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WalkingTown DC Tour Descriptions

Cultural Tourism DC'S 2022 WalkingTown DC (WTDC) program runs from September 17 through September 25, 2022.  Comprised of nine days of free, guided "bite-size" lunchtime tours, after-work "happy hour" tours, and longer weekend tours, this year's WalkingTown DC program offers 50+ tours including a biking tour. Join us for these informative, engaging tours held across every quadrant of the District of Columbia. Register today!

PLEASE NOTE:  When a WalkingTown DC tour reaches capacity, registration closes, and we remove the online form for that tour. We do not keep a waitlist for the closed tours, but feel free to check back, as we continually process cancellations and reopen tours.

Thank you for your interest in WalkingTown DC.

 

Anacostia Riverside Tree Tour -- Join Casey Trees to learn about its history of tree planting in Anacostia and work to meet DC's goal of 40% tree canopy by 2032. Trees play an important role in maintaining our health, from keeping us cool, reducing flooding and keeping our rivers clean to reducing air pollution. Join this riverside walking tour of Anacostia Park, where you'll follow the Anacostia Riverwalk trail and learn about the trees that have been planted, such as the water-loving bald cypress and the beautiful white oak. Ample free parking is available. Please wear comfortable walking shoes!  Presented by Casey Trees.

Tour Guide: Hailey Aleman, community outreach coordinator, Casey Trees

 

Art & History are Alive in Historic Rock Creek Cemetery -- Historic Rock Creek Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the Mid-Atlantic region and it has a full and rich history. The 86-acre Nationally Registered Landmark is known for its beautiful park-like settings and magnificent pieces of funerary sculpture, including pieces listed in the Smithsonian Institution's inventory of outdoor sculpture.  Among the pieces are Augustus Saint-Gaudens' famous Adams Memorial, nicknamed "Grief". The tour also includes stories about some of the fascinating people who helped shape the DC area and the nation, such as an owner of the Hope Diamond, author Upton Sinclair, the first woman to volunteer for the U.S. Marines, and the inventor of Wonder Bread! Art and history are truly alive in Rock Creek Cemetery!            

Tour Guides: Donald Harrell, former historian for Rock Creek Church and Cemetery, and Jim Jones, Rock Creek Church Cemetery aficionado.

 

Birds, Blooms, Beasts & the Bull Moose: A Natural History Hike on Roosevelt Island -- Trek around Theodore Roosevelt Island, an 88-acre living memorial to the first president to make conservation a centerpiece of his presidency. Meet our 26th president -- or rather a 17-ft. bronze statue of him -- the rich Manhattanite who became known as the protector of more than 230 million acres of public land. Saunter around the island to sample its natural and not-so-natural history. Now visitors enjoy seeing the plants and critters that thrive on this 88-acre island in the Potomac River.

Tour Guide: Barbara Saffir, a master naturalist and author of Walking Washington, DC

 

Brewing, Baptisms, and Foggy Bottom: German Immigrant Experiences in Washington, DC -- Follow in the footsteps of Washington, DC's most successful brewer, German immigrant Christian Heurich, while exploring the history of Foggy Bottom and German immigrants in Washington. Visit the site of DC's largest brewery, the Christian Heurich Brewing Co., and learn about the role of Germans in the founding of Foggy Bottom and in American brewing.  Travel back in time to historic German landmarks, including the United Church (Die Vereinigte Kirche), the site of the original Heurich Brewing Co. and the Heurich House museum's historic Carriage House. Inside the Carriage House, linger to see the "Home/Brewed" exhibit highlighting Washington, DC's brewing history or wander around the garden of Christian and Amelia Heurich. The Heurich House Museum's Castle Garden will be open for our beer garden (biergarten) 1921, where you can grab a drink and enjoy a relaxing evening after the tour.

Tour Guide: Kai Walther, program coordinator, Heurich House Museum

 

Brookland: Past, Present and Future -- This tour will contrast Brookland today with Brookland during five earlier historic periods, starting with the Native American Woodlands Period and ending with the City Neighborhood (1927 to today). Armed with enlarged photos from his personal collection, your guide will also point out buildings that are on the Historic Landmark registry and the sites and homes associated with such famous Brooklanders as Sterling Brown, a Howard University professor and Harlem Renaissance poet; Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling; Carrie Harrison, botanist and Four-H leader; and Robert Weaver, first director of Housing and Urban Development. The lives of former neighborhood residents Ralph Bunche, John Preston Davis, Walter and Jean Kerr, and Bishop Fulton Sheen will also be considered along with the various architectural styles found in Brookland.

