Weekly Highlights: 07/16/2013
Historic Views of Washington, D.C.
See historic maps of Washington, D.C. along with documents relevant to its creation.
From the Today in History page at the Library of Congress:
On July 16, 1790, the Residence Act, which stipulated that the president select a site on the Potomac River as the permanent capital of the United States following a ten-year temporary residence in Philadelphia, was signed into law. In a proclamation issued on January 24, 1791, President George Washington announced the permanent location of the new capital, an area of land at the confluence of the Potomac and Eastern Branch (Anacostia) rivers that would eventually become the District of Columbia. Soon after, Washington commissioned French engineer Pierre-Charles L'Enfant to create a plan for the city.
The glorious vistas and dramatic landscape of today's Washington are a result of L'Enfant's careful planning. From the steps of the U.S. Capitol one can gaze down the mall to the Washington Monument and on to the Lincoln Memorial.
- Map Collections contains more than one hundred maps of the District of Columbia throughout its history.
- For a wealth of images of our Nation's Capital, visit the online collection Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959. Photographer Theodor Horydczak's collection includes thousands of photographs documenting the architecture and social life of the Washington metropolitan area from the 1920s through the 1950s.
- Discover many images, documents, and several motion pictures of Washington, D.C., in American Memory; search the collections individually on the names of monuments and federal institutions. For example, America’s First Look into the Camera: Daguerreotype Portraits and Views, 1839-1864 includes an 1846 photograph of the Capitol.
- Search the papers of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at the Library of Congress to find many documents concerning the selection and creation of Washington, D.C.
- The Library's online exhibition Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for a New Nation gives a detailed account of the architectural development of the city and the Capitol building.