Adams & Jefferson, July 4, 1826

July 18, 2013

It seems nearly impossible to suppose that two of the Founding Fathers and ex-presidents could have both died on the Fourth of July, exactly 50 years after their signing of the Declaration of Independence. But, that’s just what happened. John …

The Origins of DC’s Landscape

June 18, 2013

Washington had a lot of lucky breaks in its early history. First of all, the blueprint for the city was drawn up by a genius with dreams of glory for the capital city of a brand new country. Trained at …

The Willard: Birthplace of ‘Battle Hymn’


While historians generally believe the term “lobbyist” came from England circa 1800, it is part of our local lore that the term originated in the lobby of the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington. It seems that President U.S. Grant liked …

Under the French Influence of Jules de Sibour


In the 6th arrondissement in Paris, where the rue des Beaux-Arts meets rue Bonaparte, stands a venerable building which was more influential on architecture in Washington than any other institution, present or past. The Ecole des Beaux-Arts was the training …

The Iconic Obelisk


The Washington Monument is the single most recognized icon in our cityscape, yet its creation had a turbulent beginning, middle and end. And it’s not over, as the federal government has just committed over $7 million to repair the cracks …

At 100, the Cherry Trees: Enduring and Fragile Sign of Spring


This spring marks the 100-year anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to beautify the Tidal basin and National Mall. This was one of the better years of perfect weather for the blossoms, though they came too early for most. …

Riding through Washington


Captured in bronze, forever surveying the field of action and gearing up for battle, the Civil War generals are with still us. They are, of course, all Union generals. The brilliant Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are not …

Reading Lincoln


Like the cathedrals of Europe, many of our monuments in Washington are rich with symbolism, and can be “read,” especially the great favorite of both residents and tourists, the Lincoln Memorial. This majestic monument took nearly 50 years from its …

One Hero’s Sad Fate


Unfortunately, we live in an era where heroes are suspect. Larger-than-life figures like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln have been deconstructed and put in their place by professors and writers, and it doesn’t look like this trend will be over …

Alice Blue Gown


Lucky the girl who has a best-selling song named after her! In this case, the girl was one of the most talked about people of her era, who remained the talk of this town for over seven decades.

“Alice Blue …