Fall NP Unit Trip VA, MD, and Washington DC

October 27, 2018

Oct 18 Th – left Springfield at 6am and arrived at the Natural Bridge State Park visitor center in VA (an Affiliated NP Unit), at 1pm.

George Washington participated in the survey of this area and Thomas Jefferson once owned the land (1774). It is now a VA State Park with a charge of $8 to walk to and through the Natural Bridge.

Starting on the trail

The Natural Bridge, created by Cedar Creek

We hiked through the bridge and stopped at the recreated Monacan Indian Village on our way to Lace Falls (30′ cascade). We had cool but beautiful weather for the 1.8mi hike.


It took 2hrs to drive to Patrick Henry’s Red Hill National Memorial VA (another Affiliated NP Unit) – this was his last home/tobacco plantation outside of Brookneal VA.

We toured the Visitor Center, 15min video and 15min docent presentation in museum ($6 senior), and then walked to the reconstructed house. Note the “State Champion” Osage Orange tree on the left.

Back view of house and Slave Cabin

Patrick Henry has been called the “Orator of Liberty.” In 1765 in the VA House of Burgesses he stated (in opposing the infamous Stamp Act) “If this is treason, make the most of it.” In 1775 he made the clarion call of the American Revolution “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” This was his Law Office, very near the house.

Patrick died in 1799 at the age of 63 and is buried beside his second wife, Dorothea Dandridge Henry, who died in 1831. He had 6 children with his first wife Sarah Shelton, who died in 1775 at the age of 21!  He and Dorothea had 11 children!

We stayed the night in Lynchburg VA


Oct 19 F – 0.5hr to Appomattox Court House National Historic Park VA. There have been many changes/improvements since our first visit in 1969 when we stopped on our way from U of MD to Mexico.

After the surrender of Petersburg VA on April 3, 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant’s Union forces pursued General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates to the Village of Appomattox Court House

The Confederate railroad supply line escape route was cut on April 8th and Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 ending the four-year long (1861-1865) Civil War.

The reconstructed Appomattox County Court House now serves as the NHP Visitor Center; NONE of the surrender events took place here.

The surrender took place in the parlor of the nearby McLean House

Some other rooms in the McClean house – the McCleans were Confederates who had downsized here after having to leave Manassas VA when the War began

Indoor Winter Kitchen

Back of McClean house, Slave Cabin to left, Outdoor Kitchen to right

Slave Cabin

Outdoor Summer Kitchen

The Clover Hill Tavern (1819) is the oldest building in the village

Parole passes were printed here so that Confederate troops could return home

Tavern Guesthouse (Horsetel)

Isbell House

Left to right, Meeks Store, Court House, Clover Tavern, Appomattox County Jail, and back of Isbell House

Meeks Store

Peers House – last artillery shot of the Civil War

The Surrender Ceremony

Appomattox County Jail (1867)


A 2hr drive took us to Green Springs National Historic Landmark District (an Affiliated NP Unit) in VA’s Piedmont area east of Charlottesville. It is a 14,000 acre “Tapestry of Rural Landscapes and Architecture.” Most farm/plantation buildings and farmsteads predate the Civil War and some the Revolutionary War. We drove the narrow gravel roads searching for ones we could see and photograph. The area is preserved today through easements. The Green Springs Plantation (1772)

St. John’s Chapel (1888)

Ionia Plantation (1770)

Maddox County Store (1900)

Prospect Hill Plantation (1730) – now The Virginia Plantation Inn

Boswells Tavern (1735) – In 1781, while trying to keep British troops from seizing the colonial storehouses in Charlottesville, General Lafayette stayed here with 4000 of his troops camped outside.


2hrs to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (Other NP Unit) in northern VA, 16mi from Washington DC

From May through September, multiple amphitheaters in the park present performances such as musicals, dance, opera, jazz, popular, and country music

We did the Wolf Trap TRACK Trail, 1.5mi winding through the woods and over Wolf Trap Run

We passed the Theatre-In-The-Woods, also called the Children’s Theatre

And hiked around Turtle Pond


What should have been a 0.5hr drive to Lillian’s condo in Rockville MD took 1.5hrs because of rush hour traffic on the I495 Bridge over the Potomac River!


Oct 20 Sa – Helen and Lillian spent the day together. They drove to Annapolis and had lunch with Lois another of the 1967-68 U of MD female graduate assistants. Meanwhile, I was up and out early arriving at Greenbelt Park MD (Other NP Unit) at 7:45am.

I had planned to do the Azalea Trail, which Helen and I did in 1968, however the Sweetgum parking area was closed until 8am. So, I continued to the Dogwood Trail where parking was available along the Park Central Road.

