tv American History TV CSPAN August 23, 2014 5:00pm-5:57pm EDT
c-span.org. let us know what you think about the programs. #c123.ich are used the conversation, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> next, alison fortier looks at throughoutsites washington, d.c. the heritage foundation hosted this hour event. a particularly favorite subject of mine. i thought i would never live to see the day of a rock star historian. i am very grateful to have a special guest with us today who
can tell us something about the city in which we live. most of us passed through the strict of columbia daily and get lost in our routines. many of us do not even take the time to perhaps look at the capitol zone and appreciate what it is as we have a chance to pass by it. some things, of course, are missing. the baltimore and potomac railroad station, for example. they must location. those who know the history of d.c. know that is where president garfield was shot. we know where ford the writer is, but you never see anything about the garfield assassination. that's because you have to go through the west building of the national gallery to be standing on the ground of that original location. progressivism and architecture in the district in the turn of the century as well, and that building was torn down. you might pass by on h street the wonderful little bistro wok and roll. if you like chinese food, that is probably a nice place to stop
in. please make sure you read the plaque on the building. it was mary surratt's boardinghouse. of course, the district can create controversy out of anything. i'm sorry -- i don't know if this is in your book, but it is spelleding that tunlaw backwards is walnut, so they have tried to make a great deal .f that aspect what's the secret? which essentially, there's not one, so that is typically of history as well. i'm really pleased to have alison fortier with us. she has worked at the state department. she also served in the national security council at the white house, so she knows not only history but political history. we look forward to her remarks and welcome her to heritage. alison. [applause]
>> thank you very much very kind introduction and obviously, if i do a revision of this book, i need to consult you because i just learned a few things. are very knowledgeable about washington. for those of us who live in washington, we are often frustrated by what we see in the city. we see the discord. we see the government shutdowns. we see the inability to get his done. legislation is not passed. is passed, weon do not like it. actink it is useful to step for a moment and to think about the foundations of washington, d.c. the subtitle of my book is "designed for democracy," and that's what i will focus on today -- how the city of washington, d.c., is based on democratic and sybil's and how it has come to its greatest in those moments
when it sought to fulfill those greatest democratic rentals. the founding fathers wanted a new capital for the new country. not surprisingly perhaps, they could not agree on where that new capital would be. over thiseement decision became so extreme that there was some concern that it would break the young country apart. they wanted the capital to be thewhere near the center of united states, but then they could not agree on what was the center of the united states. for the southerners, they wanted .t or the geographic center for the northerners, they wanted it near the population center, and that would have placed the capital closer to philadelphia and new york. just when things were getting really heated, thomas jefferson
invited alexander hamilton and james madison to dinner. alexander hamilton, then secretary of the treasury, he was a new yorker. the northern states wanted the the debt,sumption of meaning during the revolutionary war, the northern states had run up a great deal of debt while the southern states had not. the southern states wanted none of this. they wanted individual states to pay off their debt. the southern states wanted the capital closer to where we are today. in a grand compromise, thomas jefferson, alexander hamilton, and james madison of virginia, decided to package these two decisions into a grand compromise, so the united states government assumes the dead of the states from the revolutionary war, and the capital would be closer to the
place that the southern states wanted, and this compromise was a very important point in the early history of our country and helped solidify the country and helped solidify democracy. , in fact,stitution had talked about a federal as aict that would serve home for the capital, and washington, d.c., is the only city in the country, the only created bye country the constitution. article one describes the legislative towers. it also describes a federal therict that would serve as capital of the new united states. with these two facts in hand, congress passed legislation deciding that george washington, the father of our country, would be responsible for selecting the exact site that would serve as
the capital. george washington lived just down the river at mount vernon. his home was on the potomac, so thiss commonly known at time that he would pick a location somewhere near mount and somewhere on the potomac river. in fact, he picked georgetown, maryland, as the site of the new .apital congress gave washington not only the uproar it he to pick the location, but they also gave him the authority to select three commissioners and an architect to define the new city . it was andrew ellicott and benjamin banneker who set the outline for the district of columbia 10 miles on each side from land donated by both maryland and virginia. interestingly enough, benjamin , andker was a free black
he and andrew ellicott were good friends. if you go looking for these boundaries today, many of which still exist, the ones that are most accessible happen to be in the state of virginia. in jones point park in alexandria, and two others are in parks in virginia. if you go to those particular boundary stones, you will see thefar into virginia district of columbia once reached. but in 1846, virginia reclaimed donated,that it had and today, the district of columbia is on land strictly donated by the state of maryland. to peerashington turned long phone to design the city of washington that would house our ,ederal government institutions and he was a frenchman who had come here in the passion of the revolutionary war.
