09 Jan 2023

History:

Lost Capitol Hill: Top Stories!

I occasionally get messages from people referencing articles I wrote long ago, often because they are researching their family and find a connection to the Hill in one of my pieces. I really enjoy these messages, and makes me happy that we keep all of our old posts up and available. I recently got to thinking about which posts had been viewed the most often, so I went through all 876 items that I am listed as the author for, and extracted those that had more than 1,000 views – a total of 40 posts. Over the next two weeks, I will look at the top ten, each of which has more than 2,000 views.

(The tunnel under construction. LOC)


10) At number 10 is an article about – what else – tunnels. This is a subject that I have returned to time and time again, and this tunnel is one of the most important on the Hill, as it brings trains coming up from Virginia to Union Station. The tunnel runs under 1st Street SE/NE, but if you cross the street from the Library of Congress or Supreme Court, there is no indication whatsoever as to what lies beneath.
(The jail ca 1900. LOC)

9) Next up is another topic I have looked at often: Jails. In this case, the old jail that graced the east end of Capitol hill from 1875 until it was torn down in the late 1970s/early 1980s. In the meantime, it housed Presidential assassins, and those who had had broken the law at the behest of a President. Overcrowded from almost immediately after it was opened, there were few tears shed when it was torn down.
Pointing out where the railing used to be when there was a hole here (MHC)

8) We come now to somewhat of an oddity: The 8th spot is taken by the third of three articles I wrote about an old legend of the Capitol, that there had been for many years a ‘keeper of the crypt’ in charge of keeping a flame burning. I later condensed the three articles into a subchapter in my book on the Urban Legends of Washington D.C. I did keep the one quote from this part that I suspect explains why it has been viewed so many times – it is from Dan Brown’s book ‘The Lost Symbol.’
(Some members of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey in front of the building that once housed Conrad and McMunn’s. LOC)

7) Some of these get read more often because I myself keep linking to them. So, for instance, this article on Conrad and McMunn’s boarding house, which was located on the site of the Longworth House Office Building, and so comes up frequently when writing about the early days of Capitol Hill.
(The Navy Yard Bridge ca 1865. LOC)

6) Other articles are useful as background to famous historical events, such as the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the subsequent escape by John Wilkes Booth across the Navy Yard Bridge (today the 11th Street Bridge) This post, like all those listed this week, is from ten years ago.


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