It was a pleasantly cool morning and an enjoyable 1.4mi loop hike

I then drove to the end of the road where there was a visitor center at the campground check-in and several deer in the nearby woods


It only took 20min to drive to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, which is located on the Anacostia River and is a part of the National Capital Parks-East

As in Greenbelt Park, I was the only one on the trails. I started by hiking around the The Ponds where Water Lilies and Lotuses are planted each year.

The season was over but there were some still blooming behind the Visitor Center

I then did the Boardwalk Trail that takes you into the Kenilworth Marsh. It is a freshwater flood plain of the Anacostia River but is also affected by the tides from the Atlantic Ocean.

Birds of the marsh


My next stop was Fort Dupont, another part of National Capital Parks-East. It is one of the many forts that circled Washington DC during the Civil War.  It was named for Flag Officer Samuel F. Dupont, who commanded the naval victory at Port Royal, SC, in November 1861.

The Park Road was closed so I parked on the perimeter and did a 1.6mi loop hike to the Earthwork Remains of the fort


I arrived at Frederick Douglas National Historic Site in East Washington DC for my scheduled 12:15 tour

In 1877 he purchased this notable home in a “whites only” area on Cedar Hill

We had an excellent 1.25hr home/history tour with a park ranger. The front porch provides a great view west to downtown Washington DC.

Frederick Douglas (1818-1895) was the preeminent black personage of the second half of the 19th century. He was born a slave of a black mother and white father. In 1838 he escaped to NY and took the surname Douglass. He married Anna Murray and became active in the abolition movement. In 1845 he published an autobiography which named his owner. This was a mistake as he had to escape again, this time to England. English supporters paid for his freedom and he returned to America in 1847. He served as a Lincoln advisor and issued a “Men of Color, to Arms” proclamation urging free blacks to join the Army. He was an outstanding orator and later in his life became an advocate for women’s rights. Anna and Frederick had five children. She died in 1882 and two years later he married Helen Pitts who was white. The racially mixed marriage sparked much debate to put it mildly. He denounced the government after the Civil War for abandoning African-Americans and spoke out strongly against segregation.

Portrait of Douglas reflected in mirror

Douglass quotes –

Here are some photos from the inside of the Douglass home –


I went searching for Oxon Run Parkway administered by National Capital Parks-East. The 126 acres of wetlands and deciduous forest is located in the Washington Highlands neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It is meant to demonstrate how a relatively small wooded and pristine environment can be preserved within a city setting. Before the establishment of the parkway, the parkland was contained within the Camp Simms military installation.

I then drove to Anacostia Park for another view of DC from the East. The administrative offices for the National Capital Parks-East are located here.

I then took the Suitland Parkway, a unit of National Capital Parks-East, to Andrews Air Force Base where I saw one of the two Air Force Ones (President’s 747s) on the very end of a runway close to the Potomac River.

It was then a short distance to Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm, another unit of National Capital Parks-East

Opened in 1967, Oxon Hill Farm is a working farm that represents the time when horsepower still came directly from horses.

Dairy Farm

Visitor Center and Farm Museum,

Ranger waiting for me, I arrived just before closing

The park is on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail


My next stop was Fort Foote, another of the Civil War “Circle Forts” administered by National Capital Parks-East. It was constructed in 1863 atop Rozier’s Bluff to strengthen the ring of fortifications that encircled Washington, D.C. Two 15-inch Rodman Cannons protected the Potomac River approach to Washington. DC.


Proceeding 10min further down the Potomac River (south), I came to Harmony Hall MD. The 18th century Harmony Hall mansion is located on a 62.5-acre open pasture land estate along the Potomac River.

It was built in 1769 by the wealthy landowner and tobacco merchant Enoch Magruder – front of mansion. Harmony Hall is currently closed and undergoing renovation.

A canal, which still exists, was built from here to a tobacco warehouse as well as several weighing stations on the river. This was the place where all tobacco shipped to England was taxed. The canal may be the earliest man-made canal built in the colonies – back of mansion.


Busy day, I traveled 25min further down the Potomac to Piscataway Park (Other NP Unit)

They have created a National Colonial Farm (replica) here – front

Back and garden


The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail includes this part of the Potomac River

This land/park was developed to protect the view FROM Mt Vernon across the Potomac River


Not done yet, drove to the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Memorial Grove along the Potomac River in VA across from the Washington Monument. Parked along Boundary Dr and crossed the bridge into the Memorial.

Approaching memorial

Great location but the Memorial did not seem complete to me. Perhaps because of lack of signs/information, a statue, etc.

