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tv   U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Washington D.C.  CSPAN  April 9, 2016 2:00pm-3:47pm EDT

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force of a draft of soldiers. they do that calling for a nine-month volunteers in the summer in the spring of 1863 been moved towards an all-encompassing draft law. payment between the ages of 20 and 45, any white male the subject to the draft. it begins to have a very significant impact on popular opinion. >> you can watch lectures in history tonight at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> next, author pamela scott discusses her book "capital engineers: the u.s. army corps of engineers in the development of washington, d.c., 1790-2004." we will hear about the army corps of engineers key role in designing the capital city, including construction of the
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u.s. capitol building, the smithsonian capital, and the aqueduct bridge over the potomac river. this was hosted by the smithsonian associates. it is one hour and 45 minutes. >> our program tonight is made possible by generous underwriting by the reva and david logan foundation. they have underwritten several programs focused on d.c. history which has enabled us to bump up our curriculum in that area. we have not historically offered a lot of local d.c. programs. it's been an excellent addition to the program we have been able to offer so thank you very much. if you're not a member of the smithsonian associates, your membership and donation support help brings these programs. if you are not a member, we would be more than happy to help you become one. you can see me or any volunteers a check you in. our speaker tonight is pamela scott. she is an architectural
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historian. you may have attended her bus tour about the mcmillan association. she literally wrote the book on the army corps of engineers here in washington. i am eager to hear what she has to say, as i'm sure are you. pam scott. [applause] ms. scott: thank you. i am very pleased to be here tonight and to see such a huge crowd. it is amazing that there are so many people interested in such an erudite topic. i am going to tell you a great deal that you did not know about what the army corps of engineers has done in washington and is still doing. the corps recognizes as their grandfather, their founder pierre charles l'enfant. , here you see him as a lean
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soldier in 1783. then as a plump, disgruntled gentleman in 1801 who is trying to get from congress of the money he was owed for the work he did in d.c. the part you need to understand about l'enfant initially is a little prehistory about the end of the revolution. in 1783-1784 when it was all winding down, there was a great deal of discussion about whether there should be a standing army in america after the war was over. the decision was that there would not be any. there would be the marine corps associated with the navy that would guard the waterways, the
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borders from attack. all of the men were many of the men who had served in the engineers during the revolution, both americans and europeans, wrote outlines of what they thought the corps of engineers should be. in this new world without an army. and l'enfant's was the one that was most comprehensive. he wrote this and sent it to congress december of 1784. what was unusual about his outline was that it was what he called a plan for a neutral power that must be ready for war.
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what the corps of engineers was going to be doing in the future was basically developing the infrastructure of the country, where the waterways would be used for transportation, largely. where canals had to be built. where rivers had to be surveyed. he included as you see the fifth item down -- architecture. that engineers should be able to design not just military forts. they should have a general understanding of architecture. when jefferson founded the military academy at west point in 1802, this outline was the basis for the curriculum. today, it is extraordinarily difficult to be accepted to either west point or annapolis. they are very competitive.
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from day one the top graduates at west point automatically were assigned to be the corps of engineers. they had no choice about it. that apparently is still true today. it is not only a select group of men, but the selection of the best of those men go into the corps of engineers. i have met two of the chief engineers. i can say they are very impressive people. they were the thinkers. they were people who had the big idea but also had a grasp of how to command men and how to detail and command how people were going to work together. we, of course, in washington look upon the l'enfant plan as
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the basis of our city, and it truly is. it was designed by l'enfant during the spring and early summer of 1791. he was asked to design a city basically where foggy bottom is today. it was his vision and his hubris that suggested to washington that the entire landscape, which was a naturally fortified area, between the eastern branch in -- and georgetown should be seen as a site for a visionary city. and his design, he said many times, was that he was following george washington's wishes about
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what the capital city should be. that it should reflect the union of the states under a central federal government. i will be showing you images and giving you information i have not yet published but is in the works. one of these is on the upper left. sam davidson's map that he commissioned to show a change that was made from what the proprietors were originally shown as the map of the city by washington. the change took place from l'enfant's thinking until it was engraved in the spring of 1792. because it is located in such a critical place it is interesting to see that what l'enfant intended was that there would be
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a french three-pronged street arrangement familiar at versailles and also in 17th and 18th century french planning, and that of streets would converge on the white house. that was taken away probably there is nothing written about , it because it was taken away because it was too much associated with monarchical government in france. the images on the right were done by george beck in the 1790's. the top one is from the heights of georgetown down the potomac towards the eastern branch. then the one on the bottom is from greenleaf point, where the arsenal was, towards where the white house is located.
