Secrets of the Lincoln Memorial

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World War II Memorial at dawn

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Statue of Dr. Philip Jaisohn looks like the real thing

Many statues kinda, sorta, maybe look like the person. Given many of the subjects are long dead, it’s not always easy to know how striking the likeness may be.

But outside the South Korean Embassy along Massachusetts Ave. is not only a statue of Dr. Philip Jaisohn, but a second monument explaining the first. The statue matches the photo very well.

Now that’s service. I’m just going to let the board speak for itself.

“Dr. Philip Jaisohn was a pioneer of independence, democracy and public awakening for Korean people. After the failed 1884 reformation movement, he was exiled to the United States where he became the first Korean-born to become an American citizen. A graduate of Columbian Medical College, he
practiced medicine in Washington DC, later serving the US government as a wartime physician. Both in Korea and in the United States, Dr. Jaisohn made relentless efforts for the independence of Korea. In 1895, he briefly went back to his native soil where he founded the first Korean language newspaper. In 1919, he organized the Korean Independence campaign in Philadelphia. Dr. Jaisohn will forever be remembered as a leader of Korean-American community and a leading spirit for Korea’s democracy and modernization.”

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Morning by the White House

White House

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Sunrise on the National Mall

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Magnolias at Rawlins Park

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Cherry blossom time in Washingto

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Magnolias at the Smithsonian Castle

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Springtime at the Tidal Basin

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My Lincoln assassination tour snippets

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The Vietnam Wall

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Clara Barton’s office for missing soldiers no longer lost, too

There seems a certain irony that Clara Barton’s office for missing soldiers was itself lost for 130 years.

Seriously, how can office space in the middle of downtown Washington go unseen for more than a century? I could see one owner maybe not using the space, but four generations never took a peak? That’s just amazing. A second-story fire kept anyone from venturing to the third floor, but I find it amazing no one over a century did.

The upstairs office at 437 7th St. N.W. was discovered by a workman in 1997 as the building was nearing demolition. It was the Boyce and Lewis Shoe Store for decades before later sold to the Pennsylvania Ave. Development Corporation and then sold to the federal agency General Services Administration. The building dates to 1853 and is believed to be the last intact boarding house during the Civil War remaining in Washington.

The discovery of Room 9 for Missing Solders Office was a historical find akin to cracking open an Egyptian tomb. Barton lived there for eight years, including the Civil War. The No. 9 is still painted on the door that includes her mail slot. There are window displays at the street level.

The 2,016 artifacts documents dated until 1868 when Barton left for Europe. The first president of the American Red Cross later lived at a Glen Echo Home for the final 15 years before her 1912 death. The Glen Echo home has tours regularly. Visit Clara Barton’s Glen Echo home.

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Welcome to Baptist Alley and Booth’s plan

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The White House looking like yesteryear

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Space Shuttle Challenger remembered at Arlington

It’s one of those moments we all remember. The Space Shuttle Challenger exploding just 73.5 seconds after leaving Cape Kennedy on Jan. 28, 1986. An o-ring in the right booster rocket leaking hot gasses that led to the fuel tank rupturing and the shuttle falling into the Atlantic Ocean.

There was no escape for the seven astronauts, who are remembered with this marker just above the Memorial Amphitheater by the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Killed were Capt. Michael J. Smith, U.S. Navy; Lt. Col. Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, U.S. Air Force; Dr. Judith A. Resnik; Lt. Col. Ellison S. Onizuka, U.S. Air Force; Mr. Gregory B. Jarvis, Dr. Ronald E. McNair and Sharon Christa McAuliffe.

Parts of all seven are interred beneath the marker, but Scobee and Smith are buried elsewhere in Arlington. Scobee is just a few feet to the left of the memorial. Smith is in Section 7A, site 208-1.

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Best Romantic Photo Spots

It’s not unusual to see weddings around the National Mall and the U.S. Capitol. Maybe the gardens, fountains, majestic buildings or being in a park draws them, but on a spring day you’ll often see the happy bride and groom posing for a photographer.

