This site lists most of the monuments, museums and sites to see, in Washington D.C.
All of the sites listed here are free, and you could easily spend a day at each of the museums.
Along with a description of the sites are pictures, to give you a sense of the attractions,
and a map
with links to the most popular sites to see in Washington D.C..
If you are traveling to D.C. we include a map
of local hotels, close
to the main attractions, with links to the hotel�s web sites for your connivance.
Washington D.C. is like no other national capitol in the world. It is the only
capitol who's concept, location and operation was planned for long before
the first corner stone was set. In 1783, when the discussions of a seat of
government started, it was with the intention that the capitol be central
to the population, on a major river connecting to the Atlantic, and that
the territory be the exclusive property of the federal government.
The southern states favored a site on the Potomac, while the northern states
favored a site on the Delaware. A law was passed in December 1784 to put up
buildings for the use of congress and the appointment of three commissioners
to lay out a district on the banks of the Delaware. They were authorized to
purchase land and could draw on the treasury a sum not to exceed $100,000.
No action was taken except to elect three commissioners.
Three years later, in 1787 an effort was made to substitute the Potomac in
place of the Delaware, but failed. By now congress had accepted the constitution
and had submitted it to the states for approval. The following year with
the constitution was ratified by the states; congress again turned is attention
to a location for the "federal city".
It became clear that the southern states were determined the site be central
to what was then regarded as the center of the 13 colonies. This narrowed the
choices to Pennsylvanian, Maryland and Virginia. A more pressing problem at
the same time was the funding of public and state debts, mostly due to the
revolutionary war. Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury,
proposed these debts become obligations of the United States government.
Since the southern states were relatively debt free and the northern states
were carrying a large debt, a compromise was reached. If the northern states
would vote for a more southern location for the capital, the southern states
would vote for the funding bill proposed by Hamilton.
In July 1790 the residence bill passed, naming Philadelphia as the temporary
site for the nation's capital, and a site somewhere on the Potomac as the
permanent site. The Potomac site was to be ready and occupied on the first
Monday in December 1800. The funding bill passed a few days later.
Four months later President George Washington took a trip to look over the
proposed site for the nation's capitol. In January 1791, President Washington
sent a note to congress, detailing the site's location. On the same day he
instructed the three commissioners to start surveying the land.
Andrew Ellicott was hired to survey the boundaries of the city; Charles Pierre
L'Enfant was hired to layout the city plan. L'Enfant plan incorporated many
of its features from a rough draft that Thomas Jefferson had made of his
ideas of how the city should be designed.
On Sept 9 1791 the city and the district was official named the City of Washington,
District of Columbia. The district's name, "Columbia", is an early poetic name for the
United States and a reference to Christopher Columbus. Out of modesty,
George Washington never referred to it as such, preferring to call it
"the Federal City". Despite choosing the site and living nearby at Mount
Vernon, he rarely visited the city.
The official first day of attendance in the Washington DC was Nov 17th 1800,
since neither the House nor the Senate had a quorum, it was not until a few
days later on the 22nd that President John Adams meat with congress to
congratulate them on the move from Philadelphia and the first meeting of the
national government in it's new and permanent home.
D.C. Gov Official Home Page
NARPAC Historical Origination
Hello Washington DC City Guide
Library of Congress
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