The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places welcomes you to discover Washington DC: A Guide to the Historic Neighborhoods and Monuments of Our Nation's Capital. From its beginnings as an undeveloped rural area, to its initial planning as the nation's capital, as envisioned by Frenchman Pierre Charles L'Enfant, to its growth in size and infrastructure at the turn of the 20th century, to its place today as a political, economic, and cultural center, Washington, DC, has engaging stories to tell about the people and places that have helped shape the Nation and this most capital of cities.
The National Mall
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO
Ninety-six historic places that bring the 200-year history of the city to life are presented in this National Register travel itinerary. Visitors will learn not only about the famous national landmarks and monuments of Washington, such as the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Mall, but will also learn about the historic neighborhoods and local landmarks that make the city so unique. The Octagon House, one of the city's oldest buildings, was built by Colonel John Tayloe, who offered the use of his home to President and Mrs. Madison for a temporary "Executive Mansion" after the burning of the White House by the British. Madison, who used the tower room above the entrance as a study, signed the Treaty of Ghent there, which ended the War of 1812.
Travelers through the itinerary can also discover the Striver's Section Historic District which, since the 1870s, has been associated with African American leaders in business, education, politics, religion, art, architecture, science and government. The most important of these figures was Frederick Douglass, runaway slave, abolitionist, orator, writer and civil servant, often called the Father of the Civil Rights Movement. As Washingtonians have been doing for over a century, travelers can visit Eastern Market, part of a larger, city-wide public market system that was built to provide an orderly supply of goods to urban residents. In recent years, Eastern Market served as a focal point in the revitalization of the Capitol Hill area, making it once again a "town center," both politically and commercially.
Rock Creek Ford, Picnic Scene, c. 1900
Historical Society of Washington, DC
Washington, DC: A Guide to the Historic Neighborhoods and Monuments of Our Nation's Capital offers a variety of ways to discover the city's historic places. Each property features a brief description of the site's significance, color and historic photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page, the visitor will also find a navigation bar containing links to essays on the Federal Presence, the L'Enfant and McMillan Plans, and Washington's Neighborhoods. These essays provide historical background, or "contexts," for many of the sites included in the itinerary. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out for use by visitors to Washington, DC.
Created through a partnership between the National Park Service's National Register
of Historic Places, the Washington, DC State Historic Preservation Office,
U.S. General Services Administration, the Historical Society of Washington,
DC, the DC Heritage Tourism Coalition, the National Trust for Historic
Preservation, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation
Officers(NCSHPO), Washington, DC: A Guide to the Historic Neighborhoods
and Monuments of Our Nation's Capital is an example of a new and exciting
cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy
to revitalize communities by promoting public awareness of history and
encouraging tourists to visit historic places throughout the nation, the
National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities,
regions, and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online
travel itineraries. Using places listed in the National Register of Historic
Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by
highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and
supplying accessibility information for each featured site. In the Learn
More section, the itineraries link to regional and local web sites
that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events,
special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. Visitors may
be interested in Historic
Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation,
located in Washington, D.C., including Hay
Adams and Mayflower.
Washington movie goers at the Warner Theater, c. 1950
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO
Washington, DC is one of many communities and regions
working directly with the National Register of Historic Places to create
travel itineraries. The National Park Service hopes you enjoy this
virtual travel itinerary of our nation's capital. If you have any comments
or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments
or questions" located at the bottom of each page.