Posts in category D.C. History Hits

What If? Washington: A Castle-less Capital City

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Imagine. What if the Smithsonian Castle had burned all the way to the ground when flames surrounded the building in 1865? One of the most distinctive – and wonderfully odd, really, with its mismatched turrets and cloister-influenced nooks and crannies – and immediately recognizable buildings in all of Washington might have ceased to exist. What if James Smithson’s papers hadn’t […]

Meet Pauline Wayne, President Taft’s Cow

Meet Pauline Wayne, President Taft’s Cow

When it comes to White House animals, Presidential pets are the most well-known. Andrew Jackson had Polly, an infamous swearing parrot, James Buchanan had an elephant at the White House (a gift from the King of Siam), and Teddy Roosevelt and his children had a small menagerie of nearly thirty pets during their time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. […]

So Where Did D.C. Get Its Street Names?

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Most of Washington’s streets are named with the well-known alpha-numeric system with diagonal avenues named for states. But what about the street names outside the alphabetic grid? Where did they get their names? The Historical Society answers your question in the Washington City Paper‘s Answer Issue. Learn about D.C.’s street names and other often-asked questions about […]

Hand Over Washington History

The statue currently outside the Carnegie Library was commissioned for the Poor People's Campaign in 1968. Find out more about the campaign in the current issue of Washington History!

Have you ever walked by the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square and wondered about the massive hand sculpture that sits just outside the building? Artist Jim Fauntleroy was paid $1,800 to create the piece in 1968; according to a Washington Post interview conducted the same year, he “started with the fingers and it was kind […]

On This Day: Columbia Heights on October 3, 1949

Image of 16 and Harvard Street NW from 1949

Columbia Heights was a very different place 65 years ago, but the view of the National Baptist Memorial Church near 16th and Harvard Streets NW hasn’t changed all that much. Love the 1940s buses streetcars and taxicab!

Return of the D.C. History Minute

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The Historical Society produced a series of 60-second features in 2008 titled “D.C. History Minute.” Originally an audio-only presentation,  these fantastic resources on the D.C. area’s people and places are currently being updated, enhanced with new images, and being re-released on the Historical Society’s YouTube channel. In the first of these revamped segments, historian C.R. […]

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