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the importance of the development of the waterways in washington and the control the army corps of engineers had over that branch of hydraulic engineering was very important part from the beginning of their role in washington. in the upper left i have pointed an arrow at a causeway that went from an island in the center over to the virginia shore built in 1810. l'enfant was the advising engineer. it was done by private interests in georgetown. they found it was going to help dredging the georgetown waterfront to keep the waterways
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open. on the right top, you see the rebuilding of fort washington that replaced fort warburton and was attacked, of course, during the war of 1812 by the british. l'enfant was there before the attack and afterwards. he was also on the mall in august of 1814, taking care of the wounded veterans. while william thornton, the architect of the capitol and the head of the patent office, was standing on the steps of the patent office and saying to the british, "officers, are you goths? or englishmen? or vandals?"
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thornton gets the credit of saving the patent office. but l'enfant had been wounded himself in the revolution and walked with a cane and was in pain for the rest of his life, which i believe is the source of his irascible personality. on the bottom left, in 1830 --let me go back a moment. in 1813, congress created the bureau of topographical engineers. they were charged with surveying the seacoast, the rivers, and the interiors where the rest of the engineers were involved in building forts in various locations.
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captain william trumble in 1836 was in charge of building the washington aqueduct bridge that went from north of georgetown to the virginia shore. you see it in the print. the waterway from the canal is going across the top of the aqueduct bridge. that was one of a series of bridges that the engineers were involved in and was of particular importance because of its ingenuity of construction. here are a couple of the accompanying drawings in the report. i will be showing several images that were made by the corps. they are all taken from their annual reports. these are illustrations of what
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the reports were all about. one of the things that is not well known is how much the corps of engineers collaborated with private architects and engineers to create the infrastructure, not just in washington but in other places as well. in 1815, on the upper left, the architect of the capitol, who was also a well-trained engineer and he was hired by jefferson in 1802 before he was hired to build the navy wall tempering the canal across washington so there would be enough water in the eastern
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branch to float ships in the drydock. his report was that the canal should be along the side of pennsylvania avenue, all the way across and around. that did not happen. but what you see in this 1815 drawing in the upper left was his solution to a serious problem, which was what was called the "low-lying grounds," the famous washington swamp. a tidal --act salt-water tidal area. he proposed as city engineer to build a picturesque lawn at the foot of capitol hill. and as you see there are water canals coming into it. that this was a way of solving
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the problem of floods whenever there were heavy rains. the natural flow of the tiber creek was to come down 2nd street, across them all, and go out into the eastern branch. this was a way to trying control that in a natural setting. he may be able to see on the top part of the image that it has been divided into lots. this was the city's attempt to keep the federal government in washington after the war of 1812 when congress was debating whether they would move to the west, basically the ohio valley. so the city then took the lots north of pennsylvania avenue, which were designated by l'enfant to be public reservations and turn them into private lots and sold them.
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just below that image on the bottom left is a very important drawing made by l'enfant's assistant, isaac robideau, now the head of the topographical engineers. about 1820 he proposes to insert two new avenues at the head of the mall between pennsylvania avenue and maryland avenue. they were maine and missouri. they became states between 1820 and 1822. this was, in effect, washington's first urban development. the residential lots were then sold, as you see in the center image, the names of the owners are there.
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the dark lines here -- the two dark lines make a "v". those are the two avenues that were at the head of the mall until the late 19th century. washington's favorite engineer, and a name i think is probably known to most to you, was montgomery cunningham meigs. he was certainly the most colorful of all the engineers. i looked today but could not find the exact wording of a quote about his personality. he combined enormous physical strength and endurance with an incredible mind that comprehended both the large
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picture and the details at once with an equally large ego. his mother described him as being very willful and very overbearing towards his brother at the age of 6. the personality was there from the beginning. he was involved in so many projects. you will see his name this evening coming back again and again. notice at the top left of the list of the offices in charge of the washington aqueduct. this is the first time that it is legislated that what the corps of engineers is going to be doing and that there is going to be a line of authority with various engineers succeeding one
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another, taking over -- maybe they were an assistant taking over building the washington aqueduct. which was a very important and recognized as very important in the early 1850's because of the poor quality of washington's water. this project outlived meigs and many others. it is still obviously run out at river road. there's meigs. there's the list of engineers. huge construction project. it ran parallel to the tiber canal.
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this is going out river road, the reservoir that is now north capitol street. here in one of the -- many of the arches you see "m.c. meigs" has been inscribed. it is inscribed on every one of the arches. it is in cast iron on every one of the steps. no one was ever going to forget who did this. [laughter] ms. scott: long-term project starting in washington -- the first holding tower designed by meigs was for the georgetown library. it was for water brought down to the aqueduct.
