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Old July 4th, 2008, 09:05 PM   #1
xzmattzx
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Washington, DC: Downtown, Chinatown

Washington DC's Downtown is the center of business in the District of Columbia, and the center of politics in the United States. Pennsylvania Avenue was intended by L'Enfant to be the grand avenue connecting the White House and the Capitol. It was to be the "Main Street" of Washington. Early on, Downtown was a residential neighborhood for wealthy Washingtonians, with small shops being the only commcerial businesses. After the Civil War, when streetcars made transportation quicker and easier, Downtown began to transform into a commercial center, as businesses saw Pennsylvania Avenue as the commercial hub of the city. Stately buildings began to be constructed as Washington prospered. In 1899, residents began to see advances in engineering technology threaten the European feeling of the capital city, and the Heights of Buildings Act was passed. Under the Heights of Buildings Act, no building could be taller than the Capitol.

Downtown saw another transformation in the 1930s, when the Federal Triangle was begun. With Federal government buildings being constructed between Pennsylvania & Constitution Avenues, Pennsylvania Avenue became a governmental center. It was envisioned that national embassies would line the street all the way from the Capitol to the White House.

Downtown can be divided into individual neighborhoods with their own characteristics. Judiciary Square, located just west of I-395, has historically been the seat of government for the District of Columbia, and continues to serve this function. Penn Quarter was a center of business in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and saw revitalization in the 1990s with the opening of the then MCI Center. Downtown has recently started expanding into the area known as NoMa, which is along Capitol Stret and north of Massachusetts Avenue. Other areas of the central business district do not fall into historial neighborhoods, and have always been called "Downtown".


The Government Printing Office, at G Street NW and Capitol Street. The structure was built in 1903 to house the Government Printing Office, which fulfilled the printing needs of Congress. The GPO became an arm of the U.S. Government, and the Government Printing Office building is one of the few government buildings to use brick instead of marble or granite. The Government Printing Office is located on the edge of NoMa, a neighborhood that is starting to become part of Downtown.



An office building at H Street NW and Capitol Street.



St. Aloysius Gonzaga Roman Catholic Church, on Capitol Street. The church was built in 1859 and the dedication was attended by President James Buchanan.



Looking down Capitol Street from near K Street at the U.S. Capitol.



Government offices on Capitol Street.



Rowhouses on K Street.



Buildings at the split between 1st Street & New Jersey Avenue NW.



Bernard F. McDonough Hall on 1st Street NW, part of the Georgetown University Law Center. McDonough Hall was built in 1971 and expanded in 1997.



The National Building Muesum, seen from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The National Building Museum was built in 1883 and was originally the Pension Building, which provided pensions for veterans from the Revolutionary War to World War I. Many Presidential inaugural balls were held here beginning in 1885. The National Building Museum began using the structure in 1980. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial was dedicated in 1991 to police officers in the United States killed in the line of duty. This area of Downtown is known as "Judiciary Square", named so because of the proximity to the District of Columbia Courthouse.



Buildings at 5th & G Streets NW.



St. Mary Mother of God Roman Catholic Church, on 5th Street NW. The parish was established in 1846 as the first Roman Catholic church in Washington. The current church was built in 1890.



Buildings along 7th Street NW.



Buildings on I Street NW near New York Avenue NW.



An office building on I Street NW from New York Avenue.



Looking down New York Avenue NW towards the White House. The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, built in 1950 to replace an almost identical church, is on the right. The parish itself was established in 1803.



The National Museum of Women in the Arts, at 13th Street NW & New York Avenue NW. The structure was originally a Masonic temple and was built in 1908. The museum opened in 1987.



One Franklin Square, across K Street NW from Franklin Square. The building is 210 feet tall and was built in 1989.



Franklin School, on 13th Street NW, across from Franklin Square. Franklin School was built in 1869 and was recently used as a homeless shelter.



