To begin planning your schedule of guided walking tours, here's a list of the tours we plan to offer during WalkingTown DC 2017:
16th Street: Avenue of the Presidents -- Stroll uptown past 200 years of history on the stately street that lies between Lafayette Park and Park Road NW. 16th Street NW features Gilded Age mansions, a dozen current or former embassies, the ostentatious Scottish Rite Temple, peculiar statuary, the cascading fountains of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, and houses of worship representing a veritable catalogue of religious denominations.
Adams Morgan: 400 Years of Displacement -- See Adams Morgan as a place of constant change, from the displacement of Native American communities through the gentrification that continues today. Examine the economic impact of post-World War II, redlining and block-busting, flight to the DC suburbs, and the riots, rebellion and police occupation in the 1960s. In the 90s, numerous local retail shops and services became bars and nightclubs. Today, Adams Morgan faces its decades-long issues with brief moments of pushback and resistance.
Architectural Photography at the Smithsonian Castle -- On this special WalkingTown DC photo safari, you will learn the techniques of travel photography including and how to capture the most picturesque angles of selected Smithsonian Institution buildings. Bring your own camera or smartphones. No tripods. All skill levels are welcome to attend.
Art and History are Alive at the Cemetery -- Stroll through 300-year-old St. Paul's Rock Creek Parish and Rock Creek Cemetery. Occupying 86 manicured acres, this cemetery is Washington's only active Colonial Era church and churchyard. It is home to some of the most beautiful sculptures in the city rendered by many of America's greatest artists, including Auguste St. Gaudens and James Earle Fraser.
Anacostia River by Bike -- Take a two-hour bike ride along the Anacostia River and Kingman Island as you learn about the plan for and the progress to restore and clean the river during frequent stops along the way.
Blagden Alley and Naylor Court: Alley Life in Old Washington -- This tour explores the history, life and architecture of Naylor Court and Blagden Alley, two of the best-preserved 19th century alleys in northwest Washington, DC. However, poor, the residents of these alleys, formed separate, mutually supportive communities. These alley dwellings narrowly survived reformers' attempts to demolish them and they remain endangered today.
Brookland: Rural Village to City Neighborhood -- Your walking tour will take you through central Brookland, where you will see landmarks associated with early land-grant families from the Colonial period and sites connected to the farming and summer residences of the early republic, as well as those related to Brookland's time as a trolley-car suburb.
Burleith, Georgetown Flea Market & Holy Rood Cemetery – The Burleith neighborhood just north of Georgetown has a rich history. This "Village within the City" is a tightly knit community that has been the home of the Georgetown Flea Market for more than 30 years. Learn about the flea market, the area's fire-call boxes, which the Burleith Historical Group recently refurbished, and much more.
Congress Heights at a Crossroads -- Developed in the early 20th century as a white working-class streetcar suburb, Congress Heights sits in the heart of DC's predominantly African-American Ward 8. Its leafy streets feature an eclectic mix of single-family homes, row houses and small apartment buildings. As property values rise and the re-development of the St. Elizabeth's Hospital campus progresses, residents hope for better services and amenities while fearing displacement.
A Dupont Circle Story of the Great War: American Red Cross Women Answer the Call -- A century ago, the United States entered the First World War and the women of the American Red Cross provided unprecedented support for the troops at home and abroad. A short walk around Dupont Circle provides the setting for a story with enormous impact. Linger and learn about the women of this tiny enclave who gave time, money, automobiles, and even their homes in support of the American Expeditionary Forces.
East of the River Fort Circle Trail -- At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the Union Army constructed a ring of more than 60 earthen forts to protect the capital city from Confederate invasion. In the early 20th century, planners dreamed of a scenic parkway connecting the hilltop forts in a ring around the entire city. Hike the lower two-thirds of this still-incomplete parkway, where the unpaved Fort Circle Trail runs past Forts Mahan, Chaplin, Dupont, Davis, Stanton and Battery Rickets.
Fancy Animal Sculpture Works by Hung Yi -- From CityCenterDC to New York Avenue and Chinatown Park, the Fancy Animal Carnival by renowned Taiwanese artist Hung Yi is five magnificent larger-than-life works on display in Downtown DC. Each of the animal sculptures represents a story told through traditional Taiwanese symbols and motifs believed to bring luck.