Tour Guide: John Feeley, author of Images of America: Brookland, amateur historian and Brookland native

 

Burleith/Georgetown Flea Market/Holy Rood Cemetery – Visit Burleith's five call boxes, each of which has a plaque focusing on an aspect of Burleith's history. Learn about the origins of the name Burleith and the Presidential candidates and their grandchildren, World War II generals, US astronauts, spies, celebrities, artists, poets and other well-known residents of this "Village within the City." Then take a walk through the recently renovated Holy Rood Cemetery.

Tour Guide: Dwane Starlin, author of Images of America: Burleith, licensed DC tour guide, historical character interpreter and professional musician.

 

Capitol Hill Scandals -- Discover the darker side of Capitol Hill as we explore murder, espionage, adultery, and more! Enjoy a nighttime view of iconic DC buildings while exploring the scandalous stories that lurk in the shadows of the halls of power. This tour takes place outside only (no interior locations) and includes some content not appropriate for young children.         

Tour Guide: Rebecca Grawl, professional, licensed tour guide

 

Charles Dickens in Washington, DC -- The great English novelist Charles Dickens visited the United States in 1842, when he was 30 years old and already a celebrity author of such popular stories as "The Pickwick Papers" and "Oliver Twist". Dickens visited DC, New York, Boston and other cities and wrote a book about his experiences. It contained a chapter about Washington, DC, and Dickens' amusing, sometimes scathing, observations about American politics and manners.  On this unique tour, you will trace Dickens' footsteps in DC as your guide recites what Dickens said about the sights along the route.  He also will perform excerpts from the works that made Dickens, by turns, famous, hilarious, horrifying and moving as you walk from the Willard Hotel to the White House and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. WARNING: The tour may include the horrific "Murder of Nancy" from Oliver Twist, which some people may find extremely disturbing.     

Tour Guide: Stephen Mead, licensed tour guide and professional storyteller

 

Congress Heights and Bellevue: Shepherd Parkway Hike -- The Ward 8 neighborhoods of Congress Heights and Bellevue sit atop a steep ridgeline that rises above 295. These hillsides are protected as Shepherd Parkway, a 197-acre unit of the National Park Service. Shepherd Parkway includes the earthwork remains Fort Carroll and Fort Greble, and portions of its hardwood forests have been practically undisturbed since the Civil War. We'll walk the street-side perimeter, parallel to the route where Ward 8 Woods proposes to create a new hiking trail.

Tour Guide: Nathan Harrington, executive director, Ward 8 Woods Conservancy

 

Clubhouse Tour: Arts Club of Washington, DC -- Since its founding in 1916, the Arts Club of Washington has called a building on I Street NW "home." Your tout of the historic clubhouse includes a review of the Arts Club, its activities and the distinguished men and women who have been members. You'll also enjoy a discussion about some of the fabled residents of the two mansions the Club now occupies, including President James Monroe and his First Lady Elizabeth, and Civil War General Robert MacFeely.          

Tour Guide: Dwane Starlin, author, licensed DC tour guide, historical character interpreter, professional musician and chair, History Committee, Arts Club of Washington, DC

 

DC as a Seaport: Local Maritime History -- A ship carried aviator and author Charles Lindberg from France to DC. Learn about that ship and others that are memorialized as models in an outdoor fountain in southeast Washington. Stroll from the Lincoln Memorial to the War World II Memorial as you hear stories of DC maritime history. Presented by the National Park Service.     

Tour Guide: Joe Mohr, Interpretive National Park Ranger, National Mall and Memorial Parks

 

FDR's War Czars and the War Economy -- U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to deal with shortages and factory conversions to prepare for a coming war. Who were the "Czars" in charge of each sector and the folks who were the cause for such slogans as "More Czars than the Romanovs" and "Dancing with the Czars"?  Meet the Presidential trouble shooters who helped FDR prepare for World War II -- William Knudsen, Henry Kaiser, Edward Stettinius, Henry Morgenthau and others.  Presented by the National Park Service.        