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meigs' invention of carrying the pure water over rock creek to not have any contamination at all. the corps of engineers' insignia is based on the battlemented building that the reservoir on river road used to mask the equipment used there. to go back a little, i have to go back to robert mills, the smiling gentleman in the center, who came to washington in 1800. he was brought here by his father. he mentions that he saw
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washington before he died. he was a favorite of thomas jefferson. he was an apprentice architect with benjamin hendley -- henry latrobe for the 10 years he was here. he had a very important career teenstimore during the 18 . then went to arkansas when he became the state architect and engineer, involved in canals, roads, and so forth. he returned to washington at the end of the 1820's as charles bullfinch is retiring and finishing the capitol. mills cameob open back here with the idea that he would become the architect of the next wave of government buildings. and he did succeed. they were the treasury building on the upper left, the colonnade of the east wing, the patent
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office in the upper right, which is today of course the smithsonian's art museum today. below it, the headquarters of the general post office, which is today the monaco hotel. what is extraordinary about these was their size in comparison to what similar buildings were being built in other places. these were huge. he was building to the scale of l'enfant's streets. he was building for permanency. he used fireproof construction. very little iron. it was halted construction throughout of bricks and mortar. with columns of sandstone in the treasury and the patent office.
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he built the east wing of the patent office, which is today lincoln's gallery, before there was a change in administration. and he goes out and thomas u. walter comes in. walter you see on the left. the son of a philadelphia stonemason. and a man of equal intellect and physical stamina to meigs, but not with the same kind of vast ego. i compare the two men at the capitol who worked together on the extension of the capitol. that meigs, the son of an army officer, from his youth, he had been part of the government. he knew how to manipulate the whole situation.
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and walter, who was an outsider, flummoxed by the political ups and downs. but together they were responsible for the basic bay of second wave of government architects we know today. the stars on the patent office and the general post office are to indicate it was thomas u. walter and montgomery meigs who was involved in finishing both of those buildings. mills wanted those jobs but he was ousted from the public architecture with the coming of these giants in their fields.
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at the same time that the partnership of architect walter and engineer meigs are coming together to finish the extension of the capital, a second set of engineer partnerships are taking place in the executive department. that was the creation in 1852 of the bureau of construction. it was housed in the treasury building itself. captain alexander bowman on the left was the corps of engineers architect in charge of that construction. and m.e.b. young, the architect chosen to work with him. young had built the boston
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customhouse, a monument that is stil there and the vermont state house. he imported from new england what was called the illustration in the upper left you can see what that meant. that meant that giant slabs of granite were used as the framing of the building. so they were the walls and the frames around the windows. they were lifted by extraordinary hydraulic means that were worked out by the corps of engineers. they weighed several tons. the image on the lower right is of the west wing of the treasury building. everything you see there is a solid slab of granite that is raised up vertically. what meigs and walter were doing
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at the capitol was building out of marble block, traditional masonry crash auction. these were happening at the same time. the south wing of the treasury, it was almost completed when the war broke out. and we know that the extension of the capitol was under way as well. meigs, who was intensely competitive with everyone but especially with fellow engineers, helped -- compared what it cost him to build the capitol to what it was costing bowman to build the treasury holding and found he was paying, between labor and material cost and so forth, he was paying twice as much to build the capitol. which irritated him, because here is another engineer besting
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him in terms of know-how. 1845, the smithsonian castle is begun. james renwick, a new yorker who was the son and brother of engineers, won the competition with his european picturesque revival of medieval architecture. the image on the lower left is not well known, but it is important, because it is something that is not evident from most of the pictures we see of the smithsonian, nor from looking at a.j. downing's design for the mall that was made to complement renwick's building. that image on the left shows
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something crucial to the design of both. that is that the south side of the mall was 40 feet above sea level. the north side of the mall was the canal at sea level. in between was a rolling landscape. rolling in both directions. the original landscape that downing enhanced through his design was not the flat level mall that we know of at all. it was really undulating in all directions. the original drawing made by a.j. downing is in the library of congress. it is in very poor condition. at the time it was transferred
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observed.ondition was aeler made aiel mich copy of it. that is the one you see here, that's the one you see reproduced because the corps of engineers took it upon themselves to preserve this important part of history. renwick was in charge of construction for most of the building of the castle even though he was young and inexperienced. there were lots of problems. in 1853, captain barton alexander of the corp was called tottone general george b.
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the general in charge of the , corps of engineers was on the committee for the smithsonian institution. when the construction problems were emulating it, toton brought in the engineers. the lecture hall you see is the only visual evidence of what barton alexander did. between 1853 and 1855, he rebuilt many of the interiors to make them fireproof. because the construction of the original was faulty. just so you have a clear understanding of the capital's evolution, the upper left is an image of the capital that was finished in 1829. the dome finished in 1824.
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at that time it was already recognized that it was too small. the country was growing too rapidly and there was not enough room for the house of representatives and members of the senate. below that is an 1845 drawing. engineer,raphical humphreys that proposes adding , new house and senate wings laterally against the original house and senate wings of the original building. across from it here, this is a -- it is not his winning design but when he made soon after. the major change that walter
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made was to have syphons and over here corridors between the old and new. this would give a more three-dimensional character and a hiatus between totally different interior types of spaces. in the upper level as the 1872 photograph that shows the extensions completed. it is only 17 feet from the street here. that led then to the extension of the capitol grounds one more time. the grounds were extended five times. now meigs and walter worked amicably for quite some time.
