for comment and advice. (Executive order of
  November 28, 1913.)


  “We are embarking on an ambitious building program for the city
  of Washington. The Memorial Bridge is under way with all that it
  holds for use and beauty. New buildings are soon contemplated. This
  program should represent the best that exists in the art and science
  of architecture. Into these structures, which must be considered as
  of a permanent nature, ought to go the aspirations of the nation,
  its ideals, expressed in forms of beauty. If our country wishes to
  compete with others, let it not be in the support of armaments but
  in the making of a beautiful capital city. Let it express the soul
  of America. Whenever an American is at the seat of his Government,
  however traveled and cultured he may be, he ought to find a city of
  stately proportions, symmetrically laid out and adorned with the best
  that there is in architecture, which would arouse his imagination
  and stir his patriotic pride. In the coming years Washington should
  be not only the art center of our own country but the art center of
  the world. Around it should center all that is best in science, in
  learning, in letters, and in art. These are the results that justify
  the creation of those national resources with which we have been


  “This is more than the making of a beautiful city. Washington is
  not only the Nation’s Capital, it is the symbol of America. By its
  dignity and architectural inspiration we stimulate pride in our
  country, we encourage that elevation of thought and character which
  comes from great architecture.”


  “In the Capital an example should be set for the country as a whole
  in the matter of planning. Our national monuments will attract
  seekers of the ideal in art. More and more it will become the
  tendency to establish the headquarters of societies of literature and
  art in Washington and to make bequests of collections to the National
  Capital. Already there is a definite project to establish here in
  Washington a national gallery of painting. Thus the Capital may be
  foreseen as an art center responding to the desire of visitors from
  all over the world and satisfying that demand. The public buildings,
  as finally located and constructed, should place Washington in the
  forefront of the architecturally beautiful cities of the world.”


  “The people of America are beginning to see that it is not necessary
  to be commonplace in order to have common sense * * *. They wish for
  themselves in the public buildings of municipalities and of States
  and Nation to have the best results of time and the best attainments
  of genius. What the people desire, their representatives in State
  legislature, in municipal body, and in the Congress of the United
  States desire for them. The art of our fathers, the art of our
  private citizens, is to be the art of our people and of our whole


  “A city planned on such a noble scale as Washington is rare in the
  world. It is almost unique. One hundred years of use has demonstrated
  its merit. The plan of its founders should be maintained as the basis
  for future development.”



  “In these circumstances may not the city of Washington feel that
  its mission in life is to be the embodiment of the majesty and the
  stateliness of the whole Nation, representing all that is finest
  in American conception, all that is largest and most luminous in
  American thought; embodying: the Nation’s ideal of what the Capital
  of such a Nation should be * * * the highest aspirations as to
  external dignity and beauty that a great people can form for that
  which is the center and national focus of their life.”


  Abingdon, site of, 117.

  Ackerman & Ross, architects, 284.

  Adams Memorial, 187, 325.

  Adams, President John, 40.

  Adams, President John Quincy, 45, 176, 268.

  Agriculture, Department of, 89, 145, 284.

  Alexandria, Va., 8, 37, 117.

  Allied Architects, Inc., of Washington, 235.

  American Battle Monuments Commission, 315.

  American Institute of Architects, 73, 81, 146.

  American Institute of Pharmacy, 277.

  American University, 279.

  Anacostia Park, 10, 161.

  Arboretum, National, 161, 296.

  Architecture, classical order of, 86, 165, 171, 196, 235, 261.

  Archives Building, National, 284.

  Arlington Mansion, 182, 309.

  Arlington Memorial Amphitheater, 313.

  Arlington Memorial Bridge, 93, 135, 284, 296.

  Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission, 135.

  Arlington National Cemetery, 82, 142, 309, 311.

  Army War College, 284.

  Art in the United States, influence on:
    Centennial Celebration of 1876, 65.
    World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, 65.

  Bacon, Henry, Architect, 131, 333, 343.

  Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co., 45.

  Bancroft, George, 177.

  Barsotti, Chevalier Carolo, gift of, 339.

  Bennett, Parsons & Frost, architects, 284.

  Bingham, Theodore A., Superintendent Public Buildings and Grounds,

  Blair, Gist, 153, 155.

  Blashfield, Edwin Howland, mural painter, 247.

  Blodgett Hotel, 43.

  Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 65.

  Botanical Society of Washington, 11.

  Botanic Garden, 296.

  Brown, Arthur, architect, 284.

  Brown, Glenn and Bedford, architects, 284.

  Boundary Stones, District of Columbia, 19.

  Bryce, Viscount, 279, 358.

  Budget, Director of the, 307.

  Building Regulations of President Washington, 21, 101, 105.

  Bulfinch, Charles, Architect of the Capitol, 219.

  Burke, Edmund, statue of, 343.

  Burnes, David, 15.

  Burnham, Daniel H., 77, 80, 210, 235.

  Burnham & Co., D. H., 80, 235, 241.

  Cabin John Bridge, 215.

  Calvert Street Bridge, 284.

  Capitol, the:
    Bronze doors of, 224.
    Description of, an early, 165.
    Description of, a later, 219.
    Enlargement of, 49, 219.
    Group, 85.
    House of Representatives wing of, bronze doors of the, 228.
    Paintings in Rotunda of, 221.
    Senate wing of, bronze doors of the, 226.