The Almas Temple, on K Street NW, next to One Franklin Square. Almas Temple was built in 1926 for the Shriners.



Buildings on K Street NW at 14th Street NW.



A statue of Commodore John Barry in Franklin Square. Commodore Barry was an officer in the Continental Navy, and later the United States Navy. His ship, the "Alliance", won the last naval battle of the Revolutionary War, fought off of Cape Canaveral in March of 1783.



The John Barry statue in Franklin Square, with One Franklin Square in the background.



The Bond Building, at 14th Street NW and New York Avenue NW. The structure was built in 1901.



The old Commercial National Bank building at 14th & G Streets NW. The structure was built in 1928 and is now used as office space.



The Willard Hotel, now the Willard InterContinental, at 14th Street NW & Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The Willard Hotel was built in 1901 and replaced the old City Hotel, which included many Presidents as patrons, such as Taylor, Fillmore, and Lincoln, as well as others like Charles Dickens.



The Willard InterContinental, from Pershing Park. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech was written here, the night before giving the speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The National Press Corps was founded here in 1908.



Additions to the Willard InterContinental, along Pennsylvania Avenue NW.



A statue of General John J. Pershing, in Pershing Park. During World War I, Pershing was the General of the Armies, the highest rank ever in the U.S. Army. Pershing is the only person to hold this title while alive; George Washington was the only other person to hold this title, and was given it posthumously.



Looking across Freedon Plaza and down Pennsylvania Avenue from 14th Street NW at the Capitol.



The statue of William Tecumseh Sherman, near 15th & E Streets NW and near the Department of the Treasury. The statue was dedicated in 1903 and is said to be on the site where Sherman reviewed the Union Army when they returned from the Civil War in 1865.



The U.S. Treasury Building, which faces Alexander Hamilton Place NW and is adjacent to the White House. The Treasury Building was completed in 1867 and houses the Deparment of the Treasury.



The White House, from E Street NW. The White House was designed by James Hoban and was modelled after country estate houses of England and Ireland. Construction on the house began in 1792, and the mansion was completed in 1800 for President John Adams to move into.



The Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building, on State Place NW. The Executive Office Building was once the largest office building in the world, and is said to be the largest grantire structure in the world. The Executive Office Building was completed in 1888.



The western facade of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, also known as the Old Executive Office Building. Many Vice Presidents have had their offices here in recent times.



The 1st Division Memorial, in front of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The monument is dedicated to the U.S. Army's First Division of the American Expeditionary Force, sent in World War I to France. The monument is topped with a gilded bronze statue of Victory. The monument was dedicated in 1924.



Buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The Renwick Gallery, completed in 1871 and now part of the Smithsonian Institution to showcase craft art, is on the left. The yellow house in the center is the Blair House, which is used as the guest house for White House visitors. Harry Truman used the Blair House as his residence while the White House was being renovated, and it was here that Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to assassinate Truman. Robert E. Lee also decided to turn down the offer to command the Union Army and instead help the Confederates. The house was built in 1824.



The statue of Comte Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur de Rochambeau, in the southwest corner of Lafayette Square. Rochambeau was commander of the Royal French Expiditionary Force, and after arriving in America in 1780, helped lead the Continental Army from New York to Virginia, where they met with the Marquis de Lafayette's forces and defeated Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.



Rowhouses on Jackson Place NW. Many of these houses were used as residences by cabinet members for countless Presidencies.



The White House from Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The White House was not officially called by that name until Theodore Roosevelt changed it from the "Executive Mansion" in 1901.



The White House, with the address of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, arguably the most famous address in the world.



The Andrew Jackson statue is the centerpiece of Lafayette Square. The statue was dedicated in 1853 and was made from melted-down British cannons captured by Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812.



The White House from Lafayette Square, with the Washington Monument in the background.



The Benjamin Olge Tayloe House on Madison Place. The house was built in 1828, and was the residence of Vice President Garrett Hobart and Senator Mark Hanna at different times, and was also one of the last places that President William Henry Harrison visited before dying in office.