we had many supporters from the french. he was one of them, and he designed a plan based on democratic principles. first of all, he selected the highest point that was to be in the city of washington to serve as the site of the legislative ranch, and this is very important. after all, our founding fathers had rebelled against the monarchy of king george iii, and what they were trying to establish was the importance of democracy and the power of the people. so the highest elevation was set .or the legislative house that became known as the united states capital. been banneker selected a site right in the heart of the city for the executive mansion as it was then called. this was to signify that the to live and work
in the heart of the people that .e was to serve to this day, the executive mansion or the white house, as it has been known since the presidency of theodore roosevelt, is the only executive mansion in the world regularly open to the public, and this is very significant. it is a very important principle of american democracy, that any one of us can go and visit the white house. if you want to visit a member of congress, it takes a little time, but you can go a visit. it is very open and accessible to the public. you may have seen -- there has been some discussion about this in local media recently, but it was also said there should be no obstruction between the executive mansion and the legislative house. no tall buildings. they were to be able to view each other at all times, keep an
eye on each other. our system of checks and balances. he also created in his plans a large, broad avenue that would connect the executive mansion to thategislative house, and was so they could communicate back and forth. in those days, they did not have cell phones. they had to go back and forth by carriage. this was intended to ensure ther communication between two branches of government. it is interesting to note, although the judicial branch, of course, was also created by the constitution, there was no separate the link for the supreme court until 1935. was always court housed in the u.s. capital, and the increasingh activism of the supreme court in gainedh century that it its own building, the
magnificent building across from the united states capital. i would like to point out one that datestution 1800, and that is the library of congress. the library of congress is an important part of our democracy because it signifies the need to havef the open access to information, and as we read what goes on around the world, we appreciate that we in this country have open access this is theon, and abiding principle of the library of congress. it was originally housed in the capital. it was started with $5,000. part ofefferson sold his marvelous collection to the library of congress. also,f those, unfortunately burned, but they persisted, and the library of congress has persisted as a guardian of open access.
it also, of course, maintains our copyright system, which is very, very important. one way to appreciate or to walk this pattern of the l'enfant plan is freedom plaza on pennsylvania avenue down through the white house has the l'enfant planned extant to the surface, also with quotes by pr -- pa or and others'enfant about democracy. it's a nice little treat if you are down in that area. , notwithstanding this auspicious start, really did not amount to much in the first part of the 19th century. there was a lot of frustration in the city, and a lot of discussion -- "we should leave this. we should move elsewhere. we should go to philadelphia," inch was a temporary capital
1790. it was the biggest city at the time. you had open, sewers, very little buildings, and you also had slavery. the largest slave trading organization in the united states was based in washington, d.c., until 1846 when that part of washington, d.c., was returned to the state of virginia. you may be aware that international slavery was banned , but the slave trade was not banned, and it was alive and well in the district of columbia until 1850 when it was banned as part of the grand compromise that agreed which to thewould be admitted union as slave states and which would be admitted as free states .
there are a lot of free blacks in washington, but there were a lot of slaves as well. it was really with the civil war that the debate about whether or not the federal government should keep the capital here in washington or move elsewhere was .inally put to rest this was when washington, d.c., began to grow and take on a real identity. first of all, many people came here. theiers came here to defend city. people came here to build fortifications. until the civil war, we were largely in an fortified city, as evidenced in the war of 1812, which had also been one of the issues stimulating people to say that we should move the capital elsewhere, because the british came in august of 1814 and burned the city. many of our buildings -- the white house became uninhabitable, and the capital was burned as well. that was another factor. they realized after the civil
war they would have to fortify the city. it also became a magnet for escaping slaves, and there was a in theroup of slaves southern states who fled to washington and who lived in what they called contraband camps, and this also swelled the population of the city. i would say that washington, d.c., is the place to be if you want to feel the spirit of abraham lincoln and what he did in terms ofntry keeping the union together and one coming to realize that of the fundamental objectives of the civil war also had to be emancipation of the slaves. if you go to the white house, there is a very moving portrait lincoln by george healey in the state dining room. the lincoln cottage -- and a lot of people -- i talk about the lincoln cottage a lot because a lot of people are not aware of it.
