Posted on April 15, 2012 by Historic District
Until recently, one of the best known associations between the name Titanic and the District was a popular Thai restaurant on 14th Street.
That’s changed a bit this year, as today marks one hundred years since the RMS Titanic’s sinking in the icy waters of the northern Atlantic. Many Washingtonians are discovering that the District has had its own memorial to the Titanic tragedy for more than 80 years.
Even for me, the Titanic memorial was more of a trivia fact about the city’s obscure monuments. I had never actually seen it, since my tours rarely go near its location at the Southwest Waterfront.
But yesterday, I visited it for the first time to attend a ceremony commemorating the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Archibald Butt, Ellipse, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Henry Bacon, Kennedy Center, Southwest, Teddy Roosevelt, Titanic, William Howard Taft, Women's Titanic Memorial | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 2, 2011 by Historic District
My tours of D.C. usually begin at the place that all visitors, both international and domestic, have ultimately come to Washington to see – the White House.
But when we arrive, many of my groups actually don’t recognize one of the most famous buildings in the world. They’re surprised and a little disappointed when I point out the President’s house.
The White House’s north side, seen from Lafayette Park
“It doesn’t look the way I remember it,” or “It looks smaller than it does on TV,” are the two most common responses I hear.
That’s because I take my groups through Lafayette Park to the north side of the White House. This is technically the front entrance. With its portico and circular driveway, the north side faces the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 16th Street, giving the residence its famous address.
It’s the back, or south side, that most people recognize from movies and postcards. It has the curved façade and Truman balcony, and opens onto the President’s back yard.
Filed under: Architects, National Mall, Uncategorized, White House | Tagged: Andrew Jackson Downing, Boy Scouts Memorial, E Street, Ellipse, First Division Memorial, Lafayette Park, National Capital Planning Commission, National Christmas Tree, National Mall, Pennsylvania Avenue, Pierre Charles L'Enfant, Potomac River, President's Park South, Second Division Memorial, Tiber Creek, Washington City Canal, Zero Milestone | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 26, 2011 by Historic District
Yesterday morning I was at the White House for an historic Washington tradition – the President’s annual Easter Egg Roll.
I went with a good friend and her young son, traipsing through the morning mist along the Ellipse and, after waiting in several lines and security checks, eventually onto the South Lawn.
Attending a White House event these days is a little like a trip to the airport.
South Lawn of the White House in the morning mist (Photo: Robert Yule)
We followed along as my friend’s son took part in a variety of activities, starting with the famous Easter Egg Rolling Race itself. The race is a more recent tradition, started in 1974 using spoons from the White House kitchen and eggs hard boiled by White House chefs.
It basically involves pushing an egg with a wooden spoon through the grass to the finish line.
Trust me, not as easy as it sounds.
Filed under: Abraham Lincoln, Capitol, Civil War, Congress, First Ladies, Presidents, White House | Tagged: Abraham Lincoln, Capitol Hill, Easter Egg Roll, Ellipse, Michelle Obama, President Obama, Rutherford B. Hayles, South Lawn, Theodore Roosevelt, White House, William McKinley | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 22, 2011 by Historic District
It’s often said that Washington, D.C. was built on a swamp – usually in August, when the humidity in the District is unbearable. While that’s not entirely true, the Georgetown waterfront certainly looks like one right now.
The Potomac River flooded after a weekend of heavy rains, and by Monday the river had risen up to 12 feet.
Normally floodwalls are raised to protect Washington Harbour, the restaurant and office complex on the waterfront. The modern floodwalls were part of the original construction, and have been used successfully dozens of times since they were built in 1986.
But this time, a section of the wall wasn’t raised early enough. Muddy water gushed into the Harbour complex, which is conveniently shaped like a crescent bowl.
Washington Harbour flooding (Photo: Alex Greenlee, DCist)
A week later on Earth Day, the Harbour is still closed as a clean-up crew deals with the effects of Mother Nature.
Of course, this all got me thinking about historic floods in the District.
Filed under: Georgetown, McMillan Plan, National Mall, Uncategorized | Tagged: 17th Street, Army Corps of Engineers, Congress, Ellipse, Federal Triangle, flood, floodwall, Jefferson Memorial, levee, LIFE Magazine, Lincoln Memorial, McMillan Plan, National Mall, Pennsylvania Avenue, Potomac Park Levee, Potomac River, Reflecting Pool, swamp, Tiber Creek, Tidal Basin, Washington Harbour. Georgetown, Washington Monument, White House | 2 Comments »