A guard patrolling the basement of the Capitol during the Civil War is attacked -- not by enemy soldiers, but by a giant, demonic cat! Over a hundred years later, the "Demon Cat" is still one of Washington's greatest ghost stories, which is saying something in a city with as many phantom residents as the capital. What is the real story of this mystical mouser?
On a cold, overcast Tuesday morning in February 1981, something caught the eye of a museum technician as he walked through the “We the People” exhibit on the second floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History: The silver pen of President McKinley’s Secretary of State John Hay was missing. The 7 ¼-inch Parker Jointless pen had been used to sign the 1898 Treaty of Paris, ending the Spanish-American War.
But now, to the technician’s horror, its case was empty -- and there were more alarming discoveries to come.
While digging a sewer near the Capitol in 1898, a construction crew makes an incredible discovery- a fossil! Only, when it's brought to the Smithsonian, no one is able to say for certain what kind of dinosaur it might belong to. Could this be a clue to a dinosaur found only in the District? See how generations of paleontologists dispute the identity D.C.'s oldest resident, and how a group of school kids played a factor in solidifying its legacy.
In 1946, Washington, DC was on the precipice of a Civil Rights movement. One of the first tests of the city’s shifting beliefs came with the opening of the George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium and its use for commercial theater performances. The first play put on at the theater, Joan of Lorraine, turned out to be a experiment in the continuance of race-based discrimination policies. Was the swift public backlash to the segregation enforced by GW enough to tear down the artificial barriers between black and white Washingtonians at Lisner?
In 1948, Black journalist Alice Dunnigan put the first of many accomplishments under her belt when she became the first Black female reporter to join the White House press pool and the first Black reporter to go on a campaign trip with a president. Doubted by many reporters due to her gender and race, Dunnigan had to fight for even a smidgeon of the recognition that her male journalist colleagues got, though it never stopped her from doing what she loved.
If you think you know why Georgetown doesn't have a Metro stop, think again! Though many believe it is the outcome of neighborhood resistance, in reality it has much more to do with geography, geology, expense, and WMATA's original vision for Metro as a commuter rail. The origins of the Georgetown Metro myth are just as interesting as the debunking of the myth.
On May 15, 1918, Lt. George Boyle took off from Potomac Park as the inaugural flight in the United States’ first continuous airmail service. However, hours later, Boyle was climbing out of a crash-landed plane in Waldorf, MD, miles away from his intended destination. But Boyle wasn’t entirely to blame for the airmail’s rocky start – or was he?
In an imposing brick building at 235 2nd Street, NE on Capitol Hill, time stands still. It is home to over 70 young people living, working, and learning in Washington. This is Thompson-Markward Hall, a boarding house that has been a home for young women in Washington since 1833. But its residents haven’t always been elite graduate students or ladder-climbing interns. Women’s work in Washington has changed dramatically since the 1800s, but Thompson-Markward Hall has remained a necessity.
Activist Hugo Deffner came to Washington in 1957 to accept an award for his work in promoting accessible architecture. However, he discovered a city entirely inaccessible to wheelchair users and other disabled people. Over the following decades, a combination of tireless activism and legislation transformed Washington into one of the most accessible cities in America.
In June 1981, Black Deaf leaders gathered in Washington to sew the seeds of an organization that would have a profound impact on the Black Deaf community. After centuries of exclusion in both Black and Deaf spaces, organizers came together to make a space of their own. With goals to educate, empower, and strengthen the community, this conference led a call for Black inclusion and leadership in Deaf organizations locally and nationally.