There were quotes etched in marble around the stone, however the rose color of the stones made them very hard to read


Now I had just enough time to get to the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial before sunset

Some of the 184 that died –

There are 184 illuminated benches, arranged according to the victim’s ages (3-71).

The benches representing the victims that were inside the Pentagon are arranged so those reading the names will face the Pentagon’s south facade, where the plane hit; benches dedicated to victims aboard the plane are arranged so that those reading the engraved name will be facing skyward along the path the plane traveled.  The Air Force Memorial can be seen in the distance.

Each bench is engraved with the name of a victim. A shallow lighted pool of flowing water is positioned under each memorial bench.


I drove most of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (NP Unit) today and now took it to the I495 bridge on my way to Lillian’s in Rockville MD.  Again, much traffic and stop and go crossing the bridge.


Oct 21 Su –I planned the two tours and opera today (Sunday) to minimize driving time and parking problems. Helen, Lillian, and I arrived at the African American Civil War Memorial on Vermont Ave in DC at 8:30am. African American men wanted to enlist and fight at the start of the Civil War, however, Lincoln was firm; it was a war of Union preservation not abolition. The exception was the Navy where almost 29,000 African Americans served. As the war progressed with neither side clearly winning, Lincoln took the radical step of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on 1/1/1863. This officially allowed the creation of the US Colored Troops (USCT). From 1863-1865, 180,000 African Americans enlisted in the Army.  Camp Nelson National Monument in KY (NP Unit #418) was created this month to tell the story of the training of these black troops; it opened in 1863.

This is a little known but impressive sculpture across from the African-American Civil War Museum. There are three sides to the sculpture –

“Who would be free themselves must strike the blow. Better even die free than to live slaves.” – Frederick Douglass 1863

The “Spirit of Freedom.”


We stopped at a street Farmer’s Market for a cheese Danish on our half mile drive to the Carter G. Woodson National Historical Site. It was a cold morning with high winds and the homeless had taken shelter where they could find it. A regular location for them is sleeping on cardboard around the Carter G. Woodson statue set in a small triangular park around the corner from the Woodson home.

One man had found refuge in a doorway in front of the home. We wanted to get him some hot coffee but there was not a source nearby, so I gave him some money for breakfast whenever he was ready to move.

We arrived before our scheduled 9am tour and waited for the building to open. As 9:30 approached, I started calling various offices of the National Park Service. Finally, I made a connection at the Frederick Douglass NHS and they assured me that they would look into the matter. A short time later the door opened. We were told by the two female rangers that they did not open the door at 9am because of the homeless man in front of the building and had called the police to have him removed. They did not explain why they had not informed us of this action while we waited out in the cold. To our dismay, the police arrived and took the man away.

We requested our tour and were shown the home, which is in the process of acquiring period furnishing. Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) lived in this three-story Victorian rowhouse from 1920 until his death in 1950. He managed the operations of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, published the Negro History Bulletin and the Journal of Negro History. Dr. Woodson established Negro History Week here in 1926, which we celebrate today as Black History Month.


We arrived at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in time for our 11am guided tour. It is in a strategic location near the U.S. Capital, Supreme Court, and Hart Senate Office Building.

The first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls NY in 1848 (see Women’s Rights National Historic Park – this Blog August 2014). Alice Paul, a Quaker born in NY in 1885, became involved in the Women’s Movement in England in 1907. When she returned to the U.S. she was instrumental in promoting women’s suffrage. She was an organizer of the Suffrage Parade held in DC the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1913. The National Women’s Party (NWP) was formed in Chicago in 1916 as the “world’s first women’s political party.” In 1917, they began picketing the White House. President Wilson had many arrested. Many of the women were abused in prison – read the following sign:

Helen in The Origins Gallery

After a public outcry, President Wilson asked Congress to pass a suffrage amendment. In 1920, the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote was signed into law.

In 1923, the NWP drafted an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that was introduced in Congress.

Six years later, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont helped purchase this building on Capitol Hill for the National Women’s Party. The Hall of Portraits – women who contributed to the ongoing struggle for equality.

It was not until 1972 that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed Congress. An Amendment to the Constitution requires the ratification of 38 of the 50 states. Congress set a 1979 deadline for ratification of the ERA. Only 35 states voted to ratify the ERA by this deadline, therefore, it was not ratified. There was a ratification extension granted until 1982, however, no additional states voted for ratification.


