• 1874 Illustration of U.S. Botanic Garden
    National Mall
     
     
    The U.S. Botanic Garden dates to the earliest planning of the capital city. Many of the Founding Fathers believed that a living repository for plants would have countless benefits, from the production of food and medicine to the scientific study of international specimens to the enjoyment of aesthetic beauty.
  • The real life "Smokey the Bear," shown here frolicking in a pool at the National Zoo c.1950, was the embodiment of a fire safety public awareness campaign that started during World War II. (Photo credit: Francine Schroeder, Smithsonian Institution Archives. Used for educational purposes in accordance with the Smithsonian Archives terms of use.)
    Strange But True
     
     
    How did Smokey the Bear come to have his very own personal Washington, D.C. zipcode? Glad you asked.
  • David Bowie jams at a party thrown by publicist Rodney Bingenheimer at lawyer Paul Figen's house in January 1971, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
    David Bowie: 1947-2016
     
     
    In 1971 a largely unknown David Bowie landed at Dulles Airport and stayed in the Washington, D.C. area on his first visit to America.
  • Sam's Park and Shop
     
     
    In 1930, it shaped the modern American shopping experience and was the model for the type of shopping-center that is still standard today.
  • Women suffragists picketing in front of the White House in 1917. (Source Library of Congress via Wikipedia)
    Women's Suffrage
     
     
    While tame by today's standards, a century ago, Washington was the site of "the most militant move ever made by the suffragists of this country."

A Friday Photo: Jazz for the Bears

A Friday Photo: Jazz for the Bears

I came across this photo while doing some research about the National Zoo. It's a picture of jazz quintet playing a concert for a polar bear in the 1920s. Errr... what? I'd really like to know what precipitated this. Did these dudes just wake up one morning and say, "Hey, let's go down to the zoo and play a set for the bears." "Good idea, I'll see if Gertrude is free to dance for them."? Well, in any case, the bear seems to be enjoying it. Or maybe he's just waiting for his chance to take a swipe at them through the bars.

See the full size photo »

Southern Maryland Dutch Country

Amish horse and buggy on the road in Southern Maryland. (Courtesy of St. Mary's College of Southern Maryland Archives.)

Amish horses and buggies in the Washington, D.C. Metro area? Yep. It's true. Over 200 Amish families live and work in St. Mary’s and Charles counties in Maryland, less than 40 miles from downtown D.C. The settlement, which is centered around the town of Charlotte Hall, dates to 1939 when seven families migrated to the area from Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania for the cheap Maryland land(!) and to escape pressure from the Pennsylvania state government.

The Legend of the Bunny Man

Bunny Man Bridge in Clifton, Virginia has haunted local teens for decades. (Photo source: Flickr user Motoboy92)

You’re sixteen years old, caught up in the intoxicating freedom that comes with your new driver’s license, and it’s Halloween night. You and your friends are driving around your small town looking for a quiet place far away from adult supervision. You decide to park on the side of the road near a secluded railway overpass. It’s the perfect place to get “up to something,” as your mother would say: woods creeping up on either side and the complete darkness you can only find on rural roads without streetlamps or nearby houses.

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