The District of Columbia, U.S. Civil War, Washington D.C.

The Defenses Of Washington D.C. – Since The Formation Of The United States

Ever since Washington, D.C. was established as the national capital it has been in need of defense from domestic and foreign armies.

During the War of 1812, several forts and encampments protected Washington, D.C. However, the United States defenses were overrun and the White House was bring down by the British Army.

A total of 163 forts were utilized by the Union Army to protect the Capital of the United States of America form Confederate attacks during the course of the U.S. Civil War.

During the Cold War, a few Nike missile sites, which formed a ring around Washington, D.C. provided a deterrent form nuclear missile attacks form the Soviet Union.

Arlington County, Virginia, The District of Columbia

The Founding Of Arlington County, Virginia – A Land That Was Once Part Of The District Of Columbia

On Febuary 27, 1801, Alexandria County, which was land from the State of Virginia that was utilized to form part of the federal District of Columbia, was founded. However, local residents disagreed with the northern states views of abolition of slavery, hence in 1847, Arlington County retroceded from Washington, D.C. and became Alexandria County, Virginia.

In 1920, Alexandria County was renamed to Arlington County. A U.S. Supreme ruling dictated that Arlington County cannot be subdivided so currently the County Government also takes on municipal government functions.

Author’s Note:

The Arlington Historical Society has more information on the history of the county.

The District of Columbia, Washington D.C.

President George Washington Lobbied Landowners To Sell Their Land To The U.S. Government To Create The District Of Columbia

L’Enfant-Elliot Map of the District of Columbia, 1792. (Library of Congress)

President George Washington spoke to landowners in Maryland and Virginia to sell their lands to form the future permanent seat of the U.S. Government, the District of Columbia. George Washington’s pitch was for the landowners to sell two thirds of their lands to the federal government, and in exchange the third of the land that they keep will substantially increase in value.

Congress authorized the cession and the retrocession of the District of Columbia.

Pierre Charles L'Enfant, President George Washington, President Harry S. Truman, President James Monroe, President Theodore Roosevelt Junior, The District of Columbia, Washington D.C.

The Plans For The Presidential Palace And The Construction Of The White House

In 1791, Pierre Charles L’Enfant met with President George Washington to show his sketch of the “President’s Palace”, which was five times the size of the present day White House, within the original site of President’s Park.

The plans for a grand “Presidential Palace” were scrapped after President Washington fired L’Enfant for insubordination. In 1792, an architectural competition was held for the Capital and the Presidential Home buildings. From that competition, James Hoban’s design of a smaller and more modest Presidential House was chosen.

James Hoban’s original design for the White House.

Construction of the smaller presidential house began in 1792 and ended in 1800.

Portrait of President James Monroe

On August 24, 1814, British soldiers invaded Washington, D.C. and torched President’s House. Only the walls of the structure remained after the fire. It was debated whether or not the capital should be moved to another city, after the events of the War of 1812.

With the urging of President James Monroe, the U.S. Capital stayed at its current location and Congress authorized the reconstruction of the Presidential Home. James Hoban was commissioned to rebuild the President’s Home to the way it originally was, while keeping the scorched walls within the building.

Engraving of the White House by William Strickland, after a watercolor by George Munger, 1814. (Library of Congress)

In 1817, President Monroe moved back into the rebuilt President’s Home. In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt renamed the President’s Home to the “White House”. In the 1940s, under Harry Truman’s administration the White House was under reconstruction.

NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The District of Columbia, Washington D.C., World War I, World War II

The National Air And Space Museum In Washington D.C.

In January 2018, I had the opportunity to visit the National Air and Space Musuem with my older sister Linda Hamilton and a couple of friends.

The musuem exhibits aircraft from the age of air pioneers as well as those used in multiple wars, capsules from the Mercury and the Apollo missions during the space race, and fragments of meteorites form space.

Various posters showed that during World War I there was a great emphasis placed on the manufacture of airplanes for the war effort.

One section of the museum has an original model of the first jet aircraft in the world that was built in Nazi Germany during World War II. Nazi Germany had planned on mass producing the jet aircraft in the mid 1940s, but lost the war and was unable to manufacture jets under the treaty signed with the allied forces in 1945. Therefore, the United States and the Soviet Union were the first to mass produce jet aircraft during the Cold War.