24 Sep 2018


Lost Capitol Hill: Louis A. Cornish

I was recently asked about the house at 312 Independence Avenue SE. Apparently, it has been shown on tours as having been built by slaves. While it is likely that any number of the pre-Civil War buildings were built, at least partially, with slave labor, the evidence for this is spotty, so having one building […]

17 Sep 2018


Lost Capitol Hill: Congressional Cemetery in 1830

Over the last couple of weeks, I have looked at the sections of an 1830 guidebook that covered Capitol Hill. In spite of its length, there is really only one more short excerpt and a few snippets to look at: those pertaining to Congressional Cemetery and the churches of Capitol Hill. The section on the […]

10 Sep 2018


Lost Capitol Hill: The Navy Yard in 1830

Two weeks ago, I looked into the Jonathan Elliott guide to Washington, published in 1830. Today, I want to look at its description of a place near to my heart: The Washington Navy Yard. Elliott’s guide spends about 7 pages describing the Navy Yard, beginning with the usual explanations of its history, its size, the brick […]

27 Aug 2018


Lost Capitol Hill: Jonathan Elliot and his Guide

Readers of my column will know of my obsession with old Washington guidebooks– in particular, what they felt was important to write about Capitol Hill. Therefore, imagine my pleasure in finding a book with the incredibly unwieldy title, Historical Sketches of the Ten Miles Square Forming the District of Columbia: With a Picture of Washington, […]

20 Aug 2018


Lost Capitol Hill: The First Navy Yard

The 204th anniversary of the Burning of Washington is almost upon us, and so it seems appropriate to look at one of the episodes of this tragic time that took place on Capitol Hill. No, not the burning of the Capitol by the British, but the burning of the Navy Yard… by the Americans. Burning […]

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