Happy Memorial Day . . . already?


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J. Edgar Hoover – The G-Man of Congressional Cemetery

J. Edgar Hoover

Perhaps the most feared man by criminals and Congressmen alike is buried behind bars.

J. Edgar Hoover once headed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1924-77. Indeed, his name in on the building along Pennsylvania Ave.

The nation’s top G-Man (Government man, as they were called in the early days) is buried with family in Congressional Cemetery on the edge of town. A simple plot surrounded by a black iron fence with an FBI crest and bench.

J. Edgar Hoover2Funny, I would have expected a statue. ‘

Hoover’s legacy would fill books instead of a blog. Simply, he was the first to create a national police power to catch the worst criminals like John Dillinger and “Machine Gun” Kelly. But critics that included Present Harry S. Truman charged Hoover overextended his powers by creating secret files to blackmail those who opposed him.

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Wordless Wednesday: When DuPont Circle fountain runs dry

DuPont Circle

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Dulles . . . as in Dulles International Airport

DullesMany Washingtonians fly in and out of Washington Dulles International Airport without knowing who Dulles was.

Turns out he was one of us.

A Washington native, John Foster Dulles rose to Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisnehower from 1953 until shortly before his 1959 death from cancer and a was a major player in the Cold War against the Soviet Union. He’s buried at Arlington National Cemetery not far from the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Dulles first served as the U.S. legal counsel to the Versailles Peace Conference that ended World War I. He was a member of a New York law firm that specialized in international finance and became a U.S. delegate to the United Nations in 1946-47 and ’50. He briefly served as a U.S. Senator to fill a vacancy before losing a special election.

Actress Carol Burnett’s big break was siging a 1950s song called “I Made a Fool of Myself Over John Foster.”

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Check out our new Sex, Ghosts and Guns tour

White House Jefferson viewEvery year, I try to come up with a new specialty tour to keep locals interested. While the Lincoln assassination tour consistently draws well and the Kennedy homes of Georgetown is a good attraction, other tours ebb and flow.

So time for something new — Sex, Guns and Ghosts – The White House neighborhood.

Starting at the Jackson statue in Lafayette Park, we’ll visit 21 stops in about 90 minutes. There’s the scene of a sex scandal and murder in the park. Ghosts on both sides of Lafayette Park. Lincoln assassination connections, famous hotels, national organizations. Basically, we can’t walk 100 feet without something to see as we circle the White House.

Like all of my Capital Photo History Tours, it’s just $20 when buying via Goldstar. It’s more expensive other places so save some dough with Goldstar. Come see what you’re been driving past for years.


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A Chesapeake Waterman in Southern Maryland

WatermanDeep in Southern Maryland where the only jobs until the recent housing boom of the past decade were farming and fishing is a reminder of the past. This statue of A Chesapeake Waterman seeking crabs and oysters is a reminder of the old days.

The statue is part of Annemarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons, Md. Basically, follow Rt. 4 (Pennsylvania Ave. East) until you nearly reach the water and on the left is this 30-acre oasis dedicated to the arts amid the tall pines. They teach and inspire about any type of art imaginable. One of these days I’m going to take a stained glass class.

Meanwhile, the waterman reminds us of the past.

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Horse and Rider trots along

It looks like me ready to fall off, but sculptor Mario Marini’s Horse and Rider is considered an example of a man in control.

Sure, if you say so.

The seven-foot tall sculpture outside the Hirshhorn Museum is another of Marini’s works that were influenced by ancient Etruscan sculptures. They’re nothing fancy, which is the point.

The Italian artist studied under Picasso and was considered a big deal in the 1950s and ‘60s before passing away in 1978. His most famous work is a horse and rider called The Angel of the City in Venice.

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Wordless Wednesday: Georgetown in the morning


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Second to none: the Second Division Memorial

Between the White House and the Washington Monument, the Second Division Memorial on Constitution Ave. approaching 17th St. is another overlooked sculpture. It’s something people just pass by.

The memorial commemorates the U.S. Army’s Second Division’s dead during World War I. The flaming sword in the center blocks the Germans approaching Paris.

The west (left) wing was added to honor those who died during World War II. The east wing remembers those dying in the Korean Conflict.

Overall, the Second Division has lost 15,000 in combat, the most of any U.S. division.