Tour Guide: Joe Mohr, Interpretive National Park Ranger, National Mall and Memorials Park

 

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 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: the Olmsted-designed marble terraces, brick Spring Grotto, masterful stone and ironwork; and carefully crafted views and circulation paths. Presented by the National Association for Olmsted Parks and the U.S. Capitol Historical Society; led by volunteers from the USCHS.           

Tour Guides: Steve Livengood, public programs director and chief guide, U. S. Capitol Historical Society, and Carla Smith, licensed tour guide

 

Hear Her Roar: Feminist Movements in the Nation's Capital -- Washington, DC is no stranger to protests and rallies. Women and gender politics have played a major role in the history of political marches on Washington.  Learn about the diverse women who have marched and the various political causes that they championed. From suffragists with colorful sashes to modern feminists in pink hats, Washington has seen an evolution of women's revolutions. This tour will show the impact of women's political engagement and the sometimes contradictory viewpoints with which women have had to grapple throughout history, revealing their strength, determination, and human complexities. Journey back in time to learn about the women who rallied as you walk in their footsteps and see the sights that they would have seen during their protests.      

Tour Guide: Kaitlin Calogera, licensed tour guide, author and small business owner

 

Herring Hill and Georgetown's African American Community -- Uncover the rich history of Georgetown's African-American communities, starting in Herring Hill, which was an 18th century community to both enslaved and freed blacks. See the churches and schools established by African-American Georgetowners during the 19th century and enjoy a stop at the Dumbarton House to hear about the slaves kept by the Nourse family.          

Tour Guide: Dwane Starlin, author, licensed DC tour guide, historical character interpreter and professional musician

 

Hidden Gems of SE: Hillcrest Architecture -- This highly rated tour continues to challenge assumptions about neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Just 10 minutes from The Capitol Building, the quiet, tree-lined streets of Hillcrest...boast single-family dwellings ranging from Sears Bungalows to stately subdivisions by the same developers as northwest DC's Crestwood and Hawthorne. It highlights the many houses by legendary DC architects, including A.H. Sonneman, Leon Chatelain, Edward Burton Corning, James J. Baldwin, Wilfred V. Worland, George T. Santmeyers, and pioneering African-American architects R.C. Archer, Jr. and Lewis W. Giles. Highlights include the 1935 polychrome Art Deco house designed by John Joseph Earley.  The tour concludes at one of the five new restaurants at long-awaited Skyland Town Center, the first large-scale retail development in 'far-SE' in more than a generation.

Tour Guide: Jim Byers, a long-time resident of Hillcrest and author of a chapter in Washington at Home, 2E

 

Historic Chevy Chase DC -- Learn about the history and architecture of Chevy Chase DC, starting at the Avalon Theatre. Hear about the community's development in the early 20th Century and see existing and proposed landmarked structures as well as examples of the wide variety of architectural styles that make Chevy Chase DC so distinctive.         

Tour Guide: Keene Taylor Jr., neighborhood native, local tour guide and licensed realtor

 

Historic Foggy Bottom: Rowhouses, Alleys, and Art -- Walk with us along tree-lined sidewalks as we tell the story of what made Foggy Bottom an Historic District. The area uniquely showcases a 19th century working class neighborhood, features 130-year old alley dwellings, and streets lined with 12-foot-wide distinctive brick row houses. Learn the area's history, how it changed over time, what remains, and what was lost. Listen to stories of the lives of Irish and German immigrants and African American residents who made the area their home. See a reputed Underground Railroad stop, German brewery worker houses, one of DC's most notorious alleys, and a 100-year-old livery stable. And, you'll learn why it's called Foggy Bottom!       

Tour Guide: Frank Leone, co-chair, Foggy Bottom History Project, and licensed tour guide

 

LeDroit Park: A Hidden Gem -- LeDroit Park is a hidden gem in DC with tree lined streets, detached homes and a lot of history! While it started as a gated "white only" community, LeDroit Park's black history includes poets, educators, politicians and more. Learn about one of the first DC suburbs--how it started, the unique architecture of the homes, and what it became through the years.