it only opened in 2008. president lincoln spent about one quarter of his presidency in the lincoln cottage. it's fairly modest, but it was outside of the center of the city. it was away from the white house for people who were always bothering him about something, and away from the disease and the heat of downtown washington, d.c., so he and his family would escape. he would ride back and forth on his horse, sometimes alone, and go to the lincoln cottage. high elevation. he could also look out and see the dome of the capital that was under construction, and it was one of his objectives that the toitol dome be completed show the strength of the union. sadly, we know today that many of the people who worked on that dome were slaves, but for abraham lincoln, it was also a
symbol of the union. if you go to the grounds of the lincoln cottage today, you can walk and see the capitol dome from there, and it remains a very inspiring site. also, sadly, you can go to the ford theater, where he was shot, and then you can cross the street and go to the peterson house where abraham lincoln died. you can also -- very recently, you may be aware there was a commemoration of the battle of warts stevens where in 1864, president lincoln went to fort confederatehe forces were approaching washington. he remains to this day the only american president who has ever deliberately placed himself in the field of fire, and there was live action going on around him. there were some apocryphal stories -- not sure of the accuracy, but there was definitely risk to his life, and
the remnants of fort stevens are well worth a visit today. of the things, of course, where you can feel the spirit of abraham lincoln is the lincoln memorial. it was not built until -- open until 1926, but you can still very much go there and feel who this man is, what he brought to our country, what his ideals and goals were for our country, and they continue to inspire today. it was during the presidency of abraham lincoln, as we all know, that in 1863, he issued the .mancipation proclamation he also emancipated the slaves in the district of columbia a year earlier. after all, this was a federal district. the federal government had a little bit more control over it. he wrote much of the emancipation proclamation at lincoln cottage, and that is part of the tour when you go there.
after the civil war, washington was the capital of the winning side, and that brought it increasing credibility. there was no more talk of moving the capital elsewhere. washington, d.c., became solidified as the united states after the civil war, there were several people who sought to beautify the city. one who was from washington paved the streets, covered the sewers, made many improvements. bankrupt in the city, but he did a lot of good for washington, d.c. around the turn-of-the-century, there was a mcmillan commission, so named because it was chaired by senator mcmillan. this effort was part of the city
's beautiful movement, and many of the really beautiful buildings -- i personally think the library of congress is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. union station from 1908 compares favorably with any train station and if you have been to penn station in new york, you know what i'm talking about. and then there was also a movement of many of the wealthy from around the country seeing washington as a fashionable place. they want to come here, so they built many beautiful homes. the social season, wisely, was january and february as opposed to july and august. this was definitely before it conditioning -- air conditioning, but you can today go to dupont circle and walk down massachusetts avenue. many of these homes are still in existence. most are embassies and private clubs. the one that still remains as a
home from that time that is open to the public and is free is the anderson house, which is on assachusetts avenue and is lovely visit. also after the civil war, one aspect -- several aspects, actually, of l'enfant's original plan were fulfilled. one was the mall. the mall was cleaned up. and the smithsonian institution began building along the mall. it began, and there was a washsonian at first, and it largely for scientific research, but by the and of the 19th century, the new director decided that the smithsonian should be open to the public. it should not just be for scientists. it should be for people to come to and appreciate the culture of the, the science united states. now we have, i believe, 18
smithsonian institutions in washington, most of which are on continuingnd we are to build in 2015 the national museum of african american will open. the museum of natural history is the second most attended museum in the world. only the louvre in paris beats us out. air and space, i believe, is number three. these are very, very popular institutions. also, l'enfant had put in his thatthe maddening circles today we have to drive around, but they were meant -- circles and parks -- to beautify the city and to give the american public a place to promenade, a place to appreciate. one of the things in this book, although it lived in washington for 30 years, that i never realized -- they are all named after civil war heroes.