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Juarez points the way

Juarez statueMy first thought was “Oh great, another person telling me which way to go.” But as I sat at a red light near the Watergate I realized here was another of the Latin American liberators.

Former Mexican President Benito Juarez stands at the intersection of Virginia Ave. and New Hampshire Ave. NW as part of the Statues of the Liberators that include Simon Bolivar and Jose Artegas closer to the Organization of American States by Constitution Ave.

The bronze statue is part of a 1969 exchange with Mexico where the U.S. sent a statue of Abraham Lincoln. The Juarez statue is a copy of the one in Mexico City. The base includes an urn with soil from Juarez’s native San Pablo Guelatao, Mexico. Juarez’s left arm points into the distance while his right arm touches a book.

Juarez was president of Mexico from 1958-72, tossing the French out of the country in 1866. He’s known as a progressive reformer who modernized the country.

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Wordless Wednesday: Storefront in Georgetown

Georgetown store

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Vietnam Wall to add 8 names, change 9 statuses

Vietnam Wall names


Eight names are currently being added to the Vietnam Wall of those who were killed in action or died as a result of their injuries during the Vietnam War, which will make the new number 58,315. They are the following:

Jeffrey R. Barber

LCPL, U.S. Marine Corps

Denver, Co.

Oct. 9, 1950 – Sept. 6, 2011


Michael G. Frey

PFC, U.S. Army

Florissant, Mo.

Oct. 21, 1949 – Sept. 15, 2014


Chester A. Lederhouse Jr.

LCPL, U.S. Marine Corps

Ransomville, NY

Jan. 19, 1947 – July 13, 1966


James S. McGough

SP4, U.S. Army

Fort Dodge, Iowa

Feb. 23, 1951 – Jan 3, 2014


Leonard E. Outlaw Sr.

ENC, U.S. Coast Guard

Grandy, N.C.

Dec 19, 1936 – March 23, 1972


Lee A. Rawn

PFC, U.S. Marine Corps

Lake Worth, Fla.

May 4, 1946 – April 24, 1967


Jimmy L. Smith

SP5, U.S. Army

Wasco, Ill.

Sept. 30, 1948 – May 24, 2014


John D. Stenhouse

LCPL, U.S. Marine Corps

Spokane, Wash.

April 13, 1949 – August 15, 2012


Also, nine names will have their status changed from missing in action to killed in action. This is done by a diamond that denotes confirmed death is created over the cross that meant missing in action.

•           Donald G. Carr; MAJ, USA; San Antonio, Texas; Panel 3W, Row 101

•           Richard C. Clark; LT, USN; Tacoma, Wash.; Panel 28E, Row 59

•           Kenneth L. Cunningham; SSGT, USA; Ellery, Ill.; Panel 17W, Row 33

•           Rodney L. Griffin; SGT, USA; Centralia, Mo.; Panel 11W, Row 85

•           Billy D. Hill; SFC, USA; Fallon, Nev.; Panel 35E, Row 6

•           James W. Holt; MSGT, USA; Hot Springs, Ark.; Panel 37E, Row 84

•           Edwin E. Morgan; CMSGT, USAF; Salisbury, N.C.; Panel 6E, Row 4

•           Bunyan D. Price Jr.; SSGT, USA; Belmont, NC; Panel 11W, Row 87

•           Dale W. Richardson; MAJ, USA; Cashton, Wis.; Panel 11W, Row 87

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Temperance Fountain is all wet

It has been called “the city’s ugliest statue.” Indeed, fine arts commissions were established afterwards to prevent such monstrosities while a Senate resolution once tried to move it.

But the Temperance Fountain at Seventh St. and Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. across from the U.S. Navy Memorial endures. And surely torments. And doesn’t work anymore.

Created by San Francisco dentist Henry D. Cogswell, the temperance crusader donated the statue to the city in 1882 believing if the public had access to drinking fountains they would consume less alcohol. Ironically, it once sat in front of a liquor store.

Faith, Hope, Charity and Temperance are chiseled on four columns with a life-sized heron on a canopy and dolphins underneath.

Alas, you can no longer drink from the fountain, which used melting ice to produce cold water for both people and horses. The city tired of the expense and turned it off.

So raise your glass to Dr. Cogswell for the best of intentions that failed. He wasn’t the first or last dreamer to do so in Washington.