Frederick Law Olmsted and the US Capitol Grounds -- Commissioned by Congress in 1874 to design the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, Frederick Law Olmsted created an innovative landscape, presenting the Capitol building to greatest visual effect while overcoming numerous design challenges. Explore the history and design of the Capitol Grounds while learning about its intricate features.
Gallaudet University: A National Treasure -- Gallaudet University is the world's only liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing students. Now as well known for its Olmsted landscapes and Victorian buildings as it is for its educational excellence, the University house a museum in Chapel Hall and an iconic Tower Clock that still serves as the focal point of the college.
Georgetown: Off the Beaten Path -- Listen to tales and facts unknown to most people outside of Georgetown, and see the lesser-known parts of the neighborhood many Washingtonians call home. Stroll by the former residences of cabinet members, military generals, movie stars, and world-renowned authors and journalists, including ones who covered the Watergate Scandal.
Heart of the Hill: Exploring Historic Capitol Hill -- Learn more about the buildings and other historic sites on Capitol Hill, including the tales behind the construction of the Supreme Court, Folger Shakespeare Library, and the U.S. House and Senate office buildings. See a house once lived in by abolitionist Frederick Douglas and the site of the first Presidential Inaugural Ball held in DC.
Hidden Gems of SE: Hillcrest and East Washington Heights -- This popular guided walking tour continues to challenge assumptions about the neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Hillcrest Heights and the adjacent Penn Branch and Dupont Park communities boast tree-lined streets of homes ranging from single-family Sears Bungalows and brick Colonials to stately subdivisions. A tour highlight is a visit to the former home of Dr. Louis A. Gebhard, a pioneer in the development of radar at the Naval Research Laboratory, whose 1934 center-hall Colonial in Hillcrest had a number of technological innovations.
Highlights from the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory Collection -- Do you want to visit a jungle, desert and tropical paradise, all in the same day? Then tour the US Botanic Gardens and learn about the connection between the exotic plant world and everyday life. Learn about the latest in plant science during this one-hour, indoor tour of the U.S. Botanic Gardens' Conservatory Collection.
Historic Chevy Chase DC -- A leisurely walk through the Chevy Chase community of northwest Washington, DC, starts at the historic Avalon Theatre on Connecticut Avenue. Learn about the history and development of Chevy Chase DC as you examine decades-old commercial buildings along the Avenue. Walk down several side streets to observe the various housing styles and historic structures in the neighborhood.
History Tour of Dupont Circle -- Discover Pacific Circle (now Dupont Circle) from 1880 to the present. Learn about the marble fountain that replaced a statue of Admiral Dupont, hear about old shops and restaurants, and discover some things you never knew about this trendy neighborhood.
Iconic Downtown DC Theaters -- On this one-of-a-kind walking tour, you'll learn about two iconic cultural institutions – National Theatre and Ford's Theatre. Established in 1835, National Theatre is the oldest continuously operating theatre in DC and has been home to many celebrated national productions. At Ford's Theatre, uncover the details of the conspiracy to kill President Abraham Lincoln as you relive the actions of key players onstage and off, and stand in the spot where Booth waited outside the President's Box. Together, the National Theatre and Ford's Theatre capture the essence of great theatre, rooted in a tumultuous past and looking, always, to a vibrant and challenging future.
Irish American Influences in DC -- Discover the many and varied contributions of Irish-Americans who, from the colonial era through today, helped shape the nation and define the character of Washington, DC. This tour features the actions of historic figures and unsung laborers, heroes, and U.S. presidents, artists, advocates, architects and others -- all of whom share an Irish heritage.
Jewish Downtown Washington -- Learn what Jewish life and worship was like in Washington's historic Seventh Street NW neighborhood from 1850 to 1950. The tour includes visiting the sites of four former synagogues.
Lafayette Square in the Civil War Era -- Explore some of the most important people, buildings, and events associated with Lafayette Square, Washington, DC's most fashionable neighborhood during the Civil War era. Hear about the Blair-Lee House, George McClellan's headquarters, the attempted assassination of Secretary of State William Seward, the sensational murder of the son of Francis Scott Key by the notorious Dan Sickles, and much more.