.cott, thomas, logan, mcpherson what am i missing? you know, just one after the other, these were civil war generals. dupont. civil war generals -- seward was .ecretary of state this all came about in the second half of the 19th century. finally, there was some money, and there was the commitment to washington of the capital to populate these circles and make them a thing of beauty. most of them are still a thing of beauty today. if you need a little bit of an upgrade. of anew need a little bit upgrade. it was really in the 20th century that washington became the city that we know and love and appreciate today. there were several things that happened in the 20th century. probably all aware that george ,ashington, when he left office
and again, we celebrate the fact that he left after two terms and declined the opportunity to turn newpresidency into a american monarchy, but he gave some good advice. foreign "no entanglements. stay out of it. focus on business at home." by a large, most of the 19th century, that's what americans did. even woodrow wilson, when he was campaigning for his second term as president of the united states, campaign on the slogan -- he kept us out of the war, meaning world war i, but we did enter the war. we fought for freedom. we entered world war ii. we fought against tyranny. since then, we have been engaged in many other conflicts -- the korean war, the vietnam war, the wars in iraq and afghanistan, some of which are very controversial. divided opinion on them.
but in most cases, the motivation for them is preserving freedom and democracy and american national security. washington, d.c., has become the center and the focal point for national military museums and memorials in the country. you only have to go to the world war ii memorial and see the world war ii veterans who come there and how strongly they feel about coming back to understand what this means to them, what these memorials in the recognition of the fact that they served and so many gave so much to keep us free. i think i would like to mention, too, one of my avery memorials that is smaller and less well-known, but in some ways, i
find it quintessentially name,an, has a very long so i always forget it. i have to read it, but it is the national japanese-american memorial to patriotism during world war ii. it is actually quite close to the heritage foundation. it is on the senate side of the capital. this veryriking about small memorial, which involves a water feature, cherry blossom cherry blossom trees in the spring, and this beautiful sculpture of two cranes in twined in circled by barb dwyer is that it is a memorial both to the japanese-americans who were interned during world war ii -- there were 10 large caps across , and after pearl harbor, there was a very strong reaction and concern about .apanese-americans
so there were large caps set up across the country to intern them during the duration of the war. an memorial includes official united states government apology to the japanese issued by president ronald reagan. the other half of the memorial and what makes this striking is it recognizes the service of the 2ndr 42nd regiment -- 44 regiment, the most decorated regiment of world war ii, and it was comprised of japanese-americans who served in european theater. thend this to be part of compromise, part of the thisnition that although is a very flawed country at times, that underlying it all are these democratic principles that hold us together, that
inspire others, and that have made washington known internationally as the capital of the free world. there were other movements in washington in the 20th century. they made this the place to come, the place to be. one of my favorites that i like to talk about early in the 20th century is the women's suffrage movement. movement ind the chautauqua, new york, but came and formed organizations here to try to gain the right to vote for women. the march down pennsylvania avenue the day before president woodrow wilson's first jeered.tion, they were they were shoved. they had things thrown at them. they were arrested, and when they were arrested, they were force fed, and some of them worsen to insane asylum is because of course, if you wanted women, youo vote for
had to be crazy. also, the women suffragettes were the first to picket the white house, which has become a long-standing tradition in american protest. if there is something you do not like, there is a permitting process today, but you can go and pick at the white house. it was the women suffragettes who started that. --o, the role of government certainly heritage is very active in debating what should be the role of government, how large should it be, and this is a very healthy debate, but the role of government has gotten larger. somel security -- there's beautiful murals in what is today the voice of america building. thatof the departments were created during the 20th century to address issues across the united states are open to
touring. the department of interior -- beautiful ansell adams photographs. other beautiful artifacts. many people do not realize that you can tour the treasury .uilding this is an absolutely beautiful building. the cash rooms. you can go and see where andrew johnson sat after he succeeded abraham lincoln, and he was waiting for mary todd lincoln, who did not want to see the -- who did not want to leave the white house. his office, at which is still a working office in the treasury today. i think probably the civil rights movement encapsulated the fact that if you have a problem with washington, you need to come here to make your point about it. the march on washington for jobs and freedom in 1963, which was timed to coincide with the 100 anniversary of the emancipation proclamation, was a major, major demonstration in washington that