  Capitol Grounds and Union Station Plaza, development, 296, 301.

  Capitol Prison, old, 43.

  Capper-Cramton Act, the, 108, 151.

  Carnegie, Andrew, 276.

  Carnegie Institution of Washington, 277.

  Carrere & Hastings, architects, 235, 277, 313.

  Carrollsburgh, 37.

  Casey, Edward Pearce, architect, 245, 275, 284, 343.

  Casey, Thomas Lincoln, 205.

  Cassatt, Alexander J., president Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 84.

  Catholic University of America, 279.

  Centennial Celebration, influence on Art, 65.

  Central Heating Plant for Public Buildings, 284.

  Chain Bridge, 284.

  Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, 277.

  Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Co., 45, 109, 182, 183.

  Chicago, 65.

  Chief of Engineers, 147.

  Chodzinski, Kasimiriez, sculptor, 331.

  Christ Church, Alexandria, Va., 117.

  Christ Church, Washington, 187, 190.

  Churches in Washington, National, 289.

  Clarke, Gilmore D., 119.

  Clay, Henry, 99, 176.

  Columbia Institution for the Deaf, 279.

  Columbia Island, 137, 142.

  Columbus Monument, 241.

  Commerce Building, Department of, 279.

  Committee on the Library, 98, 161.

  Congress of the United States, 228.

  Congressional Cemetery, 190.

  Congressional Record, 232.

  Connogochegue River, 7.

  Constitution Avenue, 135, 293.

  Constitution Hall, 275.

  Constitution of the United States:
    Provision for Federal District, in, 4.
    In Library of Congress, 247.

  Continental Congress, the:
    Cities occupied by, 1.
    Inconvenienced by moving, 2.

  Coolidge, President Calvin, 276, 296.

  Coolidge, Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague, 250.

  Council of Fine Arts, 95, 99.

  Corbett, Harvey W., architect, 119.

  Corcoran Gallery of Art, 65, 179, 275.

  Corcoran House, 179.

  Couper, William, sculptor, 326.

  Courts of the District of Columbia, 193.

  Crawford, Thomas, sculptor, 224, 226.

  Cret, Paul P., architect, 252, 276, 284.

  Custis, George Washington Parke, 182, 203, 309.

  Dante, statue of, 159, 339.

  D’Arc, Jeanne, statue of, 159, 333.

  Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society of the, 275.

  Decatur House, 176.

  Declaration of Independence, 9.
    In Library of Congress, 245.

  Delano, Frederic A., 163.

  Delano & Aldrich, architects, 284.

  Dermott, James R., plan of, 32.

  District of Columbia, the:
    Act establishing, 7
    Agreement for purchase of land for--
      Terms of, 15;
      Signers of, 16.
    Board of Commissioners of, 7, 102, 305.
      Government of the, 305.
    Boundary stones of, 19.
    Description of 1810-1815, 41.
    Georgetown made part of, 179.
    Government of the, 305.
    Highway Plan of, 69.
    One hundredth anniversary of removal of the seat of government to
    the, 73.
    Origin and form of government of, 305.

  District of Columbia Courthouse, 193.

  Douglas, Stephen A., 321.

  Downing, A. J., 145.

  Dubois, Paul, sculptor, 333.

  Dunbar, U. S. J., sculptor, 326.

  Dupont Memorial, 333.

  Early, Gen. Jubal A., 57.

  Early settlements along the Potomac, 9.

  Eastern Branch, 7, 8, 13.

  East Capitol Street, extending the Mall axis eastward, 109, 111.

  East Potomac Park, 155.

  Eliot, Dr. Charles W., 240, 243.

  Ellicott, Andrew, 19, 28, 29.

  Ellicott Plan, 29.

  Elliott, Hon. Richard N., 299.

  Embassies and Legations, 289.

  Engraving and Printing, Bureau of, 273, 284.

  Expositions held in the United States, 68.

  Federal City, the:
    Movement to establish, 1.
    Naming streets of, 20.
    Original agreement for, 15.
    Preliminary studies of, 25.
    Site of, 13.

  Federal Hall, 5.

  Federal Reserve Board Building, 276.

  Federal Trade Commission Building, 284.

  Fernald, Senator Bert N., 299.

  Flagg, Ernest, architect, 275.

  Folger Shakespeare Library, 252.

  Ford’s Theater, 57, 215.

  Fort Drive, 108, 111.

  Fort Stevens, 57.

  Fort Washington, Md., 109, 151.

  Foundry Methodist Church, 45.

  Foxall, Henry, 45.

  Francis Scott Key Bridge, 284.

  Fraser, James E., sculptor, 139, 343.

  Freedom, statue of, 224.

  Freer Gallery of Art, 89, 256, 284.

  French, Daniel Chester, sculptor, 133, 333.

  Friedlander, Leo, sculptor, 139.

  Garden Club of America, 163.

  Garfield Park, 147.

  General Accounting Office, 284.

  George Washington Bicentennial Celebration, 129.

  George Washington Birthplace National Monument, 129.

  George Washington Memorial Parkway, 115, 296.

  George Washington National Masonic Memorial, 119.

  George Washington University, 279.

  Georgetown, 40, 48, 179;
    University, 279.

  Giegengack, A. E., Public Printer, 260.

