In the late 19th Century, Mary Newton Foote Henderson bought up 300 lots along 16th Street, and envisioned the area becoming the very center of federal society.
'Boss' Shepherd Got the Job Done -- at a Steep Price
The rat-hunting terriers stood at the ready, eagerly waiting for the walls of the District's Northern Liberties Market to come crumbling down. Despite vigorous protests by the people who made their living there, the decrepit and unsanitary old building at what is now Mount Vernon Square had been ordered demolished by Alexander "Boss" Shepherd, head of the city's Board of Public Works.
The Battle for Suffrage in The District
Washington's 1869 election was one of the most violent in the city's history, precipitated by fears that old-line, racist Democrats would regain the power they had lost in 1867 when Congress gave black residents the right to vote.
'Rebel Rose' the Spy
Rose O'Neal Greenhow's spy ring that tried to undermine the Union effort during the Civil War adds a unique chapter to the city's history.
Mr. Lincoln's Town: Muddy And Southern
One day in the 1860s, a Major Biddle was riding up Pennsylvania Avenue on horseback when he confronted two officers and a civilian riding in the opposite direction. The major's standing orders required him to ask for documents: "Show me your passes," he said, "or I will arrest you."
The Capitol's Slave Labor
A bill would honor hundreds of black slaves and freemen who helped build the Capitol and the White House.
What's Your Opinion?
Betrayal, Bloodshed in Sight of White House
Daniel E. Sickles was astonished. When he looked out the window of his mansion at Lafayette Square, the congressman saw his wife's lover signaling her in broad daylight, waving a white handkerchief toward her bedroom window. Enraged, Sickles grabbed two derringers and a revolver, left the house and strode to the other side of the park, where he found his prey, Philip Barton Key.
In Faraway, All-White Anacostia
Near the muddy edge of the Eastern Branch River, under towering trees with gorgeous emerald leaves, real estate developer John Van Hook and his partners subdivided their land into a few hundred housing lots and put them up for sale.
C&O: The Little Canal That Couldn't
The serial disappointments that attended the building of the C&O Canal warped the capital's economy and outlook well into the Industrial Age.
The Longest, Hottest Summer
The sweltering languor of August in Washington gave way to a spreading panic in 1814. It was two years into America's second war with Britain and the enemy was marching ever closer to the heart of her former colonies. Local residents--having heard of the terrible destruction already inflicted by the British on a number of towns along the Chesapeake Bay--were eager to escape the coming onslaught.
Bold Vision, Humble Start
Two hundred years ago, when the federal government moved reluctantly from its comfortable quarters in Philadelphia, it arrived in a city of grand aspirations but muddy reality. The population was 2,587 free inhabitants and 623 slaves. During the century that followed, this unlikely capital gradually began to find its shape and character.
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