Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Skeleton City

From Shannon Selin:
The United States Congress authorized the creation of a federal capital in 1790. President George Washington selected the location, which was formed from land donated by Maryland and Virginia. The area included two existing settlements: Georgetown and Alexandria. In 1791, French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant drew up a plan for a city east of Georgetown, on the north bank of the Potomac River. The plan was amended by American surveyor Andrew Ellicott. The cornerstone of the President’s house (later known as the White House) was laid in 1792. Construction finished in 1800. That same year the Senate wing of the Capitol building was completed, followed by the House of Representatives wing in 1811. During the War of 1812, British forces raided Washington DC, setting fire to the President’s house, the Capitol and other public buildings on August 24, 1814. By 1820, these had been rebuilt, but the city as a whole still looked unfinished. (Read more.)

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