Pre-1800s Items (33 total)

In July 1790, when Congress approved the establishment of a federal capital on the Potomac River, the area they chose was already owned by people who lived and farmed there. President George Washington and other government officials negotiated with…

In 1791, President George Washington hired Pierre Charles L'Enfant to create a plan for the layout of the federal city. L'Enfant focused on the area between Tiber Creek, today Constitution Avenue and the Eastern Branch, also called the Anacostia…

Authorized by The Residence Act of 1790 to select a site along the Potomac to be the home of the new national government, President George Washington was heavily involved in the planning and development of the new federal city. He chose the area…

Thomas Law was a wealthy Englishman who invested financially and ideologically in the development of the new city of Washington. In 1804 he wrote a pamphlet, published anonymously, proposing a canal from the Anacostia River to the Potomac following…

The Nacotchtanks are a Native American Algonquian tribe who once lived on land which is now near the National Mall. Captain John Smith noted that the village had 80 fighting men in 1608. The Nacotchtanks likely spoke the Piscataway variation of the…

James Hoban was an Irish-born architect who won a competition in 1792 to design the home of the President. He moved from South Carolina to Washington, DC, to oversee the construction of his design. A neo-classicist, Hoban's design influenced the…

Andrew Ellicott was a surveyor employed by President George Washington to survey the boundary lines of the federal Territory of Columbia, which became the District of Columbia. His survey team included his younger brother Joseph and Benjamin…

In 1791, 15 landowners negotiated with President George Washington to give the government land for the creation of a new federal capital, Washington. Land from Daniel Carroll of Duddington, David Burnes, and Notley Young became the National Mall.…

L'Enfant was an architect and civil engineer chosen by President George Washington in 1791 to survey and design the new federal city of Washington. L'Enfant designed streets in a grid pattern, and he placed major government buildings and parks in the…

Banneker was a free African American surveyor, mathematician, and almanac author from Maryland. In 1791, he assisted Andrew Ellicott with a survey of the boundaries of the District of Columbia. Among his duties on the survey, Banneker operated the…
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