Pre-1800s Items (33 total)

This newspaper article was published in New York City in the mid 1790s, describing official plans for the developing federal city. Although an Act of Congress in 1790 had declared that Washington would be the national capital as of 1800, it was at…

In 1791, Daniel Carroll of Duddington, a District resident, was in the middle of an argument with Pierre Charles L'Enfant, city planner for the new capital. Carroll had built a house where L'Enfant wanted a road, but Carroll was reluctant to have it…

In 1799 Architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe submitted this proposal for the Washington Monument. The design was meant to be incorporated into the original design of Washington, DC, but budget problems prevented its construction. The plan included the…

The southern boundary of Washington, DC, is bordered by two rivers: the Potomac and the Anacostia. The rivers have long had problems with pollution from human and industrial waste. In the 1860s, President Lincoln used to complain of the smell of the…

The Mall in London, which runs along the side of Saint James Park, was originally a playing field for King Charles II of England and his courtiers. They played pall-mall, a game similar to croquet. By the mid-1700s, it had become a tree-lined avenue…

These mallets and ball were used to play a game called pall mall, which involved hitting the ball down a green playing field and through an iron hoop. The game was popular in England in the late 1600s and continued to be played into the early 1800s.…

President George Washington and city planner Pierre L'Enfant chose the land for the new capital of the United States, in part, because of the beauty of its landscape. Rolling hills, the meeting point of two rivers, flat lands along the river banks,…

This historical survey stone was established in 1793 to mark the prime meridian of the United States. It was also intended to mark the intersection of direct lines from the middle of the Capitol and the White House, but it is in fact a little off…

The Ellipse, officially known as President's Park South, is a 52 acre park located directly south of the White House. It was part of L'Enfant's original plan of the city. The Ellipse was originally called "The White Lot" due to the whitewashed fence…

Originally, Braddock's Rock was a sizable outcropping of Piedmont stone jutting into the Potomac. Called the "Key of all Keys," this rock became a starting point for surveyors drawing property lines for early settlers. In 1755, General Edward…
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