Browse Items (42 total)

On Saturday, September 16, 1843, a violent storm caused the rivers feeding into the Potomac to rise dramatically. The resulting water levels were higher than anyone could remember. When the Potomac River and Washington Canal overflowed their banks,…

In May of 1810 President James Madison broke ground for the Washington Canal amidst city officials and citizens crowded at New Jersey Avenue SE. The Canal was part of the original city plan from 1791, but work stalled until 1809 when Congress…

Slave trading establishments in Washington, DC are superimposed on this 1855 Atlas of Washington, DC to show the locations of a few of the many slave trading establishments in the city. Businesses flourished on the Mall's borders including slave…

Henry Latrobe, an architect of the US Capitol, was also the chief engineer of the Washington City Canal. He prepared drawings of the canal locks in 1810, before construction began. The Canal was about one mile long and passed in front of the Capitol.…

This bird's-eye view of Washington, DC faces west with the US Capitol in the foreground. Canals and other waterways intersecting the National Mall are visible to the left of tree-lined Pennsylvania Avenue, then the capital's ceremonial thoroughfare,…

This ticket is one from a collection of 20 lottery tickets of the Washington City Canal lottery "for cutting the canal, through the City of Washington to the Eastern Branch harbour." Eight tickets are signed by Notley Young, four by Daniel Carroll,…

Three-quarters of a century of a century after the founding of the city of Washington, Dr. Joseph Toner, an amateur historian of the District of Columbia, decided to find out who had owned the land of the nation's capital before the city was…

Solomon Northrup, a free African American from New York, arrived in Washington in 1841 in the company of two white men who had promised him a job as a fiddler. After a day touring the Capitol and White House Grounds, the men drugged him and handed…

During the Civil War, the U.S. Army grazed cattle on the grounds of the unfinished Washington Monument, earning the structure the nickname "Beef Depot Monument." In addition to being the seat of the federal government, Washington was on the front…

During the 1840s, tired of the smell and dangers of candles and oil lamps, residents of Washington, DC regularly petitioned Congress to establish a gas company to light the city. In 1848, Congress agreed, first experimenting with lighting the Capitol…
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