  Gilbert, Cass, architect, 175, 273, 277, 304.

  Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor, architect, 276.

  Government department building, first, 266, 272.

  Government of the United States, the:
    Act for establishment of the temporary and permanent seat of, 7.
    Amendment to act establishing, 8.

  Government Printing Office, 257-261.

  Grand Army of the Republic Memorial to Benjamin F. Stephenson, 331.

  Grant, Gen. U. S., Memorial 82, 87, 148, 339.

  Grant, President Ulysses S., 61, 203.

  Great Falls of the Potomac, 45, 109, 115.

  Greenough, Horatio, sculptor, 321.

  Gregory, John, sculptor, 254.

  Guerin, Jules, mural painter, 133.

  Hadfield, George, architect, 190, 193, 219, 309.

  Hallet, Stephen H., 219.

  Hamburg, 37.

  Hamilton, Alexander:
    Part taken in locating National Capital, 6.
    Secretary of the Treasury, first, 271.
    Statue of, 343.

  Hamilton, Mrs. Alexander, 203.

  Hamilton, Mount, 161.

  Harding, President Warren G., 135.

  Hay, John, 91, 177.

  Heath, Hon. Ferry K., 299.

  Height of Buildings, 103.

  Hewlett, J. Monroe, 275.

  Highway Plan of the District of Columbia, 69.

  Hoban, James, architect of the White House, 219, 261.

  Hoover, President Herbert, 263.

  Houdon, Jean Antoine, sculptor, 319.

  House of Representatives Office Building, new, 235, 296.

  Howard University, 279.

  Hughes, Charles Evans, Chief Justice of the United States, 304.

  Independence Hall, 3.

  Indian Tribes in and about the District of Columbia, 10.

  Interior Department, 127, 143, 276, 306.

  Internal Revenue, Bureau of, Building, 284.

  Interstate Commerce Commission Building, 279.

  Jackson, President Andrew:
    Suggests location of Arlington Memorial Bridge, 135.
    Department of the Treasury Building, selects site for, 272.
    Statue of, 321.

  James Creek, 37.

  Japanese Cherry Trees, 155.

  Jeanne d’Arc statue, 333.

  Jefferson Pier, 91, 202.

  Jefferson, President Thomas:
    Architect of the Capitol, appoints, 40, 167.
    Improves Pennsylvania Avenue, 40.
    Influence on architecture, 68, 86.
    Library of, purchase of, 219, 248.
    National Capital, the--
      Alternate plan of, for, 15.
      Founding of, in, part of, 6.
      L’Enfant’s plans for, in directing, part of, 25.
    Pennsylvania Avenue, in the time of, 40, 299.
    Pew of, in Christ Church, 188.
    Secretary of State, 266.
    Streets in, for naming, plan of, 20.
    Suggests that L’Enfant study plans of Old World capitals, 24.
    Trees, to preserve, desire of, 143.
    Washington in days of, 37.

  Jennewein, C. Paul, sculptor, 139.

  John Marshall Place, 193.

  Johnson, President Andrew, 57.

  Johnston, Harriet Lane, 157.

  Jones Point, cornerstone of the District of Columbia at, 19.

  Jones, Thomas Hudson, sculptor, 315.

  Justice, Department of, Building, 284.

  Key, Francis Scott, Mansion, 42, 182.

  Keyes, Senator Henry W., 299.

  King Map, 33.

  Klingle Ford Bridge, 284.

  Labor Department Building, 279.

  Lafayette, General:
    Entertained at--
      Arlington, 182.
      Tudor Place, 187.
    Mount Vernon, visits, 123, 126.
    Statue of, 325.
    Washington, visits, 45.

  Lafayette Park, 147, 153.

  Land Office Building, old, 196.

  Landscape Architects, American Society of, 82.

  Latrobe, Benjamin H., Architect of the Capitol, 40, 167, 219, 304,

  Lawrie, Lee, sculptor, 276.

  Lear, Tobias, burial place of, 190.

  Legations, Embassies and, 289.

  L’Enfant, Pierre Charles:
    Accompanies President Washington and Commissioners to view site for
    Federal City, 20.
    Biography of, 23.
    Designs Fort Washington, 151.
    Plan of--
      Apparently forgotten, 49, 145.
      Basis of Plan of 1901, 83, 89.
      Description of, 25, 32, 93, 146.
      Influence on parks and highways, 108, 145, 147.
      Methods and features of, 25.
      Preserved in Library of Congress, 29.
      Tomb of, in Arlington, 313.

  Library of Congress, 245, 296.

  Lincoln Memorial, the:
    Description of, 131.
    Decorations in, 133.
    On main axis with Capitol and Washington Monument, 91.
    Statue of Abraham Lincoln, in, 133.

  Lincoln Memorial and surrounding area, 135.

  Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Basin, 135.

  Lincoln Museum, 215.

  Lincoln, President Abraham:
    Assassination of, 215.
    Fort Stevens, under fire at, 57.
    Funeral of, 57.
    Washington in the time of, 53, 147.

  Little Falls of the Potomac, 45.

  Logan, Gen. John A., 313.

  Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, statue of, 326.

  Luce, Robert, Congressman, 163.

  Lynn, David, Architect of the Capitol, 301, 304.

  McCall, Congressman Samuel W., 95.

