1800s

Why Is It Named Woodley Park?

The namesake in England no longer stands as it was torn down in 1962, but the one in Woodley Park is still there. In 1950 it became the property of the Maret School and currently serves...
Image shows a black-and-white engraving published in 1834 to portray Washington, D.C. and the west front of the U.S. Capitol grounds as they were in 1800. Includes the west end of the west grounds and Pennsylvania Avenue, with poplar trees planted in 1803.

Great First-Hand Description of Washington in 1800; Most Houses, Small Miserable Huts

We often wonder what the city was like in the early days. By all accounts, it was a miserable place to be. We dug up an interesting article in The Baltimore Sun from December 17th, 1853, which...
Historic Train station in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Why Is It Named Gaithersburg?

For this edition of “Why Is It Named…?” we will head out to the Maryland suburbs of Gaithersburg. Do you know the town’s origin? We certainly didn’t, until a little sleuthing (and Wikipedia-ing) uncovered the story....
Ballston pedestrian bridge (Wikipedia)

Why Is It Named Ballston?

Ball's Crossroads was established as a village in Arlington County in 1874, and in 1895, the official name was changed to Ballston.

1800 Plan of Washington and Capitol Hill Lots

This map is a little difficult to see, but it’s a great old plan of Washington on Capitol Hill. The streets are laid out and the lots and marked. (To orient yourself, up on the map...
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...
John Adams nominates John Marshall to become Chief Justice - January 20th, 1801

Gentlemen of the Senate … John Adams Nominates John Marshall to be Chief Justice

We love these. Amazing letters saved by the National Archives. This one is from President John Adams — who just lost the election and was out of office in about 10 weeks — nominating John Marshall...
Georgetown view in 1801

John Adams Makes Washington, D.C. Official Capital

Why is Washington, DC the capital? John Adams rode from Philadelphia to DC over an entire week. Read the story of his full journey.
Robert Brent

Who Was the First Mayor of Washington?

Who was the first mayor of Washington? It wasn't Walter Washington or Marion Barry. Have you hear of Robert Brent? He was Thomas Jefferson's friend.
Arlington House (Library of Congress)

Why Is It Named Arlington?

Arlington is the epicenter of recent college graduates working as paralegals, consultants or in information technology. They fill the high-rise apartments or group homes lining Wilson Blvd., Fairfax Dr. and the Orange Line from Rosslyn out...

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...
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