contributed greatly to changing racial relations in this country and leading to greater equality and justice in this country. but there have been many, many , discussions, and washington is very often the center of those, and very often, at the lincoln memorial, this president who did so much to keep the country together -- his memorial has become the meeting point for those who seek change. , and i would end my remarks today with the invitation to each of you -- if you have not already done this, but i suspect many of you already have -- to go to the lincoln memorial, sit on the steps, look out across the reflecting pool, look down toward the washington monument and across to the united states
capitol, and reflect upon what your country means to you. thank you very much. [applause] >> stop and smell the roses of the district for a change. we will take questions. we do have copies of the book available for purchase, and allison will be glad to sign them and talk with you up here, but if you have questions, we ask you to wait for the microphone and recognition so that everyone can hear your question. i have one to start with, and we will go with whoever andrew finds first. it is interesting that l'enfant did not read the constitution in that we have three branches of government and he gave ofminence to the location the executive and legislative, but the judiciary stayed in a way under the foot of the legislative. any back on us to why or what? or was it just a matter of his
experience? >> i think it is partly -- i mean, when you go into the u.s. and see, there are two rooms where the supreme court .at they are absolutely beautiful rooms. they are very significant. i don't think that it was necessarily dismissing the judicial branch, but certainly, and again, there is debate on this in washington every day, but the activism of the judicial it a much bigger force in the 20th century, and it was also initially in the 19th century -- the capital kept expanding to accommodate more senators, more members of congress, then the judicial branch, but it got to the point where there was no room for them. were with the
legislative branch and not down with the executive branch. >> questions from the audience? surely. sorry, wait for the microphone, please. >> are there historic buildings in washington that are in danger of decaying or being lost? >> there are. in fact, there is a very active website where they monitor buildings at risk, neighborhoods at risk. a lot of development in washington. the good news is that the high point of population in washington was after the term of franklin delano roosevelt, who grew the federal government massively, and washington grew along with it. then the population of thisngton declined until last census. it's the first time the
population again grew. threats that has come to buildings. explained it is 12 chapters. there is a brief narrative in each chapter, and then you go to the site that illustrates the narrative. we are also fortunate because there were so many buildings that were almost torn down that were at risk, whether it was the eisenhower executive office building, the patent office was , andt torn down fortunately, many of them were saved, but not all of them. -- i think it was yesterday, we have an example of the old post office, which was a very ungainly building. most of washington government architecture is this kind of -- i'm going to blank on it --
classic style. here you have the old post office pavilion, which is romanesque and sticks out like a sore thumb. now it is becoming a luxury hotel. so it will be preserved. but maybe it would be nice if it could have been preserved as the .ost-office another example of that, although i think a good outcome occurred, is the very important .ranklin school washington, in the late 19th century was considered a place of great learning and scientific discovery. alexander graham bell conducted many of his experiments here and was one of the founders of the national geographic society. at the franklin school was very advanced school, recognized internationally. it was a homeless shelter.
it has been sitting empty for years. now it is going to be an arts space, so the building will be preserved, and franklin square is going to be spruced up. it's greatly in need even of grass, frankly. i admire these people. they watch it every day. there are a group of people who live in washington who are very activist. >> let me go to the back. right here in the middle. >> fantastic talk. thank you very much. what would be your recommendation if you could choose just one for that undiscovered, off the beaten path, out of the usual guidebook? >> i mentioned a couple. the japanese memorial, the
lincoln cottage. one that i forgot to mention that i would recommend highly to all of you before the summer is over for all of you, if you really want to get your patriotic juices flowing, if you go to the marine war memorial, commonly known as the iwo jima memorial, they have concerts on tuesday nights. they are free. ,ou go to arlington cemetery which i did not talk about today , but i can talk about it if anyone is interested. you go to the visitor center. you can either pay to park or you take the metro, and they have free buses. you can bring along check -- lawn chair, sit on the grass, young and old. little kids can run around, bring a snack. and the precision drill where they are throwing rifles that are bayoneted to music. as the lights go down and the dusk occurs, you look toward the memorial.