In the southeast corner of Lafayette Square is a statue dedicated to Major General de Marquis Marie Jean Paul Roch Yves Gilbert Motier de Lafayette. The statue of General Lafayette was unveiled in 1891 and shows him petitioning France's National Assembly to help the Americans fight the British. The statue was dedicated in 1902.



In the northeast corner of Lafayette Square is a statue dedicated to Thaddeus Kosciuszko. Kosciuszko was a Polish patriot who first helped the United States fight for its independence, then returned to Poland to use his acquired battle skills to try and gain independence for his own country.



The White House from the northern end of Lafayette Park, with the statue of Andrew Jackson in the foreground, and the Washington Monument in the background.



St. John's Episcopal Church, at the corner of 16th & H Streets NW, across from Lafayette Square. The church was built in 1815 and is called the "Church of the Presidents" because almost every President since James Madison has worshipped here. Pew 54 is traditionally held for the President, since James Madison rented that pew beginning in 1816.



The statue of Frederick William Augustus Henry Ferdinand, also known as Baron von Steuben, in the northwest corner of Lafayette Square. Von Steuben arrived in Valley Forge in 1778 and was given the task to turning citizens into soldiers. He was able to turn raw recruits into soldiers almost equal to the British forces. The statue was dedicated in 1910.



The statue of Admiral David G. Farragut, called the "First Admiral in the Navy", in Farragut Square. Farragut is famous for the line, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" The statue was dedicated in 1881.



The statue of General James B. McPherson in McPherson Square. General McPherson was killed in the Battle of Atlanta in 1864 and was the highest-ranking Union officer killed in the conflict. The statue was dedicated in 1876.



The Investment Building, on K Street NW at 15th Street NW. The building was completed in 1922.



The White House and the north portico, added in 1824.



The White House from Pennsylvania Avenue NW.



The SunTrust building, at 15th Street NW & New York Avenue NW. The structure was originally the National Safe Deposit, Savings, & Trust Company Bank, and was built in 1888.



Buildings on 15th Street NW. The Woodward Building, built in 1910, is on the left. The Securities Building, built in 1926, is to the right of the Woodward Building. The Folger Building, completed in 1908, is in the center.



The Southern Building, on 15th Street NW at H Street NW.. The Southern Building was built in 1911.



The top floors of the Southern Building.



Looking east down H Street NW from 15th Street NW. The National Museum of Women in the Arts is in the center, at the intersection of 13th Street NW & New York Avenue NW.



Looking east down G Street NW.



Looking east down G Street NW, with the Verizon Center in the center.



The National Metropolitan Bank building, on 15th Street NW. The structure was built in 1907.



Hotel Washington, on 15th Street NW near Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Hotel Washington was built in 1917.



Portraits of several men live the top of Hotel Washington: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson are three Americans that are confirmed; the other three portraits are said to be Galileo, Plato, and Raphael, although some believe that the Galileo portrait is of Shakespeare, and that the Plato portrait is of Aristotle.



Looking down Pennsylvania Avenue NW at the Capitol from Pershing Park. The tower of the Main Post Office, at 315 feet tall, is in the right-center.



The John A. Wilson Building, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 14th Street NW. The Wilson Building houses the mayor's office and is the home of the Council for the District of Columbia. The building was completed in 1908.



The corner of the John A. Wilson Building.



Buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue NW from Freedom Plaza. The National Theatre was opened in 1835, and was rebuilt several times after fires. The current building dates back to the 1920s. National Theatre is known as "The Theater of Presidents" because of its location in front of Pennsylvania Avenue and its proximity to the White House. Many Presidents have attended shows here, starting with President Andrew Jackson.



Looking down Pennsylvania Avenue from Freedom Plaza. The Old Post Office, built in 1899, is in the center. Freedom Plaza was laid out in 1980 and originally named "Western Plaza", but was renamed "Freedom Plaza" after Martin Luther King, Jr in 1988.