Tour Guide: Canden Arciniega, historian and licensed tour guide

 

The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Capitol Hill -- Learn about Frederick Douglass' life as a resident of the Historic Capitol Hill neighborhood and as an activist in Washingtonian.  Douglass was the Washington City Editor and correspondent of the New National Era, who regularly engaged with students from Howard University, members of Congress, the Senate and Supreme Court, diplomats and others.  He also greatly admired William Shakespeare. The tour will include the Capitol Hill home of Frederick Douglass and Lincoln Park where, in 1876, Douglass delivered a memorable address at the unveiling of the Freedman's Memorial to Abraham Lincoln, a statue that remains today.               

Tour Guide: John Muller, local historian and author

 

The Lost History of Mark Twain in Washington, DC -- Starting near the Jackson statue in Lafayette Square, journey back to the mid-19th century, when Mark Twain spent the winter of 1867–68 working as a journalist for a half-dozen newspapers. Join historian and author of Mark Twain in Washington, DC: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent John Muller as you travel to such sites as the Willard Hotel, Newspaper Row and the old City Hall to uncover this little-known but pivotal chapter in Twain's life. While walking, you'll hear captivating stories about Twain's time in various boarding houses and the lively, irreverent, and hard-drinking bohemian correspondents with whom he socialized.

Tour Guide: John Muller, local historian and author

 

Mansions of Meridian Hill -- Come explore the mansions of the Meridian Hill neighborhood dating from the early 20th Century and their significance in DC history. You'll be captivated by their unique architecture and the personalities who influenced the neighborhood. Significant sites include the Mexican Cultural Institute, Totten-Warder Mansion, and Meridian International Center.    

Tour Guide: Fiona Clem, long-time DC resident, local writer, and licensed tour guide

 

My Friend Clara Barton -- The theme of this tour is friendship. Friendship builds bonds of kindness and caring. On this amazing tour, Clara Barton's friend Janet Jennings will recount her own life in Washington, DC, including her experiences as a nurse and journalist and how she came to know Clara Barton. Janet will reveal her knowledge of Clara Barton, her life, and actions as the group walks from the National Building Museum to Ford's Theatre, with stops along the way. Each stop has a special story of courage, friendship, bravery and kindness.               

Tour Guide: Melanie La Force, certified master tour guide

 

The New Deal-Era Art and Architecture of the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building -- 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. Designed by local architect Waddy Butler Wood (1869–1944) and completed in 1936, the Interior's headquarters structure features more Public Works Administration (PWA) artwork than in any other Federal building and has the second most PWA artists represented. Throughout the indoor walking tour, you will view a selection of the more than 40 painted murals by New Deal-era artists, plus several of the 1941–1942 photomurals by Ansel Adams.  

Tour Guides: Tracy Baetz, chief curator, and Jason Jurgena, museum registrar, U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

 

Oak Hill Cemetery -- Take a stroll through one of DC's most scenic and historic cemeteries, overlooking Rock Creek Park and near Dumbarton Oaks. Visit the graves of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Joseph Henry, Lincoln's Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and his personal secretary John Nicolay, Truman's Secretary of State Dean Acheson, hotelier Joseph Willard, philanthropist and art gallery founder W. W. Corcoran; early Washington City Mayor Peter Van Ness; and many others. Tour will be outside on hilly grounds.    

Tour Guide: Craig Howell, native Washingtonian specializing in Civil War and Abraham Lincoln sites, and licensed tour guide

 

Raising the Curtain on the Washington Theatre Scene -- The history of performing arts and theatre in Washington, DC, is often overshadowed by the history of politics! We'll discover the city's vibrant and internationally renowned theatre community on this tour. This tour takes you to the city's historic theater venues through the streets of DC to reveal decades of women's contributions to the artistic community. It brings women's stories and marginalized history from behind the curtains to front and center on stage! Meet at the National Portrait Gallery in Penn Quarter, close to several downtown theatres, and finish at Freedom Plaza across the street from the National Theatre. Presented by Theatre Washington (as part of Theatre Week) and A Tour of Her Own.

 

 Rising Tides of DC -- Sea levels are rising.  DC's portion of the Chesapeake Basin is "settling" and scientists project that Washington will see a dramatic increase in tidal flooding in the next 10 to 25 years. Enjoy a fascinating and enlightening bike ride around many of DC's landmarks and thoroughfares and learn how much of DC is at significant risk due to climate change and geology. This 2-hour, 8-mile bike tour will have you rolling along the canal ways, rivers, and flood prone areas of our great city -- and through some scenic and vibrant DC neighborhoods. The route will be mostly on streets with bike lanes, bike trails and a few sidewalks (where it is legal to do so).