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the congressional authority was initially that walter was in charge of construction and meigs was in charge of the engineering. then in 1854, i think, -- in 1853 franklin pierce transferred the control of the construction of the capital to the war department. therefore meigs was in the ascendant and walter was now working for him. meigs felt that he had designed many parts of the capitol that are not normally attributed to
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him. but in fact walter was the architect of the capitol, he designed it. this sequence of images and drawings, there is only one image, shows something that is the result of recent research. it's interesting to me that a an awful lot of american history that is being done in depth now is coming from the descendents of the people who were involved. that is true of robert poole, a baltimore foundryman who worked very amicably with meigs for three or four years in casting
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the columns that you see here. everything that you see here , everything you see here, including these great brackets were canterlevering the new dome out over the old dome, this mirroring together of decorative and structural iron elements that are then bolted together was walters great contribution to the advancement of iron as an important architectural building material. what was unusual about these columns, this colunade, it was originally intended that the book go out onto that balcony
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and walk all the way around the capital. what robert poole did and the documentation does not clarify whether it was poole's idea or whether it was meigs'idea or if they arrived at it together, these were the first columns to be cast vertically rather than horizontally in beds of sand, which was the traditional way from the beginning of the casting of iron architecture. back into the early 18th century. in europe. the casting vertically was intended for a couple of reasons. every other column was an event for the smoke of fireplaces in
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the rooms of the capital. the ones next to it carried the water off the roof down into ground level. the casting of these, the idea was they be cast to accommodate without laws to accommodate those two situations. it was like all innovative things. it had all of its difficulties and robert poole was unable to keep to the weight that meigs had specified. that each of the columns was away about 9000 pounds. when he tried to cast then he would lose two out of every generally his casts were around
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11,000 or 12,000 pounds per column. he did not just cast the columns. he cast all of the structural work at all the decorative elements including the pieces of the corinthian capitals around them. the descendents of robert poole will be publishing a book in the next couple of years. it details this interaction between a private contractor for the government and meigs working together. meigs was not just the engineer dealing with all of this kind of problem. but he had, is probably many of of thew, was in charge decoration of the interior of the capital he dealt with
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constantine remedi to do the italian renaissance revival paintings in the agriculture committee room. this is where meigs had his office. most of it was done in the pompeiin style. it changed the direction of american art it was an extensive iconography having to do with american history. idi, ane coming of rem immigrant from italy, leaving during the wars of 1848. american history is cast in
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allegorical ways that was in tithical typical -- an to the thinking of many americans about creating our own culture. meigs dealt with thomas crawford who lived and worked in rome about the changing design of the statue of freedom. this is getting down to the level of history that i find interesting rather than the big picture. where you see people solving everyday problems. in ways that are unique to their personality. the day after the firing of fort sumter, the corps of engineers officers and men, along with other members of the military
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walked across aqueduct bridge. by that time the water was no longer flowing through it. it had a roadbed put in. they walked across the building to virginia and begin building the fortifications to protect the city should it be attacked. major john g. barnard was in charge of building a ring around d.c. and into maryland. he published that map in 1865 at the end of the war. the top image on the right shows fort stevens. it was the northernmost fort in the whole system.
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and the most vulnerable because it was on the turnpike road that already existed that went to rockville. it was down that road that troops came down to washington and attacked at that fort. it's the only fort that is open to the public and has been restored. i am showing you a series of images of the camps. there were also many prints made of the forts themselves and the batteries. the forts themselves have been studied in great details by benjamin franklin cooling.
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i forgot to put that book on your bibliography today. no one has really studied the camps where the volunteers are coming in and leaving all the time. the one you see here is cap -- camp carter. where the presidential guard just north of the white house was camped. everything months -- every three months a new contingent of army officers and men came to serve as lincoln's guard and they camped between the white house and meridian hill. i'm sorry, that was camp wrightwood. there is camp carver. --t is where the barracks
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the civil war was run from the department of war which was on the west side of the president's house. it's very rare that one can have -- find an historic quote of a joke. it's even rarer you can understand the joke means. but you are looking here at the corner of lafayette square where r. yule's house was taken over by the provost marshal, all of the think buildings were built for various army officers. directly across the street would've been the white house.
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three blocks away at 18th and f street was a mountain of straw and hay to feed the horses. just imagine what the center of washington was like at this time. in 1865, the army did not move out all wants. they moved out gradually. the city they left behind had no street trees they had been cut down for firewood. the roads were all muddy and they had deep galleys in them. they were the ones of army caissons which were a different width than the axle lanes of your standard wagon. the roads could not be used for
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any normal use when the army left. it was a tremendous disaster what had happened to the city during the war. two years later in 1867, congress established another arm of the corps of engineers. specifically for washington. it was the offices in charge of public buildings and grounds and public parks in the national capital. the first incumbent was nathan michaeler and his first job by congressional order was to find a healthier place for the presidential mansion.
