Washington DC. For many people these days, when they hear those words, they conjure up images of the vicious partisan politics which has been plaguing this country of late. They think of Republicans and Democrats in Congress at loggerheads against each other to such a severe degree that it often seems like little gets done. But what a great number overlook or forget is that Washington DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire country. Really, it is. Why, do you ask? I think it’s a combination of its distinctive layout, beautiful architecture, extensive monuments, and lovely parks. First, the layout. While Washington DC has the traditional north south and east west grid system of roads, it is also crisscrossed with impressive avenues that run diagonally through the city. This distinctive layout of streets creates unique intersections, such as traffic circles the centers of which often contain impressive monuments. There are also numerous parks, big and small, scattered throughout the city which frequently contain statues and other monuments. Then you have the impressive architecture of the city which includes a variety of styles such as Classical, Neoclassical, Greek Revival, Palladian, Second Empire, Modern, and Postmodern. Another vitally important facet of the characteristic look of Washington DC is the fact that homes and buildings are not allowed to exceed a certain height. There are no skyscrapers within the city limits. The reason for this is so that the US Capitol Building and other monuments can impressively stand out instead of being overshadowed. And of course, one can’t forget the heart and soul of Washington DC: the National Mall. This beautiful park runs from the US Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial between which stands the towering Washington Monument. Lining each side are impressive national museums, including the National Gallery of Art as well as multiple branches of the Smithsonian Institution. The result is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire country. And if you don’t believe me, check out these photos. I think they’ll prove my point Enjoy.
Washington DC. It’s a beautiful city full of powerful government buildings, majestic monuments, blocks of lovely old townhouses, amazing museums, and wonderful restaurants. Just east/southeast of the White House between Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Avenue, and 15th Street NW are the impressive, neoclassical buildings that make up the formidably large Federal Triangle complex. These grand structures are full of offices where people work throughout the week keeping the bureaucracy of government churning along. Next to the office buildings is the stunning columned National Archives. But it wasn’t always this way. Nope. The structures there now were built in the 20th Century. Before this, the neighborhood was quite different. Like night and day different. Put it this way, during the latter half of the 1800s, this neighborhood had several names including Hooker’s Division and Murder Bay. Back then, the area was often pretty rough and consisted of smaller buildings and houses, many of which contained saloons and bordellos. Gambling and prostitution were prevalent as was theft, fighting, and the occasional murder. During the Civil War, Union troops were frequently encamped in and around the city. In their off hours, the soldiers would often seek out places to drink, gamble, and have sex. As a result, prostitution in the neighborhood became very common. Apparently, for a while, Union General Joseph Hooker ordered all the city’s prostitutes to congregate in this neighborhood, thus the nickname Hooker’s Division. Though, it should be noted that the referring to prostitutes as hookers probably predates this time. Immediately after the war, it seems to have been a working class neighborhood that became much rougher as the years went by. Gambling, drinking, prostitution, and theft were extensive and murders were not uncommon. Many would say don’t go south of Pennsylvania Avenue after dark, and supposedly, many police agreed and stayed away at night themselves. There are reports that as a result, volunteer firefighters may have taken on the role of peacekeepers at times. This is considerably ironic since they were often a tough, rowdy bunch and likely started quite a few drunken brawls themselves. In 1914, Washington DC began to seriously crackdown on prostitution which led to the closure of the bordellos. The Federal Government acquired the area and eventually tore down the old buildings and replaced them with the structures you see today.
7-8-20 I’m going to admit that personally, I’ve never been into watching football or the like. Just not my thing, but I realize that it’s a big deal to many people. A way to escape everyday life and enjoy yourself. And that is definitely important. What I’m talking about here is the Washington, DC football team’s nickname. Folks, the term “redskin” is very insulting and racist against Native Americans. Just look at history to see how the word has been used in the past as a derogatory, racist slur. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was known to be used by white Americans, or Europeans, who were hunting Native Americans in order to kill them, often collecting scalps as proof. Add to that, all the other betrayals, abuse, violence, and suffering Native Americans have had to endure since Europeans began arriving on North American shores and anyone should be able to see how wrong and hurtful it is using this term as a professional sports team’s nickname. It is way past time to change it. To find a nickname everyone in the community can support and get behind. Maybe have a naming contest where people can submit ideas. Turn the process into a fun, unifying event. However it is done, Washington needs a new nickname for its NFL football team.
Yes, you heard me right! But first, let’s start at the beginning. John Quincy Adams was born in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts in 1767. He was the eldest son of John and Abigail Adams, who were both very important figures in the early United States. His father was a member of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution, served as a diplomat in Europe, and became the 2nd American President. As a result, young John Quincy grew up among numerous movers and shakers including some in European countries. He was very intelligent, learning multiple languages and was an avid reader. Apparently, he had hoped to pursue a career in writing; though, his future lay in politics. John Quincy Adams had a long career as a civil servant and politician. He served as a diplomat overseas, was a member of the United States Senate, became Secretary of State, and was the 6th President of the United States after which he had a long career as a member of the House of Representatives. As a matter of fact, he is the only person to serve in the House after being President. In many ways, he was ahead of his time. He despised the institution of slavery and was more sympathetic to the rights of Native Americans than many of his contemporaries. As much as he hated slavery and fought against it, John Quincy Adams predicted that the only way the terrible institution would come to an end would be if the Southern states ended it voluntarily or if there was a civil war. He also predicted that if there was a civil war, the president of the time would use war powers to end slavery. This is quite close to what actually happened since Abraham Lincoln used the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery in the Confederate states. In 1797 London, Adams married Louisa Johnson, the daughter of the US consul to Britain. They had 3 sons and 1 daughter together. Tragically, two died as young men after battles with alcoholism. One possibly from suicide. John Quincy likely suffered from depression and had a serious disposition much of the time. In politics, he became well known for his oratory, giving powerful impassioned speeches. In fact, when his end finally came in 1848, he was giving a fiery speech in Congress when he collapsed from a stroke. He died two days later in the US Capitol Building. Obviously, John Quincy Adams spent many years living in Washington DC. He had a habit of getting up early in the predawn hours to walk around the city getting exercise when it was quiet and other people were still asleep. If the weather was good, he was known to swim in the Potomac River. In those days, when men swam in the river, they would remove their clothes and take a dip. Although in 1821 when the British Ambassador George Canning spotted then Secretary of State Adams in the water, he wasn’t entirely naked. Canning later wrote, “The Secretary of State was seen one morning at an early hour floating down the Potomac, with a black cap on his head and a pair of green goggles on his eyes.” So yes, John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States, would remove his clothes and skinny dip in the Potomac River! Not something you’d catch any modern president doing! So when you have a few minutes, perhaps learn about and remember the skinny dipping President of the United States, John Quincy Adams.