  McClellan, Gen. George B., 176.

  McKim, Mead & White, architects, 137, 284, 333.

  McKim, Charles F., architect, 77, 80, 81, 91.

  McKinley, President William, 177.

  McMillan, Senator James, 77, 146, 304.

  McMillan Park Commission:
    Members of, 77.
    Plans of--
      Discussed, 28, 73, 83, 105, 146.
      Important feature of, 301.
      Influence on parks, 150.
      Mall developed, according to, 109.

  McNary, Senator Charles L., 163.

  Madison, Mrs. Dolly, 43, 175, 203, 263.

  Madison, Dolly, House, 153, 175.

  Madison, President James, 43, 173, 175, 188, 201.

  Maginnis & Walsh, architects, 288.

  Mall, the:
    Development of, 87, 145, 296.
    Extension of, 91, 155.
    Head of, 87.
    Restoring axis of, 89.

  Marshall, John:
    George Washington, monument to, author of resolution for erecting a,
    Chief Justice, President Washington Monument Society, 201.
    Secretary of State, 266.
    Statue of Washington, comment on, 319.

  Maryland Legislature, offer of, 2.

  Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, 108.

  Mayors of Washington, 305.

  Meade, Gen. George G.:
    Grand Review in 1865, participates in, 57.
    Memorial to, 87, 150.

  Meigs, Gen. Montgomery C., 215, 224, 311.

  Mellon, Andrew, W., 256, 301.

  Meridian Hill Park, 157.

  Merriam, John C., 163.

  Metropolitan Museum in New York, 65.

  Mills, Clark, sculptor, 224, 321.

  Mills, Robert, architect, 196, 197, 201, 272.

  Mint, the, Bureau of, 273.

  Monroe, President James, Washington in time of, 45, 101, 188.

  Moore, Charles, former chairman, National Commission of Fine Arts, 82.

  Morris, Robert, 35, 271.

  Morse, S. F. B., first telegraph office of, 196.

  Mount Pleasant, 57.

  Mount Vernon, 121.

  Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, 108, 117, 296.

  Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union, 126.

  Mullett, A. B., architect, 268, 284.

  Municipal Center, the, 296.

  Municipal Fish Wharf, 113.

  Murphy, Frederick V., architect, 288.

  National Academy of Sciences, 276.

  National Capital, the, development of, 13, 105.

  National Capital Park and Planning Commission, 51, 69, 99, 102, 105,
  150, 306.

  National Cathedral School, 288.

  National churches in Washington, 289.

  National Commission of Fine Arts, 95, 99, 102, 105, 150, 161, 296,

  National Conference on City Planning, 82.

  National Gallery of Art, 89, 256, 284.

  National Geographic Society, 277.

  National Museum, 89, 256, 284.

  National Park Service, 127, 143, 218.

  National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 288.

  National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 275.

  Naval Academy, 319.

  Naval Hospital, 284, 296.

  Naval Observatory, 284.

  Navy Department Building, 296.

  Noyes, Mrs. Frank B., 163.

  Octagon House, 81, 173.

  Oldroyd Collection of Lincolniana, 215.

  Olmsted, Frederick Law, jr., landscape architect, 82, 87, 163.

  Page, William Tyler, 209.

  Palisades of the Potomac, 93.

  Pan American Union, 276.

  Park system of the National Capital, 143, 306.

  Partridge, William T., study of L’Enfant plan by, 25.

  Patent Office, 42, 48, 197.

  Peaslee, Horace W., architect, 333, 343.

  Pennsylvania Avenue, 37, 145, 299.

  Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 84.

  Pension Office Building, old, 284.

  Perry, Hinton R., sculptor, 284.

  Piccirilli Brothers, marble cutters, 133.

  Platt, Charles A., architect, 284.

  Polk, President James K., 51.

  Pope, John Russell, architect, 257, 275, 277, 284.

  Porter, Commodore, owner of Meridian Hill Park site, 159.

  Post Office Department Building, 48, 284.

  Potomac Parks, 131, 155.

  Presidents of the United States, list of, 355.

  Proctor, A. Phimister, sculptor, 284.

  Public Buildings Act of 1926, 296, 299, 301.

  Public Buildings Commission, 293, 301.

  Public Buildings Program, 293.

  Public Health Service Building, 276.

  Public Library, 284.

  Pulaski, Gen. Casimir, statue of, 331.

  Putnam, Herbert, Librarian of Congress, 252.

  Q Street Bridge, 284.

  Quotations from great Americans on the National Capital, 357.

  Railroad into the District, first, 48.

  Rankin, Kellogg & Crane, architects, 284.

  Red Cross, American National, 275.

  Renwick, James, architect, 256, 284.

  Rhind, J. Massey, sculptor, 331.

  Rich, Lorimer, architect, 315.

  Rinehart, William H., sculptor, 226, 228.

  Riverside Drive, 93, 142.

  Rock Creek Cemetery, 187, 325.

  Rock Creek Church, 187.

  Rock Creek Park, 148, 159.

  Rock Creek Parkway, 93, 148.

  Rockefeller, John D., 129.

  Rodgers House, 177.

  Rogers, Randolph, 224.

  Roosevelt, President Theodore, 89, 91, 179, 279.

  Root, Elihu, 91, 95, 98.

  Ross, Albert R., architect, 333.

