Posts Tagged ‘Today in D.C. History’

Today in D.C. History: Renaming of 16th Street NW for Reagan Shot Down by Residents

On July 28, 2005, a Republican congressman from south Texas quietly introduced a bill to rename D.C.’s 16th Street NW in honor of former president Ronald Reagan. Local uproar from D.C. residents and political leaders caused Rep. Henry Bonilla’s bill, H.R. 3525, to go nowhere.
The conservative out-of-towner’s plan was squashed by the overwhelmingly Democratic [...]

Today in D.C. History: Anthony Williams Forced to Run Write-In Campaign

Mayor Anthony Williams’ campaign for re-election hit a major snag when the validity of signatures on his petition to get on the ballot was called into question. On July 15, 2002, Dorothy Brizill, Gary Imhoff, Mark Sibley, and Shaun Snyder filed a joint challenge to Williams’ petition, claiming that 9,250 of 10,102 signatures were “defective,” [...]

Today in D.C. History: District’s Virginia Territory Retroceded to Old Dominion

The District didn’t always resemble a piece of squareish bread with a huge bite-size chunk missing. Once upon a time—more than 160 years ago—Arlington County and part of the city of Alexandria fell within the District's limits, completing a full diamond that spanned the Potomac River.
Or at least it did until 1847, when the federal [...]

Today in D.C. History: Renovated Eastern Market Reopens After Devastating Blaze

On June 26, 2009, hundreds of people waited in line to get their first look at the new and improved Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. More than two years earlier, a three-alarm fire blazed through the beloved Adolf Cluss-designed building, destroying much of the interior and its original vendor stalls, leaving behind a charred [...]

Today in D.C. History: Hurricane Agnes Floods National Zoo, Washes Away Controversial Three Sisters Bridge

On June 22, 1972, Hurricane Agnes dumped torrential rainfall on the region as it swept up the eastern seaboard from the Carolinas to New York, flooding the Potomac River and Rock Creek in the District.
According to a report by the National Weather Service, the rare flooding event hit D.C., Virginia, and Maryland after Agnes dumped [...]

Today in D.C. History: Red Line Crash Kills 9 Near Fort Totten

On June 22, 2009, the deadliest crash in Metrorail's history occurred when two Red Line trains collided near the Fort Totten station, killing nine people and injuring dozens more.
The accident, and a subsequent National Transportation Safety Board investigation, offered a harsh assessment of Metro’s lax safety maintenance. That Monday just before 5 p.m., at the [...]

Today in D.C. History: Anthony Williams Takes Final Mayoral Cannonball Plunge

On June 21, 2006, Anthony Williams took his final cannonball plunge into a D.C. swimming pool as mayor, his traditional way to open the city’s pools for the summer. Williams' two terms as the District's fourth Home Rule-era mayor began with a splash in 1999, when he made his inaugural dive. In 2006, Williams, who [...]

Today in D.C. History: D.C.’s ‘Feather-Duster’ Legislature Meets for Last Time

On June 20, 1874, the District’s territorial legislature met for the final time in what was called the “Feather-Duster Affair,” when members who lost their jobs stole desks, chairs, and whatever else they could get their hands on, including a feather-duster stashed down a legislator's pants.
Legislators of the racially integrated House of Delegates were still [...]

Today in D.C. History: Interracial Couple’s Marriage in the District Sparks Judicial Battle

On June 12, 1958, a marriage consecrated in the District paved the way for one of the most important rulings on marriage, Loving v. Virginia, to be handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving were married in D.C. and arrested upon their return home to Virginia's Caroline County. The grounds [...]

Today in D.C. History: City’s 1st Municipal Elections Held

On June 7, 1802, the District's first municipal elections were held. Although the District's governance structure changed a handful of times in the 19th century, at the time, the president selected the city's mayor, while local residents elected a city council. President Thomas Jefferson had chosen local merchant and landowner Robert Brent to be the [...]

Today in D.C. History: Nativist Know-Nothings Riot at D.C. Polling Places

On June 1, 1857, members of the American nativist Know-Nothing Party carried out one of the District’s more unusual election day tactics, placing a cannon outside a polling station at the Northern Liberties Market, where the City Vista condos at 5th and K streets NW stand today.
The Know-Nothing Party was fiercely anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant, established [...]

Today in D.C. History: Army Colonel’s Killing in Alexandria Prompts ‘State of Shock’ in D.C.

On May 24, 1861, Elmer E. Ellsworth, a 24-year-old Army colonel and close friend of President Abraham Lincoln, became the first Union officer killed during the Civil War. According to the 2003 spring/summer edition of Washington History magazine, Ellsworth, of the New York Zouaves Regiment, was shot and killed when he removed a Confederate flag [...]

Today in D.C. History: D.C. Council Chairman John A. Wilson Commits Suicide

On May 19, 1993, the D.C. government lost one of its early Home Rule-era leaders and most accomplished legislators. D.C. Council Chairman John A. Wilson was found dead in the basement laundry room of his Southwest home by his wife, Bonnie, and chauffeur. His death, ruled a suicide by the Metropolitan Police Department, sent shock [...]

Today in D.C. History: Brutalist Church Given Execution Orders

On May 12, 2009, D.C.'s planning director, Harriet Tregoning, paved the way for the Third Church of Christ, Scientist to tear down its Brutalist house of worship at 16th and I streets NW, a major defeat for "historic preservation zealots," as The Washington Post's Marc Fisher labled them. Those zealots had fought tooth and nail [...]

Today in D.C. History: Mount Pleasant Riots Start 20 Years Ago

On May 5, 1991, rioting broke out in Mount Pleasant following the shooting of a Salvadoran man by a rookie Metropolitan Police Department officer. At the time, there were disputes about whether the man, reportedly intoxicated, had threatened the officer with a knife. What resulted was a multi-day standoff with police, looted stores, and torched [...]