There has been on-going debate concerning ratification. In fact, after Phyllis Schlafly, a Right to Life advocate, mobilized conservative women in opposition, five state legislatures (ID, KY, NE, TN, and SD) voted to revoke their ERA ratifications. Schlafly argued that the ERA would disadvantage housewives and cause women to be drafted into the military. It remains a legal question as to whether a state can revoke its ratification of a federal constitutional amendment. At the same time, there continue to be efforts for ratification. In 2017, NV voted for ratification. In 2018, IL voted for ratification.

President Obama designated the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in 2016. This building NWP stills serves as the NWP home today.  It continues to be the epicenter in the struggle for women’s rights. This was a sign on a trash receptacle across the street from the building.


I have wanted to attend a performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts ever since it opened in 1971 (the year we moved from U of MD to NY) – today was the day! Authorized by the 1958 National Cultural Center Act of Congress, it is the United States National Cultural Center. It is located on the Potomac River adjacent to the Watergate complex. The Act required that programming be sustained through private funds. So, the Kennedy Center is an ongoing public-private partnership.

Some Kennedy quotes on the River Terrace


We had lunch in the KC Café and then enjoyed a wonderful matinee performance of Verdi’s La traviata.  We sat in the nose bleed Tier 2 section but first row seats and binoculars brought us up front and personal. Venera Gimadieva was exceptional as Violetta.

This bronze of Poseidon (Gift from Greece) reminded me of Peter and Chad

Bought a dozen jumbo crabs (he gave us 15 for $38!) at Jessie Taylor Seafood on the Wharf in DC, then drove back to Rockville to gorge ourselves on our “catch.”  I could only eat 2 – Helen ate 4!  She stated that she could eat more because she grew-up near the ocean!


Oct 22 M – Metro/Subway from Rockville to Metro Station DC, we then walked a couple of blocks to Freedom Plaza, which is two blocks east of the White House

The Plaza, which is composed mostly of stone, is inlaid with dark and light marble. Quotes about the city are carved into the marble surface.

There are brass outlines of the Capitol and White House

The Plaza also contains a metallic plaque of the Great Seal of the United. The Plaza is one of the settings in Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol (2009).

Reverse side of the Great Seal

The plaza is a popular place for civic events and political protests (e.g. “Occupy DC” in 2011)

A bronze statue of Brigadier General, Casimir Pulaski (1741-1779) is located on the east side of the plaza. He was a hero of the Revolutionary War but is shown in the uniform of a Polish Cavalry Commander. He died in the Battle of Savannah in 1779 at the age of 31.

Across 14th St to the west is Pershing Park. It is in the process of being developed as a World War I Memorial. The main monument is a statue of John J. Pershing, General of the Armies in World War I.

Memorial walls and benches describe Pershing’s accomplishments

Workers were in the process of gilding the letters and figures on the monuments.  The Armistice ending World War I was signed on November 11, 1918.  It was specified that it go into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  In 1938, Congress officially designated November 11th Armistice Day, a legal holiday to honor ALL those who have served their country in the Armed Services.  In 1954 it was renamed Veterans Day.  This year is the 100th year anniversary and citizens are asked to ring bells at 11am to commemorate the ending of the “War to End All Wars.”

Veterans Day should not be confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who have died serving our country or Armed Forces Day that honors those who are now serving in the U.S. military.


The Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site (NP Unit) runs from the White House to the Peace Monument at the Capitol. Many government buildings, monuments, and memorials are located along this route. As we walked from Freedom Plaza toward the Capitol, our first stop was the Old Post Office, which is now the Trump International Hotel. The government renovated it in 1983 adding a food court, retail space, and roof skylight in the central atrium. At that time, it became known as the Old Post Office Pavilion. The government gave a Trump holding company a 60-year lease on the building in 2013. The Trump hotel opened in 2016.

Statue of Benjamin Franklin was dedicated in 1889 and moved to this location in 1980

Lillian, who is anti-Trump, refused to enter the building. We could not enter the hotel, however, we were able to go to the top of the clock tower, which is run by the National Park Service. There are a series of displays as you walk to the elevator.  This photo shows the Capitol under construction at the end of Pennsylvania Ave


Old Post Office – Trump International Hotel


At 315 feet, it is the third-tallest building in Washington DC. The Clock Tower houses the “Bells of Congress” and offers panoramic views of the city.

A two-block walk took us to the United States Navy Memorial with towering masts and signal flags – to “Honor, Recognize and Celebrate the men and women of the Sea Services” (Navy and Coast Guard).