a real american flag is flowing, and you look beyond to the city of washington. even now, it gives me goosebumps. i hope people know about that. all the military services have wonderful free concerts. i do have in the book free contribution or interest-free -- or entrance fee. there is so much that is free in the city. you can go for a little while. one of the -- i mentioned the civil war. one of my favorites is the sheridan statue. been around sheridan circle a million times. one day i was stuck in traffic -- what a surprise -- and i looked up and thought that that is the most magnificent statue that i have ever seen. done byoked, and it's the same artist to did mount
rushmore. i would also highly recommend the museum of american history. americana wing on military involvement, military history, and i came around the corner. i had seen this beautiful statue of general sheridan on his horse, and there is reagan's he stuffed inrienzi the smithsonian. he's this beautiful black horse, which they say is preserved, but, you know, he is stuffed. [laughter] >> i recently moved here from moscow, which has one of the most beautiful subway systems in the world. how would you rate washington's metro system? [laughter] >> since i have driven here a i love the metro. i was on the redline yesterday,
and say what you will -- it's clean. i think it functions well. it moves a lot of people. they had a tragedy in moscow recently, and we have had our tragedies here, too, but i love the metro, and i think it is our right to complain about it. the blue lineor because they are apparently going to be put at a disadvantage by the silver line. >> i work here at heritage. one thing i've noticed since moving here is that you get this strange dichotomy between the federal city and the "real d.c. ," the city that is not part of the federal city. the one thing i have been astounded by is the amount of cultural history you find here, especially with jazz. another thing i was surprised to
learn in the last couple of years was the u line arena on h street, which is today and abandoned shell of itself, was actually the sight of the first beatles concert in the united withs and had a history the civil rights movement as well. i wondered if you had some history about some of the more culturally significant aspects of the city in addition to the politically important ones. >> i have been very forced rated -- frustrated by guidebooks where you have 10 chapters, and the 11th chapter says, "by the way, there's a black history trail." i did make an attempt to integrate the history of african-americans, as they are an integral part of the city, from the time of slavery, but there were free blacks here. there were many free blacks here in georgetown. the fact that there was a freedman'svillage --
village at arlington cemetery. howard theatre and the lincoln theater. i tried not to include commercial entities. i thought if i started down this path, and because all , i electeds so much not to do that, but because i had ford's theatre and the kennedy center, i wanted to put lincoln theater and howard the in.-- howard theatre very vibrant city, increasingly. one great place to go for a the synagogue, and i do have some of the churches in washington because i wanted to
.ut the national cathedral in a very vibrant religious history, but i touch upon those rather than to go in to them deeply. i have a question before we go on. i want to ask this question here because i know it is a very educated audience, and i have asked this question of other groups where i have spoken -- which president -- and i have always stumped the audience, so i want to see whether anyone can guess the right answer here -- which president pardoned robert lee?- robert e. anyone know? after the end of the civil war, told his troops, "lay down your arms, go home, swear allegiance to the united states," which he did, and he
reapplied for united states citizenship. it was gerald ford who pardoned him. so i am 100% on that one. shows and movies center around washington, d.c. i would like to hear your opinion on whether or not this accurately depicts the city and all of its beauty. >> that bruce willis movie that i love, "live free or die," and he comes to washington, d.c., in that movie. ever watch tver, shows that are set in washington, d.c. people have told me that my cover looks a lot like the ,"tflix show "house of cards which was unintended, but "house
of cards" is filmed in baltimore . for me, i have lived here for 30 years, and it just bothers me too much. i watch murder stuff -- tbs murder mysteries. but if it brings in tax dollars, why not? revenue, why not? >> the washington monument is off-center, and i wondered if you could tell us a little bit of the reasoning for that asymm etry. there was not an original washington monument in the l'enfant -- there was an original washington monument in the l'enfant, but it looked very different. it had a massive statue around the base of horses, and that one was not held. form that weelisk know today that was very popular in the 19th century. it was a form that napoleon had
butght back from egypt, actually, if you look at washington, it was more or less on the perpendicular intersection of a point between the capital and the white house, so it is pretty close. there is a map in the center of a nationalhich is park service map, and one of the happy discoveries i made was that this map was done with appropriated u.s. dollars. it has no copyright restriction, so i was able to use it, but if you look at it, it was pretty close to that point between the executive and the legislative. >> i just wondered if you could talk about why pierre l'enfant was dismissed and why he did not get the building design for the capitol. man, was a very difficult and he irritated everybody,
