The Underground Railroad has deeper ties to the Washington DC area than many know. Escaped slaves are believed to have used the burial vault at Mount Zion Cemetery in Georgetown as a hiding place during their journey to freedom.
One of D.C.’s most popular eateries is Busboys and Poets, a bookstore-cafe with locations all over the city. The name honors one busboy-poet in particular who has surprising ties to D.C.: Langston Hughes.
In the U.S., we’re used to seeing recycled British names. It often feels a little anticlimactic to learn that a British colonist simply lifted the name of their hometown—Kensington, Cambridge, Salisbury, Westminster, Essex, Arlington, the list goes on—and slapped it onto whatever colony, town, or road they wanted to claim. However, the state of Maryland may be able to claim a rare distinction: lending its name to a location in Great Britain, not vice versa.
If you were a western settler in the 1870s looking for a home where the buffalo roamed, you might have had a hard time finding one. Homes on the range saw ever-dwindling numbers of buffalo (officially known as American bison), due to systematic campaigns of extermination that targeted not only bison, but gray wolves and cougars as well. Enter William Temple Hornaday, a hunter and taxidermist who witnessed the near extinction of the bison and decided that “preservation . . . is an imperative duty, for otherwise it will be too late.”
"If you were to ask the first comer you meet in the street whether he knew 'Hiawatha' he would immediately be able to whistle it," wrote the Washington Post in 1904. Read about one of the most anticipated musical events of that year, featuring Anglo-African composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and his namesake Choral Society.
Those who live in Maryland may be familiar with Goatman, the half-goat, half-man creature. Perhaps you have heard that he was the result of a science experiment gone wrong, or maybe you've heard of his violent nature. The popularity of this folklore begs us to ask, how did the tale of this local beast from Clinton spread all over the state?
Those who think that the “Exorcist stairs” are the spookiest landmark in Georgetown clearly haven’t heard of the Laurie family. In the nineteenth century, in a townhouse where 3327 N Street NW stands today, two women known as “the Witches of Georgetown” were talking to ghosts and making pianos levitate. Or, at least, that’s what legend tells us.
Huntley Meadows Park near Alexandria treats visitors to over 1,500 acres of restored wetlands, forests, and meadows. It is home to a stunning diversity of wildlife, all visible from a boardwalk, observation tower and trails. But if Henry Woodhouse, an aviation enthusiast with a shady past, had gotten his way, this gorgeous slice of Northern Virginia might have become the biggest airport in the world.