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the overcrowding during the war meant no central sewage system. that meant the streams and rivers were polluted. disease amonging the population all around the lower part of the city. also during the war, because of the forts and the fact that so many people were back and forth, they discovered, the county outside the city of washington. you call it countryside. much healthier. the air was clearer. there was now a newfound interest in living in the country. so michler's job was to find a place in rock creek park for a new presidential mansion.
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that is is drawing on the left. they were taught a thing or two about drawing thanks to west point. on the right his final decision was the new presidential mansion should be north of the capital near where the soldier's home was built. it was to be on the land provided, the form of w.w. corcran. this decision to build and create this new arm of the corps of engineers in charge of public buildings and grounds have long-term effects in terms of the interaction of the engineers with the architects who were designing these buildings.
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thomas lincoln casey graduated first in his class at west point. when he died in 1896, his obituary was on the front page of the new york times. he was so famous for what he had done in washington. the washington national monument was begun by a private froup of citizens and carried on until construction was stopped in 1854 for various political reasons. the certificates for this private society showed robert mills's original design with a colinaded base that was to be 100 feet tall and 250 feet in diameter. the obelisk was intended to be 600 feet tall. dhe funds were ultimately raise
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from private subscriptions. no money was to be taken from the government. the government was solicited for a place to put it. the fallback position when they were not raising the $6 million that they needed was to build the obelisk and have the stepped pyramid leading up to the opening door. you see that on the right. in 1876 after the monument had rusticating for more than two decades, casey was put in charge of completing it. which he did between 1876 and 1884. changing the design of very little in introducing cast-iron in innovative ways. he was the master constructor
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among the corps of engineers officers in washington. the two other buildings that he completed after they were begun by architects supervising construction of their own holdings but running into trouble as private individuals were the state navy building designed by alfred mullet and the library of congress. they were german-americans who won a competition. mullet navy wasgned the state the supervising architect of the treasury. this was the successor of the board of construction. it is that combination of
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engineer-architect in the treasury department who builds all of the courthouses, custom houses, as a offices around the country. that's one line of what's happening. the library of congress was a congressional project. the architect to won it had to casey during a long period of construction. casey cut the construction considerably. he gave back to the government $900,000. the corps of engineers has an amazing library of the construction of the buildings
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they have been involved in. they document almost monthly what has been achieved in that time. what casey did at that time was to -- because the stepped pyramids were stone he filled in the base, the pyramidal middle base. he covered it with concrete.
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finally, it was just a concrete pyramid. this was extremely controversial. windmills originally cited the monument and other foundation it did nots adamant eat any further support in order to survive. but since j.c. ives went with the confederacy, he was not believed. so it went forward. 1884 byompleted in casey to great acclaim. the navy building -- mullet was in charge of the south facade which is here. then when he moved around to the east one facing the white house,
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cock who isrville bab tooken michler and casey over this. he put two layers of stone on it. orville babcock was one of the few bad eggs. he was associated with the corruption of the grant administration. washingtonians loved him because he made all the public parks very habitable. he brought birds in, put iron seats in. landscaped them. washingtonians loved him but he was tinged with the odor of corruption. the great boast of the corps of engineers during the 19th century in washington was that it was disinterested.
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when other cities are going -- undergoing tremendous political corruption, the corps of engineers are doing that work without keeping meticulous records, coming in under budget. it was a different mark of distinction that the corp had during this time nationwide. the construction photograph that show the complexity of building these kind of buildings, the scale of this nature, using the equipment -- the primitive equipment they had.
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the library of congress working with bernard green who was a civil engineer, casey oversaw the construction. he thought of the interior decoration, the mirror lists and the sculptures, that is part of what he was doing as the architect. he was held in high esteem i congress and it all blew over. in 1871, congress passed legislation for what it called a territorial government. legally, the city of washington and the county of washington, the part that went to the
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district, became one city, one legal entity. there was a board of three different individuals. one was a democrat, one was a republican, and the third was alexander shepherd. he was most powerful because he ran the board of public works. within three years, there was an enormous debt. he accomplished a great deal. we showed the water mains and the gas lines and be doing all of the streets after the war.
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it was a blitz to rebuild a modern city on the ruins of a war-torn city. the costs went way over what congress had any idea they were going to pay for. there was an open sewer along constitution avenue that had never really functioned as it was intended to function. congress shut them down. shepherd went to mexico. in 1874, congress established a permanent territorial government with the three people running it, a major in the corps of
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engineers. between 1874 and 1967, the de facto mayor of washington was a member of the corps of engineers. everything you think about a you -- municipal government doing to run a city was done by these three men. they were in charge of the physical development of the city. this is a little understood aspect. it's incredibly crucial for the development of washington.