The Plaza has one of the largest maps of the world, called the “Granite Sea,”

with the iconic Lone Sailor Statue. A matching bronze can be found off the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge (see this blog – March 2013)

There are 22 bronze sculptures depicting Navy history


The General Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886) Statue is adjacent to the plaza and is one of the many Civil War Monuments of Washington DC. He served in the Mexican-American War and was a Union General in the Civil War. He was regarded as a “Hero” at the Battle of Gettysburg. He ran for President in 1880 but was defeated by Garfield. This is one of the monuments that is featured in the opening of the Netflix series “House of Cards.”

The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial is located across the street at the corner of PA Ave and 7th St. The memorial honors Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, founder of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization for Union Veterans. Dedicated in 1909 by President William Howard Taft, the memorial is one of 18 Civil War monuments in Washington, D.C.  It is a three-sided monument with bronze reliefs on each side depicting the motto of the GAR, “Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty.” Front of the memorial – “Fraternity”

“Charity” is on the NE side of the memorial

“Loyalty” is on the SE side of the memorial

A few steps north is the Temperance Fountain. It was donated to the city in 1882 by Henry D. Cogswell, a dentist from San Francisco, who was a crusader in the Temperance Movement. This fountain was one of a series of temperance fountains he designed and commissioned in a belief that easy access to cool drinking water (ice was used) would keep people from consuming alcoholic beverages! Canopy sides are inscribed with the words “Faith,” “Hope,” “Charity,” and “Temperance.”


The Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937) Fountain – holds a prominent position at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and Constitution Ave – apex of the Federal Triangle. A financier/industrialist, Mellon was Secretary of the Treasury 1921-1932, Ambassador to Great Britain 1932-1933, and Founder of the National Gallery of Art (1937), which is across the street. Three small-to-large nested bronze basins empty into a 38-foot diameter granite basin. I especially like the 360-degree laminar flow of water over the three lips (requires perfect leveling).

The 12 zodiac symbols surround the base of the fountain. The Aries symbol faces directly east with the Libra symbol facing west and the Virgo symbol arranged along Pennsylvania Avenue, leading to some believing that Masonic influences were essential in the architecture. On the vernal equinox (Spring) the sun directly hits Aries, which then faces the rising sun a month later.

Can you see the Aquarius symbol? – that is Helen’s

The Newseum is across PA Ave from the Mellon fountain. Its mission is to increase public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment – freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.

Each day the Newseum displays online the front pages of more than 2,000 newspapers worldwide. These pages are in their original, unedited form. The Newseum states that “some may contain material that is deemed objectionable to some visitors. Discretion is advised.” Every day, around 800 front pages are put on display. A front page from a paper in each state is posted outside so it can be read from the sidewalk. I have now placed the Newseum on my bucket list for further exploration.


We continued past the Canadian Embassy to John Marshall Park. John James Marshall (1755-1835) remains the longest-serving chief justice of the Supreme Court in history. Appointed by President John Adams, he served for 34 years (1801-1835). The D.C. Court can be seen in the background.

Just east of the park is the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. District Court, which has been very active lately! The Meade Memorial to Major General George Gordon Meade sits in front of the courthouse. Meade is best known for defeating General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg. This is another of the 18 Civil War monuments in Washington D.C.

There is an interesting bronze statue at the SE corner of the U.S. District Court – that of Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780). “Blackstone, considered to be the Father of English Law, was the author of Commentaries on the Laws of England in 1769 – a foundation of English law. His Commentaries became a basis for American and English legal systems.” This statue of Blackstone was never intended to be placed in Washington, D.C. let alone America. In the 1920s the statue was commissioned by members of the American Bar Association (ABA) as a gift to the English Bar Association, but it was too tall to be placed in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. It was cast in Europe and in 1943 was presented back to the U.S. for placement in D.C., partly because of the bombing of London during World War II. Blackstone is shown in judicial robes, with a ceremonial wig, holding his Commentaries.

Pennsylvania Ave ends at the Peace Monument – also known as the Naval Monument or Civil War Sailors Monument, it stands on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Peace Circle. The 44-foot high white marble memorial was erected from 1877-1878 to commemorate the naval deaths at sea during the Civil War.

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial – Grant (18th President) on horseback faces west, overlooking the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The Grant and Lincoln memorials define the eastern and western ends, respectively, of the National Mall, a NP Unit. It is the second-largest equestrian statue in the US and the fourth-largest in the world.

Grant’s statue rests on a pedestal decorated with bronze reliefs of the infantry; flanking pedestals hold statues of protective lions

There is a bronze representation of the Union cavalry on the north side of the Grant statue

1968 – 50 years ago – young and stupid, who would ride a horse in sweater and tie?

Union artillery on the south side – Grant served as President from 1869-1877. Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th US President

It was a beautiful Fall day

1968 – 50 years ago!

