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The District is named after Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), who discovered the New World (i.e. San Salvador, Cuba, and Haiti) in 1492. Although this woodcut is supposedly a portrait of Columbus, his likeness is unknown because no actual portraits of the man were commissioned during his lifetime.

Credit to corbis.com for picture and information about picture

Official Bird: Wood Thrush Constitution: United States

Official Tree:  Scarlet Oak

Flower: American Beauty Rose of Washington, D.C.

Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice to all) Song: The Star-Spangled Banner words by: Francis Scott Key

Great Seal of the United States, official seal of the United States government. It has two sides, having both an front and a back. Only the front has been cut as a die, but the design of the back has been copied and appears, on the U.S. one-dollar bill.




When the United States Constitution was adopted on September 15, 1787, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, included language authorizing the establishment of a federal district. This district was not to exceed 10 miles square, under the exclusive legislative authority of Congress. On July 16, 1790, Congress authorized President George Washington to choose a permanent site for the capital city and, on December 1, 1800, the capital was moved from Philadelphia to an area along the Potomac River. The census of 1800 showed that the new capital had a population of 14,103.


The District of Columbia is the "Federal District" of the United States and contains Washington City. It 68 is located on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers.

Bills passed by the U.S. Congress in 1790 and 1791 created the District on a tract of land ceded by Maryland and Virginia. The area contained the communities of Alexandria and Washington. The primary purpose of the District of Columbia and the city of Washington is to house the federal branches of government in a permanent home. The first corner stone of the U.S. Capitol was laid in 1793. in 1799 Congress was in session at Philadelphia, and received President Adams reminder to the legislators that under the provisions of the Residence Bill of 1799. Congress should convene in the permanent seat of government on the first Monday in December 1800.

Arriving in Washington, D. C., the legislators found very poor conditions. In the words of Secretary of the Treasury Wolcott

" There are few houses in any one place, and most of them small, miserable huts, which present an awful contrast to the public buildings. The people are poor, and as far as I can judge, they live like fishes, by eating each other. You may look in almost any direction, over an extent of ground nearly as large a the city of New York, without seeing a fence or any object except brick-kilns and temporary huts for laborers".

The United States in 1800


Presidents Adams wife, Abigal did not fare any better- she wrote " We have not the least fence, yard, or other convience without, and the great unfinished audience-room (the present East Room) I make a drying-room of, to hang the clothes in." The "President's Palace" was largely unfinished. The War of 1812 took a toll on Washington, D.C., requiring serious repair or restoration. The Capitol was restored from the damage it had incurred during the War of 1812, but the Presidential Mansion was destroyed and had to be redesigned and rebuilt. The new design was named the "White House" for the color of the exterior walls. By 1815, following the War of 1812, the city began to take shape as a Capitol city.

Abigail Smith Adams Born November 23, 1744 -- Died October 28, 1818
First Lady-Wife of John Adams, second president of the United States

Her father, the Rev. William Smith, was for more than forty years minister of the Congregational Church in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Her mother, Elizabeth Quincy, was the great-great-granddaughter of the eminent Puritan divine, Thomas Shepard of Cambridge.


In 1846, Congress agreed to return Alexandria and the remainder of the District on the western bank of the Potomac to the state of Virginia. Georgetown held the status of a separate town within the District from 1878 to 1895, when it was merged with Washington. Population (2000) 572,059.


The primary business and source of employment of Washington, D. C. is governmental agencies, tourism, the convention trade; scientific research and development; and the manufacture of technical equipment. The District is well known for its cultural institutions, historic landmarks, and parks.

Washington is home to major sources of educational, genealogical and historical materials in the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Society of the Daughters of American Colonists and other institutions of higher learning.


Map of locations of the Congress of the United States prior to 1789

Map of locations of the Congress of the United States prior to 1789


Please note: The listings below are all offsite links- please bookmark this for return.

  Alexandria National Cemetery from interment.net

  Arlington National Cemetery from interment.net-not a complete listing

  Cemeteries online from Cemetery Junction

  Little Known Facts from DC Almanac

  Guided tour of Washington today

  District of Columbia USG - check out their archives and online information

  Vital Records - District of Columbia

  Historical Society of Washington D.C. 




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Special thanks to Betty Brooks for the original content