  Rust, Mrs. Harry Lee, 129.

  Saint-Gaudens, Augustus, 77, 81, 91, 325.

  Scottish Rite Temple, 277.

  Senate and House of Representatives Office Buildings, 235.

  Seven Buildings, the, 266.

  Shaw Lily Gardens, 161.

  Shepherd, Alexander R.:
    District of Columbia, Governor of, 61.
    Statue of, 326.

  Sherman, Hon. John, 203, 209.

  Shipstead-Luce Act, 95, 102.

  Shrady, Henry Merwin, sculptor, 343.

  Simon, Louis, architect, 284.

  Six Buildings, the, 39, 266.

  Smith, Capt. John, 9, 13.

  Smithsonian Institution, 256, 284.

  Social Security Building, 296.

  Société des Femmes de France à New York, 159, 339.

  Soldiers’ Home, 211.

  Sousa Bridge, John Philip, 284.

  St. John’s Church, 153, 190, 192.

  Standards, Bureau of, 284.

  Star, Evening, 51, 299.

  Star-Spangled Banner, national anthem:
    Act of Congress designating, 185.
    Original, in National Museum, 185.

  State, Department of, 81, 265.

  State, War, and Navy Building, 61, 81, 268, 284.

  State Zoning Enabling Act, 101.

  Statues and Monuments in Washington, list of, 347.

  Street cars, Introduction in Washington of, 57.

  Sultan, Brig. Gen. Dan. I., 284.

  Supreme Court Chamber, 304.

  Supreme Court Building Commission, 304.

  Surveyor’s Office, District of Columbia, 33, 69.

  Suter’s Tavern, 19.

  Taft, President William Howard, 91, 263, 279, 331.

  Taft, Mrs. William Howard, 157.

  Taft, William Howard, Bridge, 159, 284.

  Thomas, Havard, sculptor, 343.

  Thornton, Dr. William, 42, 173, 185, 190, 197, 219.

  Tiber Creek, 37.

  Tobacco barn, old (original Christ Church), 188.

  Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 296, 315.

  Town House site, 32.

  Treasury, Department of the, 48, 267, 271.

  Trees of Washington, 63, 111.

  Triangle development, 301.

  Trinity College, 279.

  Tripoli Column, 319.

  Trowbridge, Alexander B., 252.

  Trowbridge & Livingston, architects, 275.

  Tudor Place, 182, 185.

  Union Army, the, Grand Review of, 57.

  Union Square, 87.

  Union Station, 84, 235-241.

  Union Station, Plaza of, 103, 301.

  United States Botanic Garden, 296.

  United States Engineer Office, 113.

  United States Naval Academy, 319.

  United States Supreme Court Building, 296, 301.

  Unknown Soldier, the:
    Burial of, 135.
    Tomb of, 142, 296, 315.

  Van Ness Mansion, 177, 276.

  Vedder, Elihu, painter, 245.

    Offer of Legislature of, 6.
    Part of District of Columbia receded to, 51.

  Wakefield National Memorial Association, 127, 129.

  Wakefield, Va.:
    Ancestors of Washington settle at, 10.
    Birthplace of George Washington, 127.

  Walter Reed General Hospital, 284, 296.

  Walter, Thomas U., 86, 219, 224, 268.

  War Department Building, 296.

  Ward, John Quincy Adams, sculptor, 5.

  Warden, David Baillie, 41.

    Early, 35.
    1810-1815, 41.
    1816-1839, 45.
    1840-1859, 49.
    1860-1870, 53.
    Improvements made in, during administration of President Grant, 61.
    Metropolitan area of, 105.

  Washington, Col. John, 10.

  Washington, Judge Bushrod, 126.

  Washington, President George:
    Appoints Commissioners of the District of Columbia, 13.
    Arrives at Suter’s Tavern, Georgetown, 19.
    Birthplace of, 127.
    Capitol, cornerstone of, lays, 219, 228.
    Confers with Commissioners of the District of Columbia, 20.
    Federal City, site for, authorized to select, 7, 8.
    Home of, 121.
    Inauguration of, 5.
    L’Enfant, high regard of, for, 24.
    Potomac Canal, constructs, 4, 151.
    Statues of, 5, 319, 321.
    Trowel used at laying of cornerstone of Capitol by, 117, 118.

  Washington Aqueduct, 57.

  Washington Cathedral, 284.

  Washington Channel and water front, 113.

  Washington City Post Office, 241.

  Washington Meridian, 159.

  Washington Monument, the:
    Detailed description of, 197.
    Laying cornerstone of, 49, 202.

  Washington National Airport, 117.

  Washington National Monument Society, 199, 209.

  Webster-Ashburton treaty, tablet commemorating, 268.

  Webster, Daniel:
    Capitol extension, orator at laying of cornerstone of, 9, 219.
    Describes General Jackson, 135.
    Residence of, 179.

  White House, the:
    Early description of, 41, 171, 173.
    Later description of, 261.

  Weinman, A. A., sculptor, 277, 303.

  White, Stanford, architect, 325.

  Wilson, James, Secretary of Agriculture, 161.

  Wilson, President Woodrow, 243, 288.

  Winter, Ezra, painter, 276.

  Winthrop, Robert C., 202, 209.

  Witherspoon, John, statue of, 326.

  Wood, Waddy B., architect, 276.

  World’s Columbian Exposition, 65.

  World War, influence on Washington, 101, 293.

  World War Memorials in Europe, 99.

  Wyeth, Nathan C., architect, 284.

  Wyeth & Sullivan, architects, 235.

  York & Sawyer, architects, 279.

  Zantzinger, Borie & Medary, architects, 284.

  Zero Milestone, 333.

  Zoning of the Capital, 101, 108.

  Zoning Commission, 103

  Zoological Park, National, 159, 256, 257, 284.


Page 14:

  Previous to its Survey by Major L’ENFANT.
  Compiled from the rare historical researches
  who by special favor has permitted the use of his labor and materials
  for the publication of a grand historical map of this District

  _This sketch establishes the exact location
  of Hamburgh and Carrollsburg and
  approximated metes and bounds
  of every estate then embraced
  within the precincts granted
  by the President.
  In addition thereto the subsequent
  avenues as well as several
  other early improvements,_

Page 17:


Page 21:

  this seventeenth day of October, seventeen hundred and ninety-one,
  for regulating the Materials and Manner of the Buildings and
  Improvements on the LOTS in the CITY of WASHINGTON.

  1st. That the outer and party-walls of all houses within the said
  City shall be built of brick or stone.

  2d. That all buildings on the streets shall be parallel thereto, and
  may be advanced to the line |of th|e street, or withdrawn therefrom,
  at the plea|sure| of the improver: But where any such build|ing is|
  about to be erected, neither the foundation or party-wall shall be
  begun without first applying to the person or persons appointed by
  the Commissioners to superintend the buildings within the city,
  who will ascertain the lines of the walls to correspond with these

  3d. The wall of no house to be higher than forty feet to the roof in
  any part of the city; nor shall any be lower than thirty-five feet on
  any of the avenues.

  4th. That the Person or persons appointed by the Commissioners to
  superintend the buildings may enter on the land of any person to set
  out the foundation and regulate the walls to be built between party
  and party, as to the breadth and thickness thereof. Which foundation
  shall be laid equally upon the lands of the persons between whom
  such party-walls are to be built, and shall be of the breadth and
  thickness determined by such person proper; and the first builder
  shall be reimbursed one moiety of the charge of such party-wall,
  or so much thereof as the next builder shall have occasion to make
  use of, before such |n|ext builder shall any ways use or break into
  the wall--The charge or value thereof to be set by |t|he person or
  persons so appointed by the Commissioners.

  5th. As temporary conveniencies will be proper for lodging workmen
  and securing materials for building, it is to be understood that
  such may be erected with the approbation of the Commissioners: But
  they may be removed or discontinued by the special order of the

  6th. The way into the squares being designed |in| a special manner
  for the common use and convenience of the occupiers of the respective
  squares--The property in the same is reserved to the public, so
  that there may be an immediate interference on any abuse of the use
  thereof by any individual, to the nuisance or obstruction of others.
  The proprietors of the Lots adjoining the entrance into the squares,
  on arching over the entrance, and fixing gates in the manner the
  Commissioners shall approve, shall be intitled to divide the space
  over the arching and build it up with the range of that line of the

  7th. No vaults shall be permitted under the streets, nor any
  encroachments on the foot way above by steps, stoops, porches, cellar
  doors, windows, ditches or leaning walls; nor shall there be any
  projection over the street, other than the eves of the house, without
  the consent of the Commissioners.

  8th. These regulations are the terms and conditions under and upon
  which conveyances are to be made, according to the deeds in trust of
  the lands within the city.

  George Washington.

  TERMS of SALE of LOTS in the CITY of WASHINGTON, the Eighth Day of
  _October_, 1792.

  All Lands purchased at this Sale, are to be subject to the Terms and
  Conditions declared by the President, pursuant to the Deeds in Trust.

  The purchaser is immediately to pay one fourth part of the purchase
  money; the residue is to be paid in three equal annual payments,
  with yearly interest of six per cent. on the whole principal
  unpaid: If any payment is not made at the day, the payments made
  are to be forfeited, or the whole principal and interest unpaid
  may be recovered on one suit and execution in the option of the

  The purchaser is to be entitled to a conveyance, on the whole
  purchase money and interest being paid, and not before. No bid under
  Three Dollars to be received.

Page 27:

  of the City intended for the
  Permanent SEAT of the
  Government of the UNITED STATES
  Projected agreeable to the direction
  in pursuance of an ACT of CONGRESS posted the
  sixteenth day of July, MDCCXC,
  “establishing the Permanent Seat
  on the bank of the Potowmac”
  By Peter Charles L’Enfant.

  OBSERVATIONS explanatory of the PLAN.

  I. The positions for the different Grand Edifices and for the several
  Grand Squares or Areas of different shapes as they are laid down were
  first determined on the most advantageous ground commanding the most
  extensive prospects, and the better susceptible of such improvements
  as the various intents of the several objects may require.

  II. Lines or Avenues of direct communication have been devised as
  connect the separate and most distinct objects with the principal,
  and to preserve through the whole a reciprocity of sight at the same
  time. Attention has been paid to the passing of those leading Avenues
  over the most favorable ground for prospect and convenience.

