Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Washington Monument

We recently had a rare earthquake in Washington . We are use to snow , rain , hot summers and Congress but never snow. People really did not know what to do. Should they run out into the street. Stay in buildings . Should the government shutdown and cause a major terrific jam. Of course we did all of those thing plus the earthquake damaged the Washington Monument. The Washington Monument  construction was in 1848. with the lack of money and political disagreements construction was stopped in 1854 at the 150 foot mark.In 1876 the Army corps of engineers was given the task of completing the monument.
Stone for the monument comes the states of Maryland and Massachusetts. It weighs 90,854tons and 555feet5/8tall. Inside the monument there are 189 memorial stones. Each stone was 4 feet long  2 feet high 18 inches in dept. . The first stone donated was from Alabama.There are 36,491 blocks that make up the monument.The  walls  are made of white marble .The total cost of the monument was 1 million dollars. If it were built today it would cost $21 million dollars.In 1901 an electric elevator was installed. The top of the Washington Monument is made out of aluminum. The top was stolen by political rebels causing a fire storm in America
If you would like to go to the top of the Monument you must obtain a ticket at the ticket booth at the monument or get your ticket online.I would advise you to get your ticket online especially if you are visiting Washington DC in the spring or summer. The lines are often long and you should be in line by 6:30am. Each person can pick up four tickets . A licensed tour guide can obtain 50 tickets for groups.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Black history of Washington DC

Washington DC is full of great African American history.Then nations capital was full of slaves and freed black men and women.The slave trade in the city was so bad ministers from other counties would wonder how the capital of the United States could have so many slaves. Pennsylvania Avenue has the inaugural parade every 4 years. Slaves marched down the same avenue to the auction house. If you were black in the 1800's you were under very strict laws. A black person could not be outside his or her house past 10 pm . If you were out pass 10pm several actions could happen to you. You could be put in jail, thrown into slavery, beaten or killed. Blacks were not allowed to gamble .Blacks did own homes . If you were a freed black if you owned your home every year 3 letters from non blacks were needed to attest to your character.
Washington has some great neighborhoods to visit embedded with black history. The neighborhood of Anacostia in the southeast section of the city is where Frederick Douglass made his home. Mr. Douglass purchased his house on September 1, 1877 for the sum of $6700.The house sits up top of a hill that over looks the city. You can get a great view of the city just by sitting on the poach of the house.The National Park Service does tours of the house and grounds.On The tour of the house you will see some of the original furniture and items belonging to Mr. Douglass.The tour is about is 1 hour including a 17 min. video of the life and times of Mr. Douglass.If you have a group of 10 or less you do not need a reservation. You can just report to the visitor center and ask for a tour. Groups of 10 or more must make a group reservation with the park service. To reserve a group reservation you must go to http://www.recreation.gov/ and click on tours. A list of tours will pop up and just pick the Frederick Douglass house.The Frederick House is a historic land mark in the nations capitol. The neighborhood in which the house sits in one in transition. The best way of getting to the house is by car or a private bus.Metro subway is a few blocks away from the house and Metro bus drops you right at the door. It is when you leave you might have a problem getting back on the bus because the bus stop is several blocks away.


The best part of the tour is the narration of the park rangers. The rangers have a wealth of interesting facts and stories. I have been to the house many times and each visit I come way with something new. I am impressed with Paul a park ranger. Paul is full of details and stories. Paul will have you leaving the house wanting more. Paul will tell you stories that will have you saying "I did not know that".
If you are in Washington DC for the opening of the King Memorial then stopping at the Frederick Douglass home is a must.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Section 60 Arlington National Cemetery


Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery is where some of the men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are laid to rest. I decided to visit this section not only to pay my respects but to find exactly where it is so I could take my groups there . I have been to Arlington thousands of times but I was shocked at the size of this section. It seemed to be thousands of head stones in this section alone. I felt a huge sense of loss.I always felt World War 2 and the Korean War was my parents war. I grew up during the Vietnam War and felt the pain of the military men and women who suffered in and out of battle. When I saw the graves from the most recent wars I felt this was my war. I am just more aware of this war. As I was just standing around people who had lost loved ones were around . They would walk in between the graves stopping at some .Every person who was there had a story. I wanted to talk to all the families  but it was the not the right time or place. People just wanted to spend some time grieving or remember the good times
.I do not know how many people buried in section 60 but I do know some of the graves were so new they did not have head stones.In Arlington National cemetery 27-30 people are buried a day. We all do know more  young service men and women will be buried in section 60. If you have a chance to visit the Arlington National Cemetery please visit section 60. It is a nice walk from the Visitors Center. It will take you about 10 minutes to walk it.If we can have hundreds of thousands people visit the changing of the Guard why not visit section 60

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Speech at Lincoln Memorial

video
I have often visited the Lincoln Memorial as a tour guide and visitor . As I walk into the memorial on the south side is written in stone is the Gettysburg Address. The Gettsyburg Address is 270 words long. President Lincoln took his time writing the speech.He started writing the speech in the White House and finished in Gettysburg.Presidents were not often invited to give speeches in the 1800's. Lincoln was happy he received the invitation . He traveled to Gettysburg by railroad.