The statue of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, at the eastern end of Freedom Plaza. Pulaski was a Polish-born General in the Continental Army who came to America after failing in his attempt to help the Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth. Pulaski is known as the "Father of the American Cavalry" and died in the Battle of Savannah in 1779.



Warner Theatre, at the intersection of 13th & E Streets NW. Warner Theatre was built in 1924 as a movie theater, but now mainly show live theater events.



The top of Warner Theatre from Freedom Plaza.



The 13th Street entrance to Warner Theatre.



Buildings at the intersection of 10th & F Streets NW. Ford's Theater is on the right just out of frame, on 10th Street NW.



The Hecht's Department Store building, at 7th & F Streets NW. Hecht's opened this department store in 1925.



The Verizon Center, from F Street NW. The Verizon Center is home to the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals.



Buildings on 6th Street NW at E Street NW.





Chinatown is a neighborhood in Washington that was originally settled by German immigrants. Chinese Americans moved into the neighborhood surrounding H & I Streets in the 1930s, when the Federal Triangle development pushed them out of the old Chinese neighborhood along Pennsylvania Avenue. Chinatown began to decline in the 1960s, as residents moved to the suburbs to escape riots and an increasingly anti-business climate. Chinatown slowly started to disappear in the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1990s, the MCI Center was opened on the edge of the neighborhood, which helped bring life back to Chinatown, but it also fueled the swallowing of the neighborhood by Downtown. Today, Chinatown is just a fraction of what it once was, and gets smaller as time goes by.


Buildings at 5th & H Streets NW.



Businesses on H Street NW.



A Mongolian restaurant on H Street.



The Friendship Arch, on H Street near 7th Street. The Friendship Arch was erected in 1986 and symbolizes the connection between Washington and Beijing. The Friendship Arch is one of the largest Chinese arches outside of China.



Businesses on 7th Street NW.



An office building at 7th & I Streets NW.



Buildings on G Street NW at 9th Street NW.



Buildings on G Street NW at 8th Street NW.



Chinese businesses on 7th Street NW, with the Regal Gallery Place Cinema housed in the larger portion of the building.



The Verizon Center, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Verizon Center was built in 1997. The 7th Street NW entrance is on the edge of Chinatown.

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Old July 5th, 2008, 01:34 AM   #2
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It always strikes me how few pedestrians there are in DC for such a dense city.

Anyhow, nice pictures.
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Old July 5th, 2008, 05:04 AM   #3
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Some of the best architecture in the states.

Thanks for the photos!
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Old July 6th, 2008, 08:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanWalker View Post
It always strikes me how few pedestrians there are in DC for such a dense city.

Anyhow, nice pictures.
Actually there are TONS of people who walk around the city. I cant tell when these pics were taken but i have no clue where all the people are.
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Old July 6th, 2008, 08:56 PM   #5
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Best tour of DC I have ever seen on here.

Uncanny how much the city resembles Paris....
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Old July 7th, 2008, 05:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanWalker View Post
It always strikes me how few pedestrians there are in DC for such a dense city.

Anyhow, nice pictures.
These pictures were taken during a work day in January, mainly in the morning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNiemann View Post
Best tour of DC I have ever seen on here.

Uncanny how much the city resembles Paris....
Thanks!
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Old July 7th, 2008, 07:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanWalker View Post
It always strikes me how few pedestrians there are in DC for such a dense city.

Anyhow, nice pictures.
There are a lot of people in DC during business days. However, just like Downtown L.A., there are only few during weekends and holidays except in the Museums, the Mall, Georgetown, Waterfront or Clubs/Bars at night. The local government is trying to change it though. They are putting more stores downtown to lure more people to shop and probably live there. So far, it is not working due to nationwide economic turmoil. But I won't doubt that there will be an NYC's 5th Avenue in DC someday.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #8
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Indeed, what a beautiful set of photos! I'm enjoying this thread a lot! Thanks!