  III. North and South lines, intersected by others running due East
  and West, make the distribution of the City into Streets, Squares,
  etc., and those lines have been so combined as to meet at certain
  given points with those divergent Avenues so as to form on the spaces
  “first determined” the different Squares or Areas, which are all
  proportional in Magnitude to the number of Avenues leading to them.

  _Breadth of the Streets._

  Every grand transverse Avenue and every principal divergent one,
  such as the communication from the President’s house to the Congress
  house, etc., are 160 feat in breadth and thus divided:

    10 feet of pavement on each side                          20 Feet
    30 feet of gravel walk planted with trees on each side    60
    80 feet in the middle for carriage way                    80
                                                             --- 160
  The other streets are of the following dimensions, viz.:
    Those leading to public buildings or markets             130 Feet
    Others                                                   110-90

  In order to execute the above plan, Mr. Ellicott drew a true
  Meridional line by celestial observation which passes through the
  Area intended for the Congress house; this line he crossed by another
  due East and West, which passes through the same Area. These lines
  were accurately measured and made the bases on which the whole plan
  was executed. He ran all the lines by a Transit Instrument and
  determined the Acute Angles by actual measurement, and left nothing
  to the uncertainty of the Compass.


  A. The equestrian figure of George Washington, a Monument voted in
  1783 by the late Continental Congress.

  B. An historic Column, also intended for a Mile or itinerary Column,
  from whose station (a mile from the Federal house), all distances of
  places through the Continent are to be calculated.

  C. A Naval itinerary Column proposed to be erected to celebrate the
  first rise of a Navy and to stand a ready Monument to consecrate its
  progress and Achievements.

  D. This Church is intended for National purposes, such as public
  prayer, thanksgivings, funeral Orations, etc., and assigned to the
  special use of no particular Sect or denomination, but equally open
  to all. It will be likewise a proper shelter for such monuments as
  were voted by the late Continental Congress for those heroes who
  fell in the cause of liberty and for such others as may hereafter be
  decreed by the voice of a grateful Nation.

  E. Five grand fountains intended with a constant spout of water. N.
  B. There are within the limits of the City about 25 good springs of
  excellent water abundantly supplied in the driest season of the year.

  The Squares coloured yellow, being fifteen in number, are proposed to
  be divided among the several States in the Union for each of them to
  improve, or subscribe a sum additional to the value of the land for
  that purpose, and the improvements round the Squares to be completed
  in a limited time.

  The center of each Square will admit of Statues, Columns, obelisks,
  or any other ornaments, such as the different States may choose to
  erect, to perpetuate not only the memory of such individuals whose
  Counsels or military achievements were conspicuous in giving liberty
  and independence to this Country, but also those whose usefulness
  hath rendered them worthy of general imitation; to invite the youth
  of succeeding generations to tread in the paths of those Sages or
  heroes whom their Country has thought proper to celebrate.

  The situation of these Squares is such that they are the most
  advantageously and reciprocally seen from each other, and as equally
  distributed over the whole City district, and connected by spacious
  Avenues round the grand Federal improvements, and as contiguous to
  them, and at the same time as equally distant from each other, as
  circumstances would admit. The settlements round those Squares must
  soon become connected.

  This mode of taking possession of, and improving the whole District
  at first must leave to posterity a grand idea of the patriotic
  interest which promoted it.

  Those figures coloured red, are intended for use of all religious
  denominations, on which they are to erect places of worship, and
  are proposed to be allotted to them in the manner as those coloured
  yellow to the different States in the Union; but no burying grounds
  will be admitted within the limits of the City, an appropriation
  being intended for that purpose without. N. B. Then a number of
  Squares or Areas unappropriated, and in situations proper for
  Colleges and Academies, and of which every Society whose object is
  national may be accommodated. Every house within the City will stand
  square on the Streets, and every lot. even those on the divergent
  Avenues, will run Square with their fronts, which on the most acute
  angle will not measure less than 56 feet and many will be above 110

  Pine Creek, whose water, if necessary, may supply the City, being
  turned into James White’s branch.

  Perpendicular height of the    }  F.  I. Pts.
    source of Tiber Creek,       } 236   7 ⁵⁄₈
    above the level of the       }
    tide in said Creek.          }

  Perpendicular height of James White’s Spring, being part of Tiber
  Creek, above the level of the tide in said Creek.

  This branch of the Tiber, is intended to be conveyed to the
  President’s house.

  The water of this Creek is intended to be conveyed on the high
  ground, where the Congress house stands, and after watering that
  part of the city, its overplus will fall from under the base of that
  Edifice, and in a Cascade of 20 feet in height, and 50 in breadth
  into the reservoir below; thence to run in three fills through the
  Garden into the grand Canal.

  The perpendicular height of the ground where the Congress house
  stands, is above the tide of Tiber Creek, 78 feet.

                           °  ′
  Lat. Congress House,    38.53.N.
  Long.                   _0′. 0′._


  F. Grand Cascade, formed of the Water from the sources of the Tiber.

  G. Public walk, being a square of 1,200 feet, through which carriages
  may ascend to the upper Square of the Federal house.

  H. Grand Avenue, 400 feet in breadth, and about a mile in length,
  bordered with gardens, ending in a slope from the houses on each
  side. This avenue leads to the Monument A, and connects the Congress
  Garden with the

  I. President’s park, and the

  K. Well improved field, being a part of the walk from the President’s
  house, of about 1,800 feet in breadth, and ³⁄₄ of a mile in length.
  Every lot, deep coloured red, with green plots, designates some of
  the situations which command the most agreeable prospects, and which
  are the best calculated for spacious houses and gardens, such as may
  accommodate foreign Ministers, etc.