The next generation to this idea is engagement photos. They’re becoming very popular with the twenty-somethings. Indeed, both of my daughters heard the question popped in a public area in town.

Where should you go for a romantic photo spot? Here are seven good ones.

Jefferson Memorial – The Tidal Basin area has many couples posing among the trees declaring their love. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial has become popular, but the Jefferson Memorial seems more popular among the young government workers. It’s a cool building, patterned after the Panthenon in Rome and there’s water, too. I’d take someone to the edge of the water on the right side of the Jefferson to get both in the photo.

Meridian Hill Park –Maybe it’s the cascading Italianate waterfall, but I once spotted three wedding groups being photographed on a Saturday afternoon. Luckily, the place is big enough for everyone to have their own spot.

Dumbarton Oaks – There’s an admission fee for this private estate, but it’s the most beautiful grounds in town and plenty of vistas for photos. Kind of a secret garden theme.

U.S. Botanic Gardens – My oldest daughter became engaged here inside the building at a bench off the main walk. Wintertime makes this a big option since it’s climate controlled, but if you’re big into plants go for it. Feel free to use the bench idea.

Capitol Gardens – There are several excellent venues for the Capitol. The Senate Fountain on the north side near Union Station is an excellent view. Water and a building, always a great combination. There’s a red brick springhouse on the west side of the dome along the path that’s perfect in warm weather. And, you can’t go wrong by the rail on the west side that overlooks the National Mall.

Lincoln Memorial – The most visited attraction in town is an attractive backdrop. I’d stand either near the bottom one flight above street level so the rising building is in the background or at the top with the National Mall as the background. For the latter, go to either end of the building for more privacy and use the columns as borders of your photo.

Grace Episcopal Church – That wedding couple by the red door featured above is an active church just below Wisconsin Ave. and M Sts. NW in Georgetown. My great grandparents were married there. The red door and gardens make for a great photo within sight of the sidewalk.

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World War II Memorial makes a splash

World War II Memorial

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Mary Surratt boarding house now Chinese restaurant

Mary Surratt was one of four people hanged in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865. She was the first woman in U.S. history to be executed despite cries of mercy for such an old woman. Uh, she was 42, which if I called someone an old woman who’s 42 today there would be a lynching and it would be me.

Anyway, Surratt was said to have hatched the nest of conspiracy. I think that went a little too far. (Disclaimer: Surratt and I are third cousins a few generations removed.)

Surratt certainly knew John Wilkes Booth (Another disclaimer – Booth’s also a cousin of mine. Lesson here is don’t mess with me.) Surratt knew Booth was up to something with Lincoln. She helped in some ways. But I’m not sure Surratt truly knew what was up. That’s what the movie is supposed to help us decide.

The photo above is the ground floor of the old Surratt board house in Washington on 6th and F. St. N.W. just a block above Verizon Center. If you stand by the left side at the alley, you’ll see the original exterior wall. The top two floors are untouched. It’s maybe a 10-minute walk from Ford’s Theater.

Now, don’t get this confused with the better known Surratt House in Clinton, Md. where Booth fled after killing Lincoln to pick up supplies. That was Surratt’s former home before opening the board house six months before the killings. Her husband died and Surratt rented out the then rural house to John Lloyd while she operated the downtown board house. The Clinton house is still open for tours.

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Hahnemann: Hero of Homeopathy


No way you know what this monument is unless you’re a pharmacist.

Wandering in Scott Circle where Massachusetts Ave. and 16th St. N.W. meet is one of the widest monuments away from the mall. Four bas relief panels each four feet tall by 10 feet wide. In the middle is a robed statue beneath a mosaic amid a granite background.

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann created the science of homeopathy as a German physician. This actually made Hahnemann quite unpopular among druggists, who forced him to flee to Paris in 1821, but inspired the American Institute of Homeopathy to erect the memorial in 1900. It was later refurbished in 2000.

The four panels depict Hahnemann’s life as a student, chemist, teacher and physician. The life-sized bronze statue between panels depicts Hahnemann pondering deep thoughts. It was sculpted by Charles Henry-Niehaus.

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The General and the White House

General Andrew Jackson
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