Collection: The history of Washington

Image by McMillan Commission.

  • How Washington’s street grids got the way they are

    Why is that street called what it is? There's a rhyme and reason to many of the streets in the original "diamond" - today's DC, Arlington, and some of Alexandria. Here are the patterns hiding inside your map.  Keep reading…

  • Hidden clues reveal an old road that disappeared from DC

    Milkhouse Ford Road in Northwest DC no longer exists as a major thoroughfare. But clues of its past life are still visible thanks to skewed property lines, an abandoned ford over Rock Creek, and seemingly misplaced street names around the city.   Keep reading…

  • The plans that never were

    The Washington region has seen many bold plans over the years to remake its form. Some, like the 1902 McMillan Plan, shaped what we see today. Many more never got past the idea stage, but they're fascinating for their ambition and vision, for better or worse.  Keep reading…

  • Fort Reno’s Cold War-era “undisclosed location”

    Tenleytown’s Fort Reno Park is Washington’s highest elevation. In addition to the Western Union Telegraph Company’s microwave relay terminal, water towers and more, it hosts a secure “continuity of government facility,” built at the height of the Cold War to protect members of the executive branch during a nuclear attack.  Keep reading…

  • The legacy of DC’s 1968 riots

    April 8, 1968 marked the end of the riots in DC which began after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. These riots changed many of the city’s commercial corridors and neighborhoods forever.  Keep reading…

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