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Tag: 1790s

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View of Washington from Georgetown in 1801

A Foreigner’s Impressions of Washington in 1799

What did the new capital look like in 1799? This is an account John Davis, an Englishman who spent four years in the late 18th century traveling up and down the east coast of the new country.

Why Is It Named Meridian Hill?

Pierre L'Enfant had originally planned the City of Washington around a right triangle, with the eastern portion at the Capitol, the northern portion at the White House and the 90 degree angle close to where the Washington Monument sits today. Thomas Jefferson marked this spot in 1793 with a wooden post, which was replaced in 1804 with the Jefferson Pier.

1906 map showing the original boundary milestones of the District of Columbia

Map of All D.C. Boundary Stones From 1906

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.

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 Pittsburgh Darlington Digital Library

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 in Chief of All the Armies. Source: U.S. National Archives

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 and I’m guessing that island is Roosevelt Island.

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 Pennsylvania Avenue becoming the “Executive Mansion.” It wasn’t until Teddy Roosevelt‘s presidency that the building would be officially referred […]

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 follow along and watch the whole thing. It’s very interesting. Here’s a cool screenshot of the final scene, imagining […]

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