The B-Side Guide to Washington, D.C.– History Edition

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Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

SILVER SPRING, Md.–  Being the capital of the United States, the District of Columbia has main attractions like the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian museums which get all the attention, but there are many past times in our capital that people forget about.

This series aims to help locals in the Washingtonian D.C. area to get the most out of where they live and learn about the less known places in the District. This week is about history.

TITANIC MEMORIAL 

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

Located in Southwest DC, the Titanic Memorial stands on the complete opposite side of the well-known Wharf. This memorial was originally “erected by the women of America”, as stated on the memorial, to honor and thank all the men on the Titanic who gave up their lives for the women and children to escape. On pure coincidence, the statue’s stance is similar to Kate Winslet’s pose in the film Titanic. 

“Sitting on the bench attached to the memorial is my favorite spot to come relax and watch the sunset after a hard day. It is a beautiful statue on the gorgeous Washington Channel,” said a woman who lived around the memorial.

Address: Washington Channel Park at 4th and P streets SW

Metro Stop: Waterfront Station

 

CUBAN FRIENDSHIP URN

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

This statue originally stood on top of a marbled column in Havana to honor the U.S. sailors and marines who had lost their lives on the U.S.S. Maine when it sank in Havana Harbor back in 1898. A hurricane later on knocked it down and then it was presented to U.S. President Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

It went through many location changes because of the rocky relationship between Cuba and the United States. The U.S. Government has not confirmed this urban legend but it is alleged that it was stolen during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and then found much later in a dumpster. The Government’s only response was that it was in storage. Now it sits down the street from the Jefferson Memorial right near the bridge to cross over to the Pentagon City.


Address: Ohio Drive SW, in East Potomac Park, south of the Tidal Basin near the north end of the 14th Street Bridge

Metro Stop: Smithsonian Station

 

JEFFERSON PIER MARKER

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

This small little stone sits by the enormous Washington Monument. It is a small marker for where the second prime meridian of the United States is/would have been. It has not officially been recognized by presidential proclamation nor by a resolution or act of congress, but it has been marked in an honorary way for President Thomas Jefferson because of all the hard work he went through.

Jefferson requested a survey of a meridian through the White House, and was very relentless when it came to the idea of a prime meridian of the U.S. The chiseled in inscription is very old and by now unreadable. It used to read claiming it was, “The Center Point of the”. We are unsure what the rest would have said, but we are sure that in any case that line was very incorrect. Good job Jefferson!

 


Address: 17th St. NW on the side of the Washington Monument facing the Tidal Basin

Metro Stop: Smithsonian Station

 

NUNS OF THE BATTLEFIELD CIVIL WAR MONUMENT 

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

This monument is a public work of art made by Jerome Connor. It is a tribute to over 600 nuns who cared, treated and nursed back to health soldiers of the Union and Confederacy. It is one of two monuments in Washington D.C. that marks woman’s role in conflicts. It located in the middle of the city by an intersection. It is very pretty as seen surrounded by flowers during the warm seasons.

Address: Intersection of Rhode Island Ave, NW, M St, and Connecticut Ave. NW

Metro Stop: Farragut North Station, Farragut West Station

 

ZERO MILESTONE

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

The Zero Milestone is the zero mile marker of D.C. Zero mile markers indicate the exact center point of a given location, in this case a city. It was intended to be the initial milestone from which all road distances in the U.S. should be measured from when built. Washington D.C.’s roads were the only roads whos distances measured from it. It it located in Ellipse Park and many walk by it not knowing what it is or just assuming it is a randomly placed object.

Address: Ellipse Road NW in the circle of The Ellipse, opposite side from the Haupt Fountains

Metro Stop: Metro Center Station

 

HOLODOMOR GENOCIDE MEMORIAL

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

This memorial was created by the National Park Service to actually educate the American people about other countries’ history. It was created to honor the victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932 to 1933. It is a beautiful and spacious memorial with multiple benches to sit and enjoy it and even read a book.

Address: Intersection of North Capitol Street, Massachusetts Ave, and F St. NW next to Union Station

Metro Stop: Union Station 

 

GEORGE MASON MEMORIAL

Photo by Elizabeth Olsson
Photo by Elizabeth Olsson

This memorial was made to honor George Mason, one of the founding fathers. He is often referred to as the forgotten founder because nobody knows who he is. George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, helped with a lot of the Bill of Rights and he did not sign the Constitution because it didn’t abolish slave trade nor did he feel it had necessary protection for the individual from the federal government.

Address: 900 Ohio Drive SW

Metro Stop: Smithsonian Station

All photos for this story were taken by Elizabeth Olsson.

Thanks for reading! As a treat take this picture of a cool dog in an astronaut suit in L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station.

Photo by Vincent Baker

There is another piece of artwork portraying dog astronauts at the other exit at the same station,  but I’ll let you see that one for yourself. In the future this B-Side Guide to Washington DC will be showing you more hidden gems of DC, including more history, art, galleries, nature, architecture and so much more!

 

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