James A. Garfield Monument – 20th President, he narrowly defeated General Winfield Scott Hancock in 1870 but was assassinated in 1871 after only 4 months in office. Chester A. Arthur became President. The monument includes three allegorical figures spread around the base representing three significant periods in Garfield’s life. The first is the Student, reminding us of his time as an educator, the next is the Warrior, commemorating his service during the Civil War and the third is the Statesman, pointing to his career as a public servant.

Bartholdi Fountain – Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904) is best known for creating the Statue of Liberty. Bartholdi created this cast-iron “Fountain of Light and Water” for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The fountain stands 30 feet high and has caryatid figures 11 feet in height. The fountain was purchased by the U.S. Congress for $6,000 at the suggestion of Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous landscape architect who designed the Capitol Grounds. It was moved to Washington, D.C., in 1877. The Department of HHS can be seen in the background.

The gas lamps made the fountain a popular destination in the 1880s as one of the first attractions in the nation’s capital to be brightly illuminated at night. Electric lights replaced the gas lamps in 1915. The Botanic Garden is in background.

To really appreciate the Bartholdi Fountain, you need to see it illuminated at night with the Capitol as a backdrop –


The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, across Washington Ave from the Bartholdi Fountain, is an “unknown” gem.

George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower quotes

There are several glass panels with quotes, figures, etc.

Star shaped fountain with insignia of five military services at points of star


The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial (Authorized NP Unit), is being built in front of the Department of Education facing Independence Ave; it is scheduled to be dedicated in 2020

Lillian took the Metro back home from here and we walked through the Air and Space Museum to get to a nice sunny place on the Mall to eat our packed lunch

Mall demonstration – “Thousands of Falun Gong Practitioners Have Been Killed for Their Organs in China”

The new (2016) National Museum of African American History & Culture – we will return in a year or two when it is less crowded

The Washington Monument, at 555 feet, was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1884.  The Great Pyramid Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or Pyramid of Cheops) in Egypt was 481 feet.  In 1967, I ran up the stairs inside the monument (you are no longer allowed on the stairs) and remember my wobbling legs just barely allowing me to remain standing at the top!

The John Paul Jones (1747-1792) Memorial is located SW of the Washington Monument. He was America’s first naval war hero and is considered the “Father of the U.S. Navy.” In a vicious 1779 battle off the British coast, the captain of the H.M.S. Serapis asked Jones to surrender. He is noted for the quote “Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!” After ordering his crew to lash his ship, the Bonhomme Richard, to the more powerful Serapis, he was able to capture it. Though the Bonhomme Richard sank after the battle, the outcome was one of the factors that convinced King Louis XVI of France to back the colonies in their fight to become independent from Britain.


This was my first time to the World War II Memorial (NP Unit), which was dedicated in 2004. This view is toward the west and the Lincoln Memorial. The twin pavilions, Pacific on the left and Atlantic on the right, symbolize a war fought across two oceans.

More than 400,000 Americans died during World War II

Each of the 56 U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia have a pillar, representing the common cause

Wreaths of oak and wheat on each pillar symbolize the nation’s industrial and agricultural strength, both important to the war effort

Pacific pavilion and pillars

Atlantic pavilion and pillars

View toward the sky from the middle of the Atlantic pavilion

Each person who served in World War II received a Victory Medal, a representation is on the center of the floor in each pavilion

View east toward the Washington Monument and Capitol, indeed an impressive memorial


Constitution Gardens (NP Unit) are located a short walk NW of the World War II Memorial

Constitution Gardens is a living legacy to the founding of the republic as well as an oasis in the midst of a city landscape.

The Gardens were dedicated in 1976 as an American Revolution Bicentennial tribute.

In 1984, the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence was dedicated on the small island in the lake.

Note that the signatures of the Declaration of Independence are presented by state

We carefully crossed Constitution Ave where it intersects with Virginia Ave and came to the statue of Jose Gervasio Artigas (1764-1850) – “Champion of Uruguay.” It is also known as the “Gaucho Statue.”

Proceeding one block NW on Virginia, we came to the statue of Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) – “The Great Liberator,” in front of the Department of the Interior. Bolivar devoted his life to the independence of South America from the Spanish. The Artigas and Bolivar statues are two stops on a “Statues of the Liberators Walking Tour” that progresses NE on Virginia Ave. Few people are aware of these “Hispanic Heroes in Our Nation’s Capital.” The other 5 stops in order are as follows: 3) Organization of American States Building, 4) Jose de San Martin (Hero of Argentina), 5) Bernardo de Galvez, he was the Spanish Governor of Louisiana during the American Revolution and supported the fight by forcing the British out of FL, 6) Pan American World Health Organization Headquarters, and 7) Benito Juarez (1806-1872) – “Father of Modern Mexico.”

