"If you were to ask the first comer you meet in the street whether he knew 'Hiawatha' he would immediately be able to whistle it," wrote the Washington Post in 1904. Read about one of the most anticipated musical events of that year, featuring Anglo-African composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and his namesake Choral Society.
Victor Frankenstein wasn't the only scientist to raise the dead! In 1903, Alexander Graham Bell departs for Italy to escort the Smithsonian's founder back to the United States. The only problem? James Smithson has been dead for almost 75 years. How exactly do you declare THAT at customs?
Where can you see lacy Arabic architecture, the tombs of ancient Romans, and artifacts from medieval France? Why, in Washington DC, of course! Read about one man's dream to crown America's capital with all the centuries that came before it: by building the biggest, most audacious museum the world had ever seen.
What do a five-year-old boy, a woman working at a train station and an African American newspaperman have in common? Samuel J. Seymour, Sarah V. E. White and Samuel H. Hatton were little-known Washingtonian witnesses to some of the most influential murders in history: those of U.S. Presidents.
Washington has seen its fair share of crimes: mafia operations, drug networks, triple murder… But in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, one of the city’s most pervasive crimes was one we today might find difficult to imagine: chicken thievery. In today’s urban landscape, the phenomenon may seem difficult to imagine; but 150 years ago chicken robbery was widespread -- and serious business. The practice was dangerous and, at times, even fatal.
Edith Roosevelt's official portrait as First Lady was created by the renowned French artist Théobald Chartran in 1902. Throughout France and the United States, critics praised Chartran's work, applauding his ability to showcase Mrs. Roosevelt's distinctive character and beauty.
Unsurprisingly, then, President Theodore Roosevelt wanted a portrait of himself that was equally as flattering. But, in truth, he was not the most pleasant subject to paint—as could be confirmed by two separate portraitists.
The industrial revolution was reshaping the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as the country shifted from a pure agrarian structure, to a more industrial one. While many major American cities of the early 20th century were home to bustling factories and mills pumping smoke into the air, Washington’s largest processing industry filled the air with a different smell—fresh baking bread. In the same neighborhood as the former Griffith Stadium in Shaw, family-owned bakeries lined the streets. Among the most prominent of these bakeries were Dorsch’s White Cross Bakery, Holzbeierlein Bakery, and Corby Baking Company, which were responsible for producing almost all of the bread, cake, and pastry products sold in the Washington area, consequently making them all household names in D.C.
In 1903 and 1938, Steinway & Sons gifted their 100,000th and 300,000th custom, art-case grand pianos to the White House. The pianos, crafted with the White House East Room in-mind, were unlike any other Steinway pianos ever produced — they had extravagantly painted cases, gold leaf designs, and intricately carved wood. The pianos quickly became beacons for art and culture in the East Room and Entrance Hall of the White House where the second one still resides today. Theodore, Edith, and Franklin Roosevelt utilized and dedicated these two Steinway pianos to help establish the White House as a hub for music in Washington moving forward into the 20th Century.