The Mall in 1800
Conrad's boarding house was on the south side of Capitol hill and commanded an extensive and beautiful view. It was on the top of the hill, the precipitous sides of which were covered with grass, shrubs and trees in their wild uncultivated state. Between the foot of the hill and the broad Potomac extended a wide plain, through which the Tiber wound its way. The romantic beauty of this little stream was not then deformed by wharves or other works of art. Its banks were shaded with tall and umbrageous forest trees of every variety, among which the superb Tulep-Poplar rose conspicuous; the magnolia, the azalia, the hawthorn, the wild-rose and many other indigenous shrubs grew beneath their shade, while violets, anemonies and a thousand other sweet wood-flowers found shelter among their roots, from the winter's frost and greeted with the earliest bloom the return of spring. The wild grape-vine climbing from tree to tree hung in unpruned luxuriance among the branches of the trees and formed a fragrant and verdant canopy over the greensward, impervious to the noon day-sun. Beautiful banks of Tiber! delightful rambles! happy hours! How like a dream do ye now appear. Those trees, those shrubs, those flowers are gone. Man and his works have displaced the charms of nature. The poet, the botanist, the sportsman and the lover who once haunted those paths must seek far hence the shades in which they delight. Not only the banks of the Tiber, but those of the Potomack and Anacosta, were at this period adorned with native trees and shrubs and were distinguished by as romantic scenery as any rivers in our country. Indeed the whole plain was diversified with groves and clumps of forest trees which gave it the appearance of fine park. Such as grew on the public grounds ought to have been preserved, but in a government such as ours, where the people are sovereign, this could not be done. The people, the poorer inhabitants cut down these noble and beautiful trees for fuel. In one single night seventy tulip-Poplars were girdled, by which process life is destroyed and afterwards cut up at their leisure by the people. Nothing afflicted Mr. Jefferson like this wanton destruction of the fine trees scattered over the city-grounds.