Today I’ll be talking about the history of the capitol city of the United States of America, Washington D.C. The capitol was moved during the early 1800s, right when Thomas Jefferson was appointed president(1800-1808).
Before the government moved to D.C., they had their conferences in the Federal Hall in New York during 1785s-1790s. You can visit it in New York today.
Federal Hall in New York
Then during 1790s-1800s, they moved to Congress Hall in Philidelphia.
Congress Hall in Philidelphia
Both New York and Philadelphia were good places, but to be out of the jurisdiction of the state government, the capital had to be a separate district. And some issues made them to think of building a new capital.
In 1789, the first US Congress signed the Residence Act, to set up a location near the Potomac River, which is on the edge of the Virginia and Maryland border, for the new capital. The congress of Maryland were polite enough to hand over a piece of their land. The location included the ports of Alexandria and Georgetown, and are the suburbs of Washington D.C. today.
The designing job was given to Pierre L’Enfant appointed by George Washington. L’Enfant helped with the update of the Federal Hall and wanted Washington D.C. to be pretty similar to it. The architect of the government/federal buildings are called the Federal Style, it was influenced by the ancient Greek and Roman styles.
Although L’Enfant was discharged by Washington, who favored Andrew Ellicott, because of some conflicts about the plans of Washington D.C. The Congress chose 3 men to take charge of the construction, Thomas Johnson, Daniel Carroll, and David Stuart.
Now you’re probably wondering why they called it Washington D.C., well “Washington” should be pretty easy, it was named after our first president and founding father, George Washington. “D” stands for “District” or “Federal District” which was the original name by the Congress, and “C” stands for “Columbia”, Columbia represents the goddess of liberty and freedom.
(Fun Fact: John Adams was the first president to live in the President’s House)
President’s House Capitol
In the War of 1812, some government buildings were burned down, including the Capitol, where House of Representative and the Senate met, and the President’s House. So after the war, the buildings were rebuilt and the Congress had meetings somewhere else for the time being. But the President’s House was made of bricks and was not burned down completely, but needed to put something over the black on the bricks and since white paint was cheap, they painted the whole building white, and is now known as the White House.
Today Washington D.C. is still the capital of the United States and where many famous monuments and memorials are. These are some of ‘em: