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1790s

Monument ("Washington Monument"), Washington, D.C. Rendered perspective

Washington Monument Could Have Looked Like This

We posted some great old alternative designs for the Lincoln Memorial a while back and they were quite popular. Well, we dug up one for the Washington Monument which you’ll surely enjoy. This one is dated...
1906 map showing the original boundary milestones of the District of Columbia

1906 Map of All D.C. Boundary Stones

Working under commissioners that President Washington had appointed in 1790 in accordance with the Residence Act, Major Andrew Ellicott led a team that placed these markers in 1791 and 1792.
Plan of the city intended for the permanent seat of the government of t[he] United States : projected agreeable to the direction of the President of the United States, in pursuance of an act of Congress, passed on the sixteenth day of July, MDCCXC, "establishing the permanent seat on the bank of the Potowmac"

Full-Color 1791 Manuscript Plan for Washington

Here is a terrific old map of the plan for the federal city. Source: Library of Congress
Cadastral survey map of Charles Carroll Jr.'s land in central Washington D.C. in 1793

1793 Map of Carroll Family Land in Washington

This is a really old map of the Carroll family plot in Washington in 1793. Source: Library of Congress

1795 Map of the Territory of Columbia

Here’s a map that we haven’t come across before. This shows the Territory of Columbia and the City of Washington surrounded by Maryland in 1795. Click on it for a much larger version. Source: University of...

Map of Original Land Owners in Washington City

The map was done in 1874 and represents Washington as it would have looked before 1792.
Centreville during the Civil War

Why Is It Named Centreville?

The town of Centreville was established in 1792, near the intersection of present day Lee Highway and Sully Road. At the time, it was a village named Newgate.
early map of Washington

Early Map of Washington and the Patawmack

That’s right, the Patawmack River, not the Potomac. Check out this cool map of what would become the City of Washington. It was done around 1893, near the city’s centennial. Source: Library of Congress
Message of President John Adams nominating George Washington to be Lieutenant General and Commander in Chief of the Armies raised or to be raised in the United States

Letter From President Adams Nominating George Washington

Check this out. What a fascinating old letter we found in the National Archives. This was penned by President John Adams on July 2nd, 1798, nominating George Washington of Mount Vernon to Lieutenant General and Commander...

What is the District of Columbia? What Does D.C. Stand For?

What does DC stand for in Washington, DC? Wondered why it's called the District of Columbia? What is the District of Columbia?
1795 Plan of the City of Washington

Awesome: Plan of the City of Washington (1795)

Another amazing map, courtesy of David Rumsey. The map is based on the first official plan of the city, published by Andrew Ellicott in 1792. Source: David Rumsey map collection.
View of the suburbs of the city of Washington

1790s Views of Washington

These are some great prints of Washington as it looked in the mid-1790s. They were done by George Isham Parkyns and they show a slightly different and more pastoral landscape. Here is the print of the Potomac...
The Jefferson Pier

Why Is It Named Meridian Hill?

This is a great bit of Washington trivia for everyone to commit to memory … especially if you live anywhere along 16th St. NW. Pierre L’Enfant had originally planned the City of Washington around a right...
1791 L'Enfant Plan of the new city

Why Is There No J Street in DC?

In the English alphabet, the letter J looked too much like the letter I. The alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, and there is no letter J in Latin.
David Burnes' cottage in 1894 prior to razing (PGCist on Flickr)

Washington is Composed of Land from 19 Original Owners

19 original landowners were negotiated with, directly by George Washington in March, 1791. He met them during the day and in the evening, closed the deal with them at Suter's Tavern in Georgetown.
President's Palace design by John Collins

Who Almost Designed the White House?

Way back in the day, the building we now know as the White House was called the “President’s Palace”, “President’s Mansion”, or the “President’s House.” The nomenclature evolved over time, with the accepted name for 1600...

Video Visualizing Early Washington, D.C.

If you’re a serious D.C. history nerd, you’ll find this just as fascinating as I do. It was produced by UMBC’s Imaging Research Center (IRC) about a year ago. The voiceover is a little dry, but...