The Washington Monument we know today is iconic, but it was never really planned to look that way. Before it grew up, the monument went through many, many proposed designs. After decades in limbo and a construction mired in drama, one engineer's vision triumphed over artists, politicians, and critics.
There's something below Dupont Circle, and it's not the Red Line! Tunnels were built for trolley cars in the 1940s, but they were abandoned shortly after. In the decades since, the tunnels have had quite a few interesting uses. What lays beneath the streets of one of the Districts' best known roundabouts?
The new PBS documentary series Iconic America: Our Symbols and Stories explores US history and identity through iconic national symbols. Washington, D.C. is home to some of America’s most iconic landmarks and historic sites, like the Washington Monument, the White House, and the Smithsonian Castle. But locals know that beyond the national landmarks, there are hundreds of lesser-known symbols and landmarks that make the city unique and hold the memories of its residents. Over the years, Boundary Stones has highlighted many of them.
A long time ago in a galaxy not so far, far away, the National Cathedral gained an unusual sculpture: a carving of Darth Vader to adorn its northwest tower. As it turned out, Darth Vader, the result of a design competition for children, is a very fitting figure for the Cathedral's decoration.
Even though most Washingtonians know that there is a statue atop the U.S. Capitol dome, many don’t actually know what it’s a statue of. Can you blame us? It’s hard to get a good look at it. Let's take a closer look!
For decades, the land on the western bank of the Potomac River that is currently home to the Pentagon, Ronald Reagan National Airport, Roache’s Run Bird Sanctuary, and part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway was disputed territory. Did it belong to Virginia? The District? No one seemed quite sure.
Although the Capitol has withstood plenty of attacks from foreign and domestic adversaries over the years, sometimes the most destructive forces can come from something as common as a gas leak... How did a series of accidents and events lead to one of the most devastating incidents in the Capitol's history? What priceless artifacts were lost forever, and who were the people risking their lives to prevent further destruction of the nation's history?
A guard patrolling the basement of the Capitol during the Civil War is attacked -- not by enemy soldiers, but by a giant, demonic cat! Over a hundred years later, the "Demon Cat" is still one of Washington's greatest ghost stories, which is saying something in a city with as many phantom residents as the capital. What is the real story of this mystical mouser?
On a cold, overcast Tuesday morning in February 1981, something caught the eye of a museum technician as he walked through the “We the People” exhibit on the second floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History: The silver pen of President McKinley’s Secretary of State John Hay was missing. The 7 ¼-inch Parker Jointless pen had been used to sign the 1898 Treaty of Paris, ending the Spanish-American War.
But now, to the technician’s horror, its case was empty -- and there were more alarming discoveries to come.
While digging a sewer near the Capitol in 1898, a construction crew makes an incredible discovery- a fossil! Only, when it's brought to the Smithsonian, no one is able to say for certain what kind of dinosaur it might belong to. Could this be a clue to a dinosaur found only in the District? See how generations of paleontologists dispute the identity D.C.'s oldest resident, and how a group of school kids played a factor in solidifying its legacy.