I love the contrast between the classic and the architecture of the recent more years.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 10:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by en1044 View Post
Actually there are TONS of people who walk around the city. I cant tell when these pics were taken but i have no clue where all the people are.
Actually, I can tell where a fair number of the pictures where taken, since I've walked in the same streets and have taken similar pictures (yes, also during weekdays). DC does have relatively few pedestrians, just not according to American standards. Only M street in Georgetown and perhaps Dupont Circle at night struck me as crowded.
Someone compared DC to Paris and that's quite an apt comparison considering the densities of both cities, except that Paris has far more pedestrians.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 11:45 PM   #10
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Great tour and enjoyed reading your captions!
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Old July 10th, 2008, 01:31 AM   #11
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Wow, what a thorough thread! So much extra information. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. Very enjoyable!
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Old July 27th, 2008, 04:53 AM   #12
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This is a wonderful photo survey of Washington, DC. There may be not many people shown out and about, but it is, as noted in a previous posting, an early January morning.

On workdays, DC is humming with activity, as thousands of residents walk, bike or Metro in to work and many commuters pile in from the close and far suburbs. Add to this the thousands of tourists who drift up to downtown from the mall and the museums in the afternoons and evenings for meals and shopping, and the streets of DC are far from desolate, and are in some areas downright lively.

There has been robust residential development in DC recently, both in downtown and in many neighborhoods throughout the city, and this continues today even as the overall real estate market in the U.S. tanked. There were two boomlet periods: one that began in the mid 1990s and another that quickly followed in the early 2000s. Developers are readying for another potential boomlet, which could occur as soon the subprime morass fades. The population of DC is rising, at long last, and this is bringing retailers back to the city and its downtown. The Gallery Place/Chinatown area is buzzing with activity during the day and at night, and new shops are opening along F Street, which was the traditional shopping strip in DC from the 1880s to the 1950s.

Many neighborhoods in the city are revitalizing, including U Street, Columbia Heights, Petworth, Takoma, and Brookland. The near Southeast, which is where the new baseball stadium is located, was formerly a forlorn industrial district, but is now exploding with development, both commercial and residential. There are big plans for the Southwest waterfront and its revitalization. The traditional well-off neighborhoods of Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, and several others are doing well, but are becoming increasing pricey, and that's saying something for DC, where an desolate row house shell in a sketchy area might go for upwards of a quarter million or more.

This photo survey, as impressive as it is, only covers about half of downtown, known as the East End. The other half is known as--well, you guessed it--the West End. This is where the traditional K Street corridor is to be found, running from approximately 16th St. to 25th St., NW. Sixteenth Street, NW, is generally considered the dividing point between the two sections. The connection between them was somewhat severed when Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, was closed to vehicular traffic in front of the White House in the 1990s.

Things are happening in DC, and for the better.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:41 AM   #13
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Definitely underrated...

People just think it's just a boring government city
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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #14
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downtown d.c. has gotta' be one of the busiest spots in the country. it's busy 24/7/365.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 04:29 PM   #15
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maybe this one should be reevaluated
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Old April 4th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #16
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I didn't know DC had so much nice architecture. :o When I think of DC I only think of the white house/nice monuments and some boring government buildings. I'm surprised. Great series!
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Old April 5th, 2009, 02:53 AM   #17
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DC is one of the world's most beautiful cities.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 04:01 AM   #18
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Awesome set of photos, and good info also. These shots slow DC in a very good light indeed. Some terrific architecture and great monuments to enjoy also. Would like to see some shots of the Lincoln Memorial...one of my favourite monuments in the US.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 05:07 AM   #19
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I hope someone took pics of the cherry blossoms and the festivities from today!
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Old April 5th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #20
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Thanks for posting Washington's districts the city is very nice
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