With historic photos, archival footage, and animation, Boundary Stones Video Shorts spotlight some of our favorite stories from the Boundary Stones website -- the strange-but-true stories, larger-than-life-characters, and myths and legends from the history of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Watch here and to subscribe to the WETA PBS YouTube channel to see new videos as soon as they are released!
When a bomb ripped through the U.S. Capitol on July 2, 1915, it shocked Washington and the nation. Police soon discovered the explosion was just one part of a crime spree with international implications, and the man at the center of it was an Ivy League professor with a mysterious past.
In the 1930s, Jimmy “The Gentleman Gambler” Lafontaine made millions running one of the largest casinos on the Eastern Seaboard from the DC/Maryland line. Gambling was completely illegal, but Lafontaine charmed the city, paid the cops and kept the money flowing. Until the the mob wanted in on the action and kidnapped the Gentleman Gambler.
In the 1960s, DC civil rights activist Julius Hobson threatened to release live rats in Georgetown to protest the lack of rat patrols in Black neighborhoods. Did it work?
In 1951, a Washington DC electronics dealer sponsored a contest to create an official anthem for the District of Columbia. Congress and the Washington Post leant their support and the contest attracted thousands of entries. With great fanfare, a tune written by Hollywood actor Jimmie Dodd was crowned the winner of the contest and the song was widely celebrated when it debuted. So why haven't most Washingtonians ever heard it?
In the 1870s, American fisheries were in decline. Under the direction of Spencer Baird, the newly created U.S. Fish Commission decided one answer to the problem was to build a fish farm on the National Mall in Washington DC, and raise imported carp to restock waterways across the country. What could go wrong?