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it has been studied to some extent. the reports that they wrote, the maps they made detailing what they were doing over an incredible document. at the time this is created, the office is called the engineer commissioners of the district of columbia. they continued to make the same kinds of map that was done under the original government. this is a cartographic map called a schematic map. data is compiled in a visual
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way. it's easy to understand. for instance, on the right are the street pavements that were done in 1893. the colors of the maps are the different materials that had been experimented with throughout this time, different paving materials on the streets. some worked in some didn't and they were replaced. the complexity of what's going on in the city, the streets were being done and parking was being done alongside them. that is in the sense of parks. street trees inside the roads, but the sidewalk in the roadway. in that area went the new gas lines, the new water lines, etc.. this is an infrastructure that is put together at the same time. the image on the left of the street trees, this is considered
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one of the most astonishing aspects of what the territorial governments did. they replanted 90 different species of trees in the streets of washington. this is the 1880 map. some of the images of what those streets look like, the upper left is the ginkgo trees that were planted north of the mall along 12th street. on the right is the 1400 loch of h street downtown. these were considered the best downtown streets. they gave enough shade for both windows of buildings and also
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the streams. the foliage allowed for the circulation of air. the big problem with keeping these trees alive were the gas mains running under their roots and beside their roots. on the lower left for instance, chestnuts are a native american species that no longer exists. that's another long story. there were five blocks of this kind of continuous street tree. washington was known as the city of living green because of this. it was an amenity not intended to be so much as beautiful as it was, it was intended to solve the problems of the dust and the
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mud in the heat. it was a human health issue. just after the civil war begins the pleura for asian of the sale of arms outside florida avenue. there were four new suburban developments. there was no regard for the existing streets within the city that were attached to it. these were called the misfit subdivisions. you could not get from one to the other. the corps of engineers began a
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huge effort that lasted until the 1930's. they instituted a permanent system of high-rise -- highways where pierre charles l'enfant's planet was carried forth into the entire county. it was in enormous undertaking. the corps of engineers had to deal with all of the changing of streets, or streets had to be new ones. this is just one of the early maps that gives you 1886 and gives you an idea what was required close to the city. it was not such a serious problem outside the city.
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the engineers built the schools, maintained the schools and then they map -- mapped their locations and decided where they would go in terms of population density. notice they are blue and red. that map is 1907 on the left. the one of the right is a valuation of our real estate property. the darker the color was the higher the value of housing, real estate property. this is the kind of data that can be found there that they used as they planned the
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creation of a modern city. they worked closely. the commissioners worked closely with the other members, each of whom had its own line of city function that had to be dealt with. they worked with the health officers. the map on the left is lung disease in 1891. tuberculosis was killing a large amount of the population. it was very important to trace it where these instances were occurring. the red circle, squares, and x's for the populations. this was part of the problem in one of the reasons that led to the expansion of the city. it was the unhealthy aspect of living in the city.
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on the right side in 1894, a map showed the public pumps associated with the water system they had put in during the previous two decades where there were public pumps to get water. they have circles around them. they have dates beside them. there was a replacement of public pumps with the introduction into water in private houses. this is an extraordinary resource.
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it's important to also understand the range of what the corps of engineers was doing to make washington a modern city. another category of engineer that was created was the district engineer, washington district. their job was specifically to deal with the problem of the potomac river. there were three canals. it was connected to the washington city canal.
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this connected to the hydra canal. the city canal was an inland waterway. the silt in the bed of the potomac filled up on the outside of that inland waterway and clogged up river and ships could not -- there was no channel for ships to go to georgetown. the army corps of engineers, the district engineers undertook a multiyear roger. it was called the reclamation of the potomac flats.
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this was an important political issue because when land was originally sold in the 1790's, certain wards had water rights. they had to write -- the right to build public wards. what did they own was the big question. this led to a huge legal case. let's look for a moment at what peter haynes, he was in charge of the reclamation of the potomac. he created the washington channel. this was for private shipping. all of the mod and so forth that he claimed.
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notice the shape of the title basin. it was not designed to be a pretty place to go paddle boarding. it was an engineered solution on how to never dredge the potomac again. the two bridges you have all been across have been he found blocks that open and close. there is an inlet bridge and an outlet bridge. just the force of the tide and the shaping configuration of all of this meant the potomac has
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never needed to be dredged again. part of that was the creation not just of the extension but also the creation of the point. you may not have known white was called haynes point. part of what the commissioners did when they laid out the streets was they named them after themselves. you know the name of that place. here is haynes point, it's now going to be developed.
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it's at water level. in 1900, and army engineer who was the engineer commissioner and i forgot to tell you that group of army engineers who were engineer commissioners were the military attaches to the president. it was a very elite group. that meant they ran all the functions of the white house. all the parties. the time the mets would be introduced to the president.