  L. Around this Square, and all along the

  M. Avenue from the two bridges to the Federal house, the pavement on
  each side will pass under an Arched way, under whose cover Shops will
  be most conveniently and agreeably situated. This street is 160 feet
  in breadth, and a mile long.

Page 31:

                   °  ′
  Lat. Capitol    38:53, N
  Long             0: 0.

  explanatory of the

  I. The positions for the different Edifices and for the several
  Squares or Areas of different shapes, as they are laid down, were
  first determined on the most advantageous ground, commanding the most
  extensive prospects, and the better susceptible of such improvements,
  as either use or ornament may hereafter call for.

  II. Lines or Avenues of direct communication have been devised to
  connect the separate and most distant objects with the principal,
  and to preserve through the whole a reciprocity of sight at the same
  time. Attention has been paid to the passing of those leading Avenues
  over the most favorable ground for prospect and convenience.

  III. North and South lines intersected by others running due East and
  West, make the distribution of the City into Streets, Squares, &c.;
  and those lines have been so combined as to meet at certain given
  points with those divergent Avenues, so as to form on the Spaces
  “first determined,” the different Squares or Areas.

  Perpendicular height of the source of    } F. I. Pts.
    Tiber Creek above the level of the     } 236.7.⁵⁄₈
    tide in said Creek                     }

  This branch and that of the Tiber may be conveyed to the President’s

  The water of this Creek may be conveyed on the high ground where the
  Capitol stands, and after watering that part of the City, may be
  destined to other useful purposes.

  The perpendicular height of the ground where the Capitol is to stand,
  is above the tide of Tiber Creek 78 Feet.

  Perpendicular height of the West    } F. I. Pts.
    branch above the tide in          } 115.7.²⁄₈
    Tiber Creek                       }

  of the CITY of
  in the Territory of Columbia,
  _ceded by the States of_
  _to the_
  United States _OF_ America,
  _and by them established as the
  after the Year_

Breadth of the Streets.

  The grand Avenues, and such Streets as lead immediately to public
  places are from 130 to 160 feet wide, and may be conveniently divided
  into foot ways, walks of trees, and a carriage way. The other streets
  are from 90 to 110 feet wide.

  In order to execute this plan, Mr. Ellicott drew a true Meridional
  line by celestial observation, which passes through the Area intended
  for the Capitol; this line he crossed by another due East and West
  which passes through the same Area. These lines were accurately
  measured, and made the basis on which the whole plan was executed. He
  ran all the lines by a Transit Instrument, and determined the Acute
  Angles by actual measurement, and left nothing to the uncertainty of
  the Compass.

Page 81:



Page 100:


Page 104:




Page 110:

  - INDEX -


Page 114:


Page 149:


Page 158:







Page 171:

  Basement Plan

  Transcriber’s Notes

  Inconsistencies and (factual or linguistic) errors in the text have
  been retained, except as mentioned under Changes below. Carrere and
  Carrére have not been changed to Carrère (the more common spelling).
  Missing or wrong accents in French words have not been corrected.
  Several proper and geographic names are spelled either in their
  original or in anglicised spelling (or both) or in variations
  thereof; these have not been standardised. The differences (in
  wording and structure) between the Table of Contents, List of
  Illustrations and the chapter and section titles and illustration
  captions in the text have not been corrected either.

  Depending on the hard- and software used to read this text and their
  settings, not all elements may display as intended.

  The quality of several of the maps and charts was insufficient to
  display them fully legible and with all details visible, or to
  transcribe the text in the chart or map.

  Page 14, note in lower left corner of map: the note in the source
  document ends (unexpectedly) in ... several other early improvements,

  Page 27, 31: The (minor) differences between the texts in the charts
  and those in the transcriptions as printed in the source document
  have not been rectified.

  Page 146, quote from L’Enfant, and Page 27 (transcription from
  chart): the minor differences between the quoted text and the map
  have not been rectified.

  Page 201, By a resolution adopted February 29, 1847 ...: 1847 was not
  a leap year.

  Changes made

  Illustrations have been moved outside text paragraphs.

  Some obvious minor typographical, spelling and punctuation errors
  have been corrected silently.

  Where relevant and possible notes, explanatory texts, legends,
  etc. from illustrations have been transcribed separately; these
  transcriptions may be found towards the end of the text. In these
  transcriptions, most of the (sometimes elaborate) formatting has been

  Page 42: It was erected by Mr. Blodget ... changed to It was erected
  by Mr. Blodgett....

  Page 252: Alexander B. Trowridge changed to Alexander B. Trowbridge.

  Page 284: Ackermann & Ross, architects changed to Ackerman & Ross,
  architects; A. B. Mullet, supervising architect changed to A. B.
  Mullett, supervising architect.

  Page 325: ... for the statute and pedestal ... changed to ... for the
  statue and pedestal ....

  Page 349: Antion Popiel, sculptor changed to Antoni Popiel, sculptor

  Index: some names have been standardised with the spelling used in
  the text.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A manual on the origin and development of Washington" ***