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Washington D.C.


  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    At Congressional Cemetery, goats eating their way through an acre of poison ivy

    The herd of 25 goats rumbled into Congressional Cemetery in Southeast Washington on Wednesday morning, passing tombstones engraved with words such as “The Honorable” and “HOOVER” (as in FBI legend J. Edgar.)They had been taken there for a mission. Over the next week, the goats are supposed to eat more than an acre’s worth of poison ivy and English ivy, which are imperiling the historic cemetery’s trees and endangering the gravestones.The 206-year-old cemetery, owned by Christ Church of Washington and run by a nonprofit group, figures the goats are a cheaper, less toxic way of cleaning up the 35-acre property, which borders the Anacostia Watershed....

  • Originally published 08/02/2013

    Sculptor removes phrase from memorial to King

    WASHINGTON — The Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin finished removing a contentious phrase on the memorial for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington at the end of the month.The phrase came from Dr. King’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech. It read, “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”Critics of the memorial, including the poet Maya Angelou, said the phrase did not show the true nature of the full quotation. The actual quotation was: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”...

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Woman arrested after green paint found on organ at National Cathedral

    A wave of vandalism continued to mar some of Washington’s more popular landmarks Monday with at least three more attractions spattered with green paint, and authorities announced the arrest of a woman near one of the incidents at Washington National Cathedral.The latest crimes occurred three days after the Lincoln Memorial was hit in similar fashion. On Monday, the light-green paint was discovered on an organ in the cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel, in the cathedral’s Children’s Chapel and on the granite base of a statue next to the Smithsonian Castle on the Mall.D.C. police said Monday evening that they had charged Jiamei Tian, 58, whom they believe to be homeless, with one count of defacing property.The mysterious markings on the statue of Abraham Lincoln blemished one of the country’s most visited attractions and an iconic symbol of freedom. In the cathedral, they tarnished what is widely known as the nation’s house of worship — and a building still under repair after an earthquake two years ago caused such severe damage that it closed for three months....

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Newseum draws visitors but loses money

    WASHINGTON — In five years since moving to its new home overlooking the U.S. Capitol, the Newseum has become a major attraction with 4 million people visiting its exhibits about journalism and the First Amendment. Yet it’s been struggling mightily to cover its costs.Public financial documents reviewed by The Associated Press show revenue fell short of expenses by millions of dollars in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Its parent organization, the Freedom Forum, has used its endowment to provide the bulk of the Newseum’s operating revenue since its creation, and the endowment’s principal value has steadily declined from $600 million to about $373 million at the end of 2011.Nonprofit management consultants say it’s worrisome for a museum to be relying so heavily on a shrinking endowment, but the Newseum’s top executive says it’s not in financial trouble....

  • Originally published 07/03/2013

    Why Doesn't D.C. Have a Military Parade on the Fourth of July?

    On Bastille Day in Paris, the trees lining the Champs-Élysées are covered in the French tricolor. Battalion after battalion of French troops march down the avenue, gleaming bayonets attached to their Space Age rifles. Tanks, armored cars, and nuclear missiles roll past a viewing stand where the French president and his generals look on as martial music plays.It's one of the largest military parades in the world, and it's been going on nearly every year since 1880 (except from 1940-1944, for obvious reasons). Here's what it looks like:Here's what the Fourth of July parade down Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C. looks like:

  • Originally published 05/31/2013

    Tony Horwitz: The Mammy DC Almost Had

    Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. His books include Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War and Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War.If I say the word "Mammy," you're likely to conjure up the character from Gone With the Wind. Or, you may think of Aunt Jemima, in her trademark kerchief, beaming from boxes of pancake mix.What you probably won't picture is a massive slave woman, hewn from stone, cradling a white child atop a plinth in the nation's capital. Yet in 1923, the U.S. Senate authorized such a statue, "in memory of the faithful slave mammies of the South."As a Southern Congressman stated in support of the monument: "The traveler, as he passes by, will recall that epoch of southern civilization" when "fidelity and loyalty" prevailed. "No class of any race of people held in bondage could be found anywhere who lived more free from care or distress."

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood hiding graves

    WASHINGTON — On a May afternoon in 2001, a group of volunteers cleaning up trash in Walter C. Pierce Community Park in Adams Morgan found a bone that appeared to be a human femur. The Washington region was enthralled at the time by the search for missing former government intern Chandra Levy, and the bone’s discovery sent murmurs rippling through the cleanup crew. Finally, a nurse in the group examined the bone. It’s not Chandra, she told the group. This bone is very old.Beneath Walter Pierce Park are two adjacent historic cemeteries: the quarter-acre Burying Ground or Place of Interment for the Society of Friends or Quakers, which dates to 1809, and a 6 3/4-acre African-American cemetery, which operated between 1870 and 1890. At the peak of its use, Mount Pleasant Plains Cemetery was the largest African-American burial ground in the District of Columbia....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Historic DC tree accidently cut down by Park Service

    ...The National Park Service said the contractor — a Lothian company called Greentree — was supposed to cut down a dead ash tree on the other side of the park. There was nothing wrong with the ginkgo....It was memorialized in 2006 as part of the Park Service’s Witness Tree Protection Program, an effort to encourage the public to relate to the history of the city through its trees. Historian Jonathan Pliska wrote that the ginkgo was probably planted in 1873, although it may have been there earlier and been incorporated into the design of the square, which honors Adm. David Glasgow Farragut, the naval hero best known for saying: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”The tree was 102 feet tall, with a crown spread of 79 feet and trunk circumference of 142 inches. That made it the largest ginkgo in Washington. Apparently it was a male, so it didn’t have that stinky fruit....

  • Originally published 01/18/2013

    A Brief History of Presidential Inaugurations

    HNN Hot Topics: Presidential Inaugurations President Kennedy giving his inaugural address. Credit: JFK Library.Worth ReadingHNN Hot Topics: Presidential InaugurationsHighlights of Past InauguralsNixon Pigeon-Proofed His Inaugural Parade RouteBackground

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