L'Enfant Boulevard: Making Way for Change – Take a walk through the history, architecture, and plans for the future of L'Enfant Boulevard (formerly 10th Street SW). Hear about this historic street and the changes that took place during the 1950s and 1960s to revitalize Southwest Washington. See Southwest waterfront from the boulevard and park, and envision what's to come as this part of southwest Washington DC changes once again.
Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream" and the 1963 March on Washington -- Have you ever listened to the entire 17-minute "I Have a Dream" speech that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963? This guided walking tour will include listening to the entire speech and exploring several DC sites associated with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. including Freedom Plaza and the Willard Hotel, White House, MLK Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.
Meridian Hill Park: National Park and Neighborhood Oasis -- Meridian Hill Park was one of the first public parks in the United States to be designed as a formal park. Modeled after the grand Renaissance and Italian gardens that could be found in the world's great capital cities, the park has many unique features throughout its beautiful 12-acres. Learn about the design and landscaping, the statues, and the park's history and importance to the neighborhood.
Murals of the U.S. Department of Interior -- Discover the art and architecture that made the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building a "symbol of a new day" during the Great Depression. The tour of the Interior's murals features 26 photographic murals by Ansel Adams and many of the 40-plus mural panels painted by artists such as Maynard Dixon, Allan Houser, Gifford Beal and John Steuart Curry.
Oak Hill Cemetery -- One of America's outstanding examples of the Rural Cemetery movement, Oak Hill Cemetery in upper Georgetown is as historic as it is scenic. See the gravesites and hear the stories of Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; William Corcoran, philanthropist who established the Corcoran Gallery of Art; Philip and Kay Graham of The Washington Post; and others.
Shaw: Where DC Comes Together, Part I -- DC's Shaw neighborhood has always been a crossroads. Today, the Washington Convention Center dominates the neighborhood's southern half, but it once consisted of woods and a few farms. Notable historic figures lived and worked in lower central Shaw and it was home to a number of historic sites, the locations of which today house vibrant neighborhood activity.
Shaw: Where DC Comes Together, Part II -- Entertainment is the focus of central Shaw's northern half—from the Howard Theatre, where every star in the Black entertainment pantheon performed, and the pool hall where Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington decided to become a musician, to two sites that hosted baseball teams. Tour highlights include renovated movie theater buildings and the city's first African American YWCA.
Springland Farm: Before UDC and the International Chancery -- Tour the historic Springland Farm that was established in 1800 by Revolutionary War hero John Adlum and was arguably the most important vineyard in the history of the United States. The farm became the home to the National Bureau of Standards (1905-1966), University of the District of Columbia (1968-present), and the International Chancery Center (1968-present), which is home to 16 embassies. Hear the fascinating 217-year history of the Farm and its progeny.
Tenleytown: The Village that Grew -- Visit DC's Tenleytown neighborhood, which started as a humble village near the District's highest natural elevation. Learn how Wisconsin Avenue developed from a Native American footpath to a thriving commercial corridor. See some of the hidden (and not so hidden) historic gems of Tenleytown, including the Methodist Cemetery, Fort Reno, Grant Road, and The Rest, the oldest surviving house in the neighborhood.
The Federal Triangle: Planning, Architecture, Art -- The Federal Triangle was first conceived as an integral component of the 1901 McMillan Commission's plan to extend the L'Enfant Plan and beautify the monumental core of Washington. Starting with the 1926 Public Buildings Act, the Triangle was developed to encompass the principles of the City Beautiful movement with a blending of Beaux Arts and Neoclassical architecture. Explore this enclave, focusing on the integration of planning, architecture, and architectural sculpture.
The Watergate Scandal and All The President's Men -- It has been 45 years since the Watergate break-in (June 17, 1972) and 43 years since the publication of the book All the President's Men (June 15, 1974), which told the story of the infamous break-in at the luxury DC building. See selected sites associated with the scandal depicted in the book and the movie (starring Robert Redford and Al Pacino) and hear provocative insights about the book and film as you walk.
Worthy Ambition: The Unique Architecture and Historical Figures of LeDroit Park -- LeDroit Park was developed in 1873 as an exclusive white "suburban" enclave. In this tour, explore unique architecture and the historical figures who transformed the neighborhood to the home of DC's black intelligentsia, as well as the unique 19th-century houses built in 12 distinct architectural styles.