• The replacement Pope's Stone, located on the 340-ft. level. (Photo Source: National Park Service)
    A Monumental Theft
     
     
    In 1854, nine men took off with an engraved stone from the base of the Washington Monument. Turns out, it was a gift from the Pope.
  • ov. Lester Maddox of Georgia speaks to the rally at the Washington Monument in Washington, April 4, 1970 after “March for Victory”. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)  The march was followed by
    Vietnam War
     
     
    In April 1970 the so-called "silent majority" organized the era's largest pro-war demonstration, simultaneously protesting against President Nixon's Vietnam War policies and "hippies and yippies everywhere."
  • Red Cross poster
    World War I
     
     
    It was common for D.C.'s high society couples to honeymoon in Europe, but not like Hester and Edward Pickman who spent their first weeks as newlyweds volunteering for the Red Cross during WWI.
  • Fat man cartoon from The Washington Times, February 4, 1914
    Strange But True
     
     
    In the 19th century, Washington’s Fat Men’s Clubs engendered such loyalty that a brawl broke out between two factions.
  • Lew Alcindor throws down a slam dunk in the 1965 game between Power Memorial Academy and DeMatha Catholic at Cole Field House. Dematha won the game and ended Power Memorial's 71 game winning streak. (Photo source: The Washington Star)
    High School Sports
     
     
    On a snowy night in 1965, DeMatha defeated Lew Alcindor's Power Memorial Academy in what many call the greatest high school hoops game ever played.
Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington’s Education at Frank Holliday's Pool Hall

In 1910, the Howard Theater was founded in the Washington's Shaw neighborhood, and it soon became the premier black theater in the country, helping launch the careers of many African American performers. But for Duke Ellington, who was a fixture in the neighborhood as a kid, the pool hall next door to the theatre did more to shape is musical sensibilities.

Photograph of the Soviet Embassy (Source: Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey)

A Thwarted Protest at the Soviet Embassy

On August 24, 1973, about 20 D.C. Jewish school children gathered around the Soviet Embassy holding onto basketballs. It was around noon, and they were getting ready to bounce the balls just loud enough for Soviet officials to hear. But they weren't there to play; they were there to stage a political protest.

Books You Should Read: Alexander Shepherd Biography by John Richardson

For John Richardson, Washington’s influential territorial governor, Alexander Robey “Boss” Shepherd, has been a source of fascination for over 30 years, since the author moved into D.C.’s Shepherd Park neighborhood. Balancing this curiosity with a day job in the CIA and stints overseas meant that progress on the book was slower than Richardson intended. But, the result of his labors is worth the wait for local history enthusiasts. Richardson’s recently published biography, Alexander Robey Shepherd: The Man Who Built the Nation’s Capital (Ohio University Press, 2016) is a thoroughly researched and well written study of a man who, despite his enormous impact on the District of Columbia, has not gotten the attention he deserves from scholars. Check out our video with the author!

Filene Center in 1980. (Source: Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Wolf Trap Captures the Hearts of the DMV

Today, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a mainstay of Washington, D.C.’s cultural life. The park’s large outdoor auditorium and beautiful green space play host to a variety of performers. However, 50 years ago, some politicians questioned whether it was a wise decision for the government to accept the land gift from Catherine Filene Shouse and build the performing arts center.

Postcard depicting Tomb of Female Stanger (Credi: By Boston Public Library - Tomb of a female stranger, Alexandria, Virginia, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41983533)

The Female Stranger of Alexandria

Two hundred years ago, an unknown woman breathed her last in room 8 of Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria. Her husband prepared her body for death in secret and sealed her coffin personally. After seeing that she was placed in a local graveyard, he vanished. It’s the sort of story that would condemn a person to be lost to history, but the circumstances surrounding this woman’s death and interment sparked centuries of questions and outlandish theories. Even now, no one alive knows her name. She remains the Female Stranger of Alexandria.

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