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A picture’s worth a thousand words

Arlington National CemeteryProbably 90 percent of visitors at Arlington National Cemetery walk through the middle of the 660 acres to John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame and then cross over to the Tomb of the Unknowns for the changing of the guard. Some also see Arlington House.

They are so missing out on what makes Arlington my favorite site in the Washington area.

The best parts of Arlington are far from the tourist hot spots. The places where the endless rows of white headstones stretch beyond your vision and the silence is so entrancing you lose yourself to the energy of the cemetery.

I love the rear of the cemetery past the Tomb while heading to the border of Fort Myer. But recently, I was entranced walking along Sherman Drive behind Arlington House where Section 29 drops down to meet the bottom of Section 28 where Lincoln connects with Mitchell. To put it another way, walk out the side entrance by the women’s memorial past William Howard Taft’s grave to the next section ahead.

Look at the photo above – do you feel the endless energy of those stones?

Next time you visit Arlington, break away from the traditional stops and find outlying areas that seem like an isolated oasis and you’ll feel what Arlington is really all about.

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Wordless Wednesday: Springtime in Washington


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Joseph Henry was no ding-dong

Joseph HenryThe statue of the man who invented the doorbell stands before a building that has none. Then again, how many castles do?

Joseph Henry was a 19th century scientist whose work in electromagnets led him to become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Among his useful outlets for electromagnets was an early version of the electric doorbell in 1831. He also layed the work for the creation of the telegraph, established weather reports using the telegraph and designed lighthouse innovations.

The nine-foot bronze statue facing the National Mall with the Smithsonian Castle behind it was paid for by Congress and sculpted by William Wetmore Story. President Rutherford B. Hayes attended the dedication while famed composure John Phillips Sousa led the Marine band in its first playing of “The Transit of Venus March.” A relief of an electromagnet is on the side of the base.

Henry died in 1878 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington.


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‘Wild Bill’ was the supreme justice

William O. DouglasWilliam Orville Douglas served the most time of anyone on the Supreme Court and it still wasn’t long enough for the accidental libertarian.

The Associate Justice served 36 years and 209 days as a Franklin D. Roosevelt appointee who lasted until his 1975 retirement. Even then, Douglas tried to participate in the Court’s business until a 1978 letter from all nine justices informed him he was retired.

Douglas was called the most “committed civil libertarian ever to sit on the court” by Time magazine in 1975.  Indeed, “Wild Bill” survived two impeachments by Congress incensed over his erratic actions.

Douglas was a staunch First Amendment advocate, gave a stay of execution to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and was a certified tree hugger after hiking the entire 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.

This bronze bust lies in the public hallways of the Supreme Court.


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Wordless Wednesday: Teddy Roosevelt plaque

Teddy Roosevelt

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Remembering 151st anniversary of Lincoln’s death

Lincoln remembranceA dozen or so people gathered on the otherwise empty street at 7 a.m. seemingly away from the many commuters entering the city. They would only stay a short time.

Both strangers and old friends said hello and waited for a countdown. Suddenly, it was a prayer circle and a group reading of Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”

Lincoln remembrance“O Captain, my captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won.”

And then an unknown young lad came by with yellow roses, laying them gently by the door. The door that led to the room where Abraham Lincoln died 151 years ago at that exact moment — 7:22 a.m., April 15, 1865.

A large wreath later followed and re-enactors stayed around Petersen House and Ford’s House all morning. But, mostly, a milestone passed quietly among those who cared deeply.

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Bladensburg-D.C. boundary marker at Ft. Lincoln Cemetery

DC Boundary markerLong before it was a staging area for Civil War troops met by president Abe Lincoln or where blood was shed during the Battle of 1812 as British troops marched into Washington or even when it became a cemetery, Fort Lincoln was an historic area.

The 178-acre cemetery established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1912 includes one of the original boundary stones ordered by President George Washington to determine the capital’s exact limits.

The cemetery is technically in Bladensburg, Md. as boundary stone NE7 hugs inside the fence line. Visitors should head as far to the right in the cemetery as possible, pass the columbarium for urns and about 50 feet afterwards across from the Garden of the Crucifixion to find the white stone inside a black iron fence.

The stone was erected in 1791-92 during the survey by Andrew Ellicott. The iron cage was erected around the cemetery stone in 1916 by the D.C. Daughters of the American Revolution and a new one in 2012 using iron from the old cage.

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