On November 19, 1863 President Lincoln gave one of the greatest speeches in American history. The man who spoke before the president was Edward Everett. Mr. Everette he spoke for two hours. Several days after both men spoke Mr. Everette wrote the President on how great the speech was. The speech was later put in newspapers around the nation.

I was at the Lincoln Memorial on Presidents Day when a young man was portraying President Lincoln. I was amazed when he brought the speech to life. I enjoyed the speech very much. The  young man  portaying the former president did a good job except for two mistakes. He did not have a permit to give a speech on the steps of the memorial. Aftter giving the speech at the bottom of the steps he put out a box and asked for money. i really felt that cheapen what he had just done.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

African American Tours Washington DC

Frederick Douglass
Washington DC is full of great African American history.Then nations capital was full of slaves and freed black men and women.The slave trade in the city was so bad ministers from other counties would wonder how the capital of the United States could have so many slaves. Pennsylvania Avenue has the inaugural parade every 4 years. Slaves marched down the same avenue to the auction house. If you were black in the 1800's you were under very strict laws. A black person could not be outside his or her house past 10 pm . If you were out pass 10pm several actions could happen to you. You could be put in jail, thrown into slavery, beaten or killed.Blacks were not allowed to gamble .Blacks did own homes . If you were a freed black  if you owned your home every year 3 letters from non blacks were needed to attest to your character.One of the first blacks to own a house in the suburb of Union town (Anacostia) was Frederick Douglass. Mr. Douglass was in charge of the Freeman Bureau in which he borrowed the money for the house.Mr.Douglass named the house Cedar Hill. The house over looks the city.Tours of the house are daily. The tour of the house takes about one hour including a 17 minute video of the life of Mr. Douglass. You then will have a very nice tour of the house by a Park Ranger. The some of the items in the house are original

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Visiting Washington DC with groups

Every year 22 million visitors come to Washington DC. The spring is perhaps the busiest time of the year for school groups. If you can the fall would be better for your school than the spring for several different reasons.There  are less people . Second hotel rates and airline rates are cheaper .It is much easier to get into government building . For example if you bring your group in the spring you will need tickets for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing , Washington Monument, Fords Theater and the Holocaust Memorial museum . If you come in the fall you will not need tickets for any of them.
If you do visit Washington DC in the spring here are some tips. If you  would like for your group to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier it is a very easy way to do it.
 Wreath Laying Ceremonies: (Requests must be received in writing)
(703) 607-8559
*For school and civic organizations coming to Washington, D.C., that wish to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  A representative of the requesting organization must write to Arlington National Cemetery, Attn: Public Wreath Ceremonies, Arlington, VA 22211 on organizational letterhead.  The sender should indicate on the outside of the envelope that it is a "wreath-laying request."  The letter should indicate when the group is visiting, its schedule limitations, and complete contact information.  A representative of Arlington National Cemetery Public Wreath Coordinator will thereafter call to make further arrangements and provide further instructions should the date appear open.No fax or email accepted
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 National Archives. If you ever waited in the national Archives this link will help you.http://www.blogger.com/goog_1682204785
This link will help you reserve a space for a self guided tour of the Archives building. You will be able go into the special events entrance which is on the Constitution Avenue entrance.


The tickets for the the Capital can be obtain at www.aoc.gov. You will be able to order up to 10 tickets . I would advise you to allow at least 2 hours for the tour , going through security and picking up your tickets. You will be shown a video and a walking tour of the Capital.

The Supreme is across the street from the Capital. The tours of the Supreme are every half an hour beginning at 9:30am. Keep in mind during the spring the court will be meeting on Monday , Tuesday, and sometimes on Wednesday. When the court meets , tours are not conducted but you can you can see a hearing.

Washington dc is a great and interesting city . Come see for yourself



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Anacostia/ The first suburb of Washington

In early 1850's some of the men who worked at the navy yard wanted their on neighborhood . In their neighborhood if you were black, of Irish decent or if you boiled soap( it seems boiling soap smelled really bad) you were not allowed in their neighborhood. The neighborhood was called Uniontown. Three men John Fox, John Van Hook and John Dobler bought a 240 acre farm from a blacksmith name Enoch Tucker. Uniontown was laid in a 17 block grid. At first selling of the lots was going well . The recession of the 1870's put an end to the good fortune of three John. In the fall of 1878 Frederick Douglass bought a home in Uniontown. John Dobler needed money . For the sum $6,700 Mr. Douglass acquired from Dobler. The house had 14 rooms. The house was later enlarged to 21 rooms . Improvements to the house between the 1878 to 1888 were a two story addition in the rear of the house.
Next to Uniontown was the neighborhood of Barry Farms. General Oliver Otis Howard was in charge of finding housing for newly freed blacks. Howard obtain a farm near Uniontown. Blacks were allowed to purchase lots 24 feet wide 130 feet deep . The lots were purchased for $3 per month over 25 months. The neighborhood was self sufficent. The neighborhood of Barry farms had its own schools , churches, doctors, lawyers and printers. The neighborhood was bright at night because many people would work on their houses at night . Many people would work during the day and work at home at night