Tour Guide: Jeff Miller, licensed tour guide and owner, DC Cycling Concierge

 

Southwest Washington, DC -- Let's take a look at Southwest DC--its redeveloped waterfront of retail stores, restaurants, parks and promenades, piers and docks (The Wharf) and the adjacent neighborhood. A working-class neighborhood until the 1950s, Old Southwest was destroyed to create something new in one of the nation's first urban renewal experiments. Now the neighborhood is a mixture of mid-20th century multistory and townhouse residential projects; row houses and apartments; new retail, office, and residential projects; and a few historic and cultural sites including the iconic Arena Stage. On your tour with Russ, explore how this neighborhood became the mix of land uses and people that you see today.

Tour Guide: Russ Norfleet, licensed DC tour guide

 

Springland Farm and America's Most Important Vineyard -- Springland Farm, located at Tilden Street and Springland Lane in northwest Washington, was the home to America's most important vineyard. From it came the American viticulture industry. Learn about the founding of the National Bureau of Standards, University of the District of Columbia, and then the International Chancery Center on the farmland, NBS's lead science role in World War II, and the first atomic clock. Hear the stories of John Adlum (Father of American Viticulture), Myrtilla Miner (founder of one of three schools that merged to become UDC), Marcia Van Ness, Jesse Reno, Emory Upton, and Samuel Tilden and of the enslaved persons on Adlum/Springland Farm.  Discover an unsung DC neighborhood that is rich in history and stories.       

Tour Guide: Chuck Ludlam, local historian and community leader

 

Tenleytown to Wesley Heights…bet you don't realize all that's there! -- Where do religion, culture, news, national security and beauty all exist within just over a mile of each other? They are all on and near Nebraska Avenue NW, from Tenleytown to Wesley Heights. This stretch of road is home to the National Presbyterian Church and School and the Methodist Seminary, the stunning ambassadorial residences of Japan and Sweden and, next to each other, the headquarters of both NBC news and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. American University, with its beautiful arboretum-designated landscaping and rich and somewhat scandalous history, is also located here. Then there is Wesley Heights with its tree-lined streets and current and past residences of interesting people; think Marriott hotels and me, your tour guide!

Tour Guide: Ellen Malasky, licensed DC tour guide

 

Tregaron: Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Shipman's Historic Landscape Design -- Join us for an in-depth walking tour of the landscaped historic designs of the Tregaron Conservancy as you learn about its mission and work to recapture Ellen Biddle Shipman's vision. The tour will delve into Shipman's collaboration with architect Charles Adams Platt on plans for the estate, the principles underlying her original "wild garden" designs, and the Conservancy's ongoing work to interpret her plans, and to restore and rehabilitate the Tregaron landscape within this historic framework.               

Tour Guide: Lynn Parseghian, executive director, Tregaron Conservancy

 

Urban Renewal Parks in Southwest Washington -- In the rebuilding of the Southwest quadrant of the District in the 1950s and ‘60s, the new clean slate available to city planners called out for innovative parks and public landscaping. Washington's new Southwest is a treasure trove of modernist landscape design, often planned by some of the most reputable American designers of the period. The tour will visit all four public parks created in this effort and pass through other, less significant sites.

Tour Guide: Hayden Wetzel, licensed tour guide, preservationist and author of Two Studies on the History of Southwest Washington, D.C.: Buzzard Point, and Urban Renewal Parks

 

The Wharf: DC's Oldest and Newest Waterfront Neighborhood -- Explore The Wharf in Southwest DC, from its origins as DC's working waterfront, through its mid-century renewal, to its latest building boom. Walk along the waterfront from the Municipal Fish Market all the way to the newly completed buildings in Phase 2 of The Wharf. Learn about the innovative architecture and award-winning people-centered design of DC's newest outdoor spaces. Gain insights into The Wharf's robust schedule of community events, including music, dancing, and film screenings. Get a sneak peek of the restaurants and cultural amenities opening at The Wharf in late 2022.          

Tour Guide: Patrick Revord, resident and director of community engagement, The Wharf             

 

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