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it was all run by these commissioners. in 1900, theodore bingham was the commissioner of public buildings and grounds. he held that position until 93. he proposed additions to the white house. he was a great friend of the first lady who was mrs. taft at this time. the top image is his solution in 1800 of what to do with that new made land west of the washington monument. that was to create large public parks for recreation use. these long straight drives that people could really let it go. they can head out up broad creek park.
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during the 1890's, senator james mcmillan of michigan had come to washington and he was the chairman of the senate committee on the district of columbia. in detroit, he had been involved in the creation of all of the infrastructure of modern detroit. he brought that knowledge to washington. he worked very carefully with the engineers as they worked out all of the infrastructure of washington. in 1800 -- 1900, he said the bones are there. now let's make it beautiful.
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he hired daniel burnham from chicago who had been in charge of the world's fair, daniel burnham hired the york architectural firm. they hired olmsted. he was the designer of central park. they were the commission of fine arts, the senate parks commission. that became the commission of fine arts in 1910. that's getting ahead of the story. this is their plan in 1901 and 1902. this is a visionary plan to take what was now a victorian brick city into a modern era where it was to be a white neoclassical city based on the architecture of the capital in the white
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house. they ended up with five crucial points. three of them were already there. the capital was the white house. they had a new monument. this was the monument to ulysses s grant. the monument here was to abraham when compared it's a long story. they did away with grant and his sculpture ended up the foot of the capital.
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they ran out of time. these were to be recreation holdings. theodore roosevelt became president when mckinley was assassinated. this was a major move at it. when the engineers came in conflict with the architects. just to give you one example, throughout the 19th century, the engineers had worked with private engineers to create bridges from arlington to washington that would have drawbridges. they were to keep the shipping lanes to georgetown opened. this was the victorian version. this was their neoclassical version. this was the best engineering solution to bring and connect the cemetery to washington's
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downtown streets. the commission of fine arts that was created in 1910 to carry out the commission favored the design of the park commission, it was a low roman aqueduct bridge. it all came to a very serious conclusion in 1921 and 1922. is there an image over there? his name is colonel cheryl. he was from north carolina. in 1921, he held as his position, he was secretary of the commission on fine arts, he was the man who ran the office in the meantime.
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at the same time, he was the executive officer for the arlington memorial bridge. for the army, he was in favor of this at the same time he is the secretary of the commission of fine arts. a third position he held concurrently was the liaison between the secretary of war, president harding, and charles moore. he was the liaison between them. finally, he was an officer of
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the robert e. lee memorial highway that wanted to bring memorial bridge is to be the robert e. lee memorial bridge and to come from arlington into downtown washington. there was a conflict of interest. this is what happened when these different parts of the city, they are all working together. he lost a lot of political. the firm of the designer of the mall was his successor. i have to speed along here. i'm going to show you one more thing and then cut it short. in 1905, the district engineer was spencer cosby.
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i swear they chose these guys who dealt directly with the president. they based it on being handsome. he had a diplomatic career as well. on the upper right, this is his drawing for developing this vast new land along the waterfront of this new made earth. all along the edge, i'm sorry. you can see all of these spots. he is proposing that they be planted with cherry trees.
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that was the gift of the city of tokyo to the city of washington. it has a long and interesting history. with mrs. taft, he arranged the ceremony for the planting of the first cherry trees. this was right here. we think of the cherry trees as the beginning of a tradition. it's the end of a long tradition of planting the streets of washington with trees. on the lower left is the contribution, the speedway. originally, it was for horses and buggies.
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it became a long wide highway where horse races and car races took place and west thome park. i told you you would learn things. 1931 on the left, they led the royal family on a trip to washington to view the cherry blossoms. the picture in the middle is 1925. you see sporadically how the
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trees are. many of them have died out. in 1925, the japanese made additional gifts of trees. on the lower right, in honor of the 100th anniversary of commodore matthew perry's opening of american trading in japan gave the gift of a 17th century japanese lantern. the pink ones that you see where the yoshimoto trees. they were the original ones that survived. they had guessed it had to be destroyed because they had insects. today, japanese tourists come to washington in great numbers at this time of year because the display of cherry trees is much greater than it is now in japan. now, the parks service is drafting shoots of trees and sending them back.
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have one more thing and then i will let you go home. the renovation of the white house was done by the corps of engineers working construction. the architect was lorenzo winslow, whose communication was via textbooks. architect,lf-taught never took architecture school. , the white8 and 1952 house was gutted. it was going to be stored and replaced.