I had to show ID and go through security to enter the Department of the Interior

There is a small museum inside. I also discussed some NP brochure improvement suggestions with an employee


This was our third or fourth visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (NP Unit). View from the east

Each visit has been somber as we remember those we knew who died. There are electronic “books” there where you can look up individuals by name. It is common to find people taking etchings of names on the monument.

 Vietnam Women’s Memorial

The Three Servicemen Memorial, also called “The Faces of Honor”

There is an area to the west, across Henry Beacon Dr, that will be the future home of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center. Also, the National Desert Storm/Desert Shield Memorial (Authorized) will be constructed nearby.


Lincoln Memorial (NP Unit) – one of our favorites

View east toward Washington Monument and Capitol from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

Just south of the Lincoln Memorial is the John Ericsson Memorial – a great trivia question would be “Who was John Ericsson?

Well, he was the man who revolutionized naval history with his invention of the screw propeller. The Swedish engineer was also the designer of the USS Monitor, the ship that ensured Union naval supremacy during the Civil War.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial (NP Unit) is located just SE of the Lincoln Memorial

On June 25, 1950, the communist government of North Korean launched an attack into South Korea. The war raged for 3 years.

A negotiated settlement (Armistice of July 27, 1953) established a new boundary near the original one at the 38th parallel. As we know, the tensions continue until this day.

The D.C. War Memorial can be found east of the Korean Memorial– completed in 1931, it is a circular, open-air, Doric structure with an overall height of 47 feet and a diameter of 44 feet, large enough to accommodate the entire U.S. Marine Band. The memorial stands on a four feet high circular marble platform around which are inscribed the names of 499 Washington residents who died in service during World War I. The names were inscribed on the face of the platform in alphabetical order with no distinction made to rank, race, or gender. The D.C. War memorial is the only District memorial on the National Mall. It symbolizes the unique distinction of Washington, D.C. as a local entity even though it is the nation’s capital.


Across Independence Ave is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Entering the Memorial through the “Mountain of Despair”

Note how the stone with King’s likeness symbolically comes out of the Mountain of Despair. The words “Out of the Mountain of Despair, A Stone of Hope” are engraved on the MLK stone.  That is a quote from his “I Have a Dream” speech. The Memorial opened in 2011.

Several other MLK quotes are inscribed around the memorial


Proceeding south around the Tidal Basin, we came to the impressive Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (NP Unit) – dedicated (1997) to the memory of FDR (1882-1945) and to the era he represents. The monument is big, spread over 7.5 acres. It traces 12 years of U.S. history through a sequence of four outdoor “rooms,” one for each of FDR’s terms of office.

A Prologue “Room” begins the journey at the NW corner of the Memorial by the Visitor Station. There is a statue of Roosevelt in a wheelchair. It depicts the physical disability that defined his character and inspired his leadership.

A sculpture of the presidential seal is mounted by the entryway.

Room One, First Term 1933-1937, highlights the “New Deal” that FDR enacted to address the worst economic crisis of the century

Room Two, Second Term 1937-1941, depicts the on-going depression, sculpture of a breadline

Sculpture of a man listening to a fireside chat

Wonderful positive, progressive and socially powerful quotes, unlike current President Trump

Room Three, Third Term 1941-1945, World War II

Sculptures present the 32nd President with his dog Fala

“I Have Seen War”

A bronze statue of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt standing before the United Nations emblem honors her dedication to the UN. She was also a champion of human rights. It is the only presidential memorial to depict a First Lady.

Room Four, Fourth Term 1945


FDR passed away on April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs GA, age 63; Allied forces victorious by August – sculptured relief of Roosevelt’s funeral cortege

Japanese Pagoda on the Tidal Basin – just S of FDR Memorial


We continued our walk around the Tidal Basin, across the Inlet Bridge, to the George Mason Memorial

George Mason (1725-1692) was the author of America’s first Bill of Rights – the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which served as an inspiration to Thomas Jefferson while drafting the Declaration of Independence.

Mason later served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Perhaps Masons’ greatest act was withholding his signature from the United States Constitution because it did not abolish the slave trade and lacked necessary protection for the individual from the Federal Government.


A few steps to the north is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial – my favorite D.C. memorial

We have visited here more than ten times. Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the 3rd President of the United States (1801-1809).