including the three commissioners, so they dismissed him. it was actually quite sad. thathave this in my book he was never paid for his book. he repeatedly petitioned to be paid. he was not paid, and he died in poverty. he was buried, and i'm not sure exactly where he was buried, but in the 19th century in a state of her more's, the government to him dug up and moved arlington cemetery. so his grave site is very close to the arlington house, and, of course, the arlington house was the home of robert e. lee, who vacated it very quickly once he decided not to go with the union but with the confederacy in his home state of virginia. family left suddenly, and the federal government took it over. since lee was a slaveholder,
man'sdecided to have freed village on the grounds of arlington, and this was also the grounds of arlington cemetery. in the 20th century -- i'm answering way more than your question, but where the lincoln memorial was built, and then the memorial bridge joined arlington house, they look at each other in a grand gesture of reconciliation between north and south. this is in 1926. feelings are still pretty heated den. then.tty heated >> of the three ports of arlington, bladensburg, and georgetown, definitely bladensburg has not changed for a while. it is like a huge industrial site intermixed with historic holdings like benjamin
stoddard's old house and some of these other places that had been .here i was wondering whether you were able to -- i think now is the time to rediscover this. especially now. i think it is the 200th anniversary of the burning of washington, which used as its .ase bladensburg >> right. yeah, i do not have anything on bladensburg in this book. i tried to focus on washington proper. i do have, like, freedom house. you are looking for a another relatively undiscovered museum, the freedom house is located on the franklin and armfield slave trading business that was the largest. it is very small, but it is a very moving museum. i believe the story of solomon in there, who was in
"12 years a slave." i also have the home of benjamin banneker -- well, his home museum but there is a there. i do not have bladensburg. it was called when the american calledrs of washington the bladensburg races because they retreated so fast. it is worth exploring. the history press who published my book is wonderful. it is a regional history publisher, and they do a lot of regional history books. there is one on silver spring in the civil war. do not know whether they have one on bladensburg or not, but they have quite a few books on the area. it would definitely be worth looking in. >> there is the original fdr
memorial outside in the archives, and then there's the new one. do you know why they built a new one when the old one was what fdr specified? well -- and i think i forgot a few. the congressional cemetery, pierce mill, the old fdr memorial -- i forgot to put that in, but it is still there. there's a lot of controversy now about the eisenhower memorial and whether or not he would want a very large memorial. is, frankly -- seems to be the trend at the moment. you know, there has been discussion about truman. the state department is named for harry s truman, and there has been a bill introduced in name union station
because he needs a building. well, he has a building. i don't know. i don't remember exactly. abouttalking to someone the jefferson memorial, and fdr that memorial. apparently, it is because jefferson was a democrat, and there had been a huge memorial to lincoln, the republican. there is a little bit -- when the state department was named for harry truman, the executive office building was named for eisenhower, and that's a real mouthful. i try to adhere to that, but it is a real mouth full. four-term president, and i think you probably have to go back and look at which party controlled congress. >> we have another question, yes, in the back. >> from time to time, the l'enfant plan is disrupted by some tacky office building.
how does this happen? it'sll, you know, i mean, true, but even mentioning the and iower memorial -- have not followed all the ups of downs of that, but one the latest revisions is apparently to take down this huge metal curtain that would have obstructed the clear view from one aspect of washington -- would have extracted -- what have obstructed the clear view of the capitol. also the limitation on the heights of buildings in in part, the inspiration for that was the l'enfant plan. you know, there still seems to be quite a bit of care taken that his buildings are allowed to beat hollow than 110 feet. mall,ill be away from the
away from the central government buildings, but i live in maryland. if you want to see interesting development, go to bethesda. i mean, it's a mess, but it won't cause any more traffic. as we all know wherever we live, it,appens -- i mean some of 14th street developments -- i read this website every day, and there's a lot of concern. i have children and i wonder how they will ever be able to afford housing in washington. you see that, but when i first came to washington, you were not sure you wanted to drive up 14th street, but if you did, it was prostitutes. certainly, going to 14th street today and sitting outside and eating at a restaurant or going to studio theater -- it's a lot more fun than seeing a parade of prostitutes. >> do we have one final question?