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then the truman balcony, which at this period of time was , terrible enormous thing to do to the white house, but truman did. go to the white house today, i don't know if they is theell you -- this but of lorenzo winslow, it was all put together by major glenn and his core of engineer officers. you see there is a tremendous impact in the corps of engineers. of all of the sites in washington, the way the corps of influence, i had
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was recently sent this image of ,he current chief engineer meeting and giving a copy of the book to the saudi arabian prince. in saudi arabia to discuss with saudi engineers aood control, which is worldwide concern among engineers around the world. i checked with the government printing office bookstore, they did not have any more copies of the book. way for you easiest is to a digital copy coach the u.s. army corps of
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engineers digital library site and look up capital engineers. you can download a digital version. thank you very much, you have been very patient. [applause] sure. >> [indiscernible] when and how did that happen? originale signed the these line he signed all of his official correspondence.
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-- the original diesel nine. he signed all of his correspondence. original design, he signed all of his correspondence. i found only one document where he signs his name, and that is home to his family. he chose to become americanized. called the reason he was him aswas to denigrate this really crazy, very difficult engineer, to make him out as a caricature of a difficult frenchman.
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especially in a time of the , wherecommission plan later historians in the middle of the 20th century said that the senate park commission plan .as based on versailles it was not a was based on the city of paris. pierre right felt, as did the who went marching home again or sailing home again -- they hadhad one won freedom for america. npr felt the french aspects of his plan were perfectly justified for that very reason. that he had been an army fighting for american
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freedom along with many other people. i think he was known to himself as charles. there was one letter from james monroe to him after he goes through another terrible cycle in his life. writing him, offering him a job teaching at west point, and he's -- he starts the letter, my dear charles. this is your last chance. i don't know how it happened. he signed either p charles or he signed officially, he always signed peter charles.
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every memorial to congress, the map it self, as peter charles. [inaudible] >> 1967. between 1874 and 1967, a major in the corps of engineers and it was a stepping stone for them, they would hold those positions for five or six years and then move up and become a kernel and go on to some health, but this was a plum position that taught them engineering an organization at west point and also how to deal with all the political factions and problems that are -- that exist in every city.
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the fact that they held meetings , weekly, sometimes daily with the representatives of the neighborhood associations which blew up in the late 19 fate -- centuries as the neighborhoods have their own identity and their own separate problems, those never been associations dealt with the district buildings, it was built for them, that is where their offices were. . >> one comment is that you
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talked about pierre's design for the city and in major player at the time was thomas jefferson who was an ambassador who paris and i think that probably suited his aesthetic as well. i wanted to ask a question about your images, where they primarily from the engineering photo library and the library of congress and a third thing i would like you to comment on is, was -- in a separate thing, a midnight raid, i'm going to cost the street at some street which is where the old -- railroad station was. with the core involved in that -- it has been described as stealthily done, the update of the railroad line.
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i didn't -- >> you had two questions and i couldn't hear clearly what the first one was. the photographs, you will find them in most of the books -- on the bibliography that i gave you. the commissioner's maps which are wonderful, if you can find them intact, they were published on newspaper, the newspaper print, that thin paper, they were folded up many times and put in books of government printed documents and just the process of unfolding them, they have disintegrated in the
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collections in many of the institutions in washington. i do know that the historical society has a complete set of them disk bound so that you can use them there. the geography and map division has several of them, but it does not have a complete collection. if you have access to the u.s. congressional serial set that is online via proquest, they have much better interfaces and access to government printed documents than the library of congress website. they digitize the set that they used to digitize was complete and pristine -- so all of the maps and images can be downloaded through that site and in fact, you just need to find them because every year, the department annual reports ran from here -- so you have to find the right volume to get to.
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you can try the law library at the library of congress, although they are very low to serve the volumes that have these mass just because they are so fragile. the next question had to do with the railroad across the law that story is one of the major where the senate park commission planned for the mall to get the railroad off the mall. the story was that daniel burnham went to alexander is at
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and told him we are making a plan in which your railroad station has -- but the reality is that alexander rolled -- owned the two railroad lines they came in to washington. one from baltimore came in from the northeast and came up right where union station is, now. what was the baltimore and the public and the other one was the baltimore and the ohio -- one was the baltimore and the potomac and the other was the baltimore and the ohio.
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he wanted to consolidate them until late -- into a single railroad that he called union station. he told daniel burnham this is where you will put my new railroad station. it is a long story and i gave a talk on this in chicago and they nearly threw me out of the auditorium. the story of the victorian railroad going across the mall and its affect on the city, there is an excellent article in washington history about that if
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you do not know that article. i would suggest that you find it. washington history is online now through j store, but takes the whole history of that, of what happened. it is too long and complex to go through, tonight. >> thank you so much for being here. [applause] i will put in a plug for the historical society of washington, d.c.. they're the ones that publish washington history and have a lot of resources if you want to check them out. >> american history tv on c-span3. tonight at eight eastern on lectures in history. >> we see new factors making emancipation desirable, all kinds of obstacles falling by the wayside, with the result by august, it is not earlier 1862. lincoln has decided that when the time is right he will announce a new aim for the


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