Jefferson (1743-1826) was responsible for the Louisiana Purchase – doubling the size of the U.S.! He also gained Congressional support for the Lewis and Clark expedition.

He and John Adams had been good friends in the first decades of their political careers, serving together in the Continental Congress in the 1770s and in Europe in the 1780s. The Federalist/Republican split of the 1790s divided them. The two men did not communicate directly for more than a decade after Jefferson succeeded Adams as president. After a reconciliation starting in 1812, the former presidents exchanged 158 letters discussing their political differences, justifying their respective roles in events, and debating the revolution’s importance to the world. When Adams died, his last words were: “Thomas Jefferson survives”, unaware that Jefferson had died several hours before, both on July 4, 1826!

Rather than take the bus, we decided to walk one more mile to Metro Center to take the Red Line train back to Rockville – that made 9.5 miles for the day. We passed the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, both of which we had visited previously, on our way to the station.


Oct 23 Tu – Lillian treated us to a “Diner” breakfast; we then drove about 45min to the President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers Home National Monument, located on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (formerly the Soldiers’ Home) in Washington D.C. We arrived at 9:30, toured the Visitor Center and started on our guided tour ($16 each) at 10am.

Pavilion opposite the Main Entrance (Eagle Gate)

Four presidents of the U.S. escaped the heat and humidity of summer in Washington, DC at The Old Soldiers’ Home on a hill three miles from the White House.  President Lincoln his wife and family occupied the 34-room Gothic Revival “cottage” between June and November in 1862, 1863, and 1864.

Each summer the White House staff transported some 19 cartloads of the Lincoln family’s belongings to the cottage, though there is no record of exactly what they brought.  Located on one of the highest hills in the District of Columbia, the grounds offered solitude and respite from the swampy heat and wartime congestion of the capital.  In July 1862, Mary Lincoln wrote a friend, “We are truly delighted with this retreat . . . the drives and walks around here are delightful.”

Lincoln did not escape the Civil War and his burden of leadership.  Every morning he rode his horse 4 miles to the White House to carry out official business, returning to the Old Soldiers’ Home every evening.  The cavalry units that accompanied him with drawn swords and the hospitals, cemeteries, and camps for former slaves he passed on his route served as constant reminders of the war.

When Confederate General Jubal Early attacked Fort Stevens, on July 12, 1864, Lincoln brashly went to observe the battle, even though his family had been evacuated from the Old Soldiers’ Home (about one mile from the battle) to the White House for the four days of the battle.  He became the only president ever to come under hostile fire while in office.  That same summer, one of John Wilkes Booth’s plots proposed kidnapping Lincoln along his commute, and a sniper attempted to assassinate him on his way to the cottage.

After our high-tech and guided tour of the cottage (no pics allowed inside), we walked around to the back of the cottage

The Soldiers’ Home, now called the Washington Unit of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (1,200 residents), is the nation’s only retirement community for Regular Army and Air Force enlisted personnel, warrant officers, and disabled soldiers and airmen. The President Lincoln’s Cottage opened to the public for the first time on President’s Day in 2008.


Next stop Fort Reno (Point Reno) Highpoint of Washington D.C. Fort Reno was one of the Circle Forts surrounding DC during the Civil War.

Nothing remains of the fort. Fort Reno is the location of the only Civil War battle to take place in the District of Columbia, at the Battle of Fort Stevens. The battle was fought July 11–12, 1864. Although Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early caused consternation in the Union government, reinforcements and the strong defenses of Fort Stevens minimized the military threat and Early withdrew after two days of skirmishing without attempting any serious assaults. The battle is noted for the personal presence of President Abraham Lincoln observing the fighting.

Helen standing on Highpoint

At 409 ft., Fort Reno is high above most of Washington, DC, which is mostly around 20 ft. above sea level


We drove through Rock Creek Park on our way to Glen Burnie MD to visit Joe and Linda.  On day one, Joe prepared a delicious roasted chicken dinner and day two spaghetti.


Oct 24 W – My next youngest brother Joe (68) has been undergoing radiation and chemo therapy for glioblastoma. The same brain cancer that John McCain, Bo Biden, and Ted Kennedy had. Today he wanted to hike – he had chosen a trail in Howard County MD about a half hour from his home.

It was a nice hike along the Little Patuxent River

I call these the Tom and Helen trees. The oak me, the beach Helen – together

Joe was determined to get to the Pratt Through-Truss Bridge, 2.5 miles one-way

Any resemblance?

Wooly Bear Caterpillar – Winter is Coming!

No Fun!!!

After our 5-mile hike, we walked through the Historic Savage Mill, which has been converted into a high-end shopping mall.



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