Points Of Interest

Point #1
White House Gifts

701 Madison Pl NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Gift Shop
https://www.whitehousegifts.com/pages/15th-street-store

Ok, let’s get started! This store here at the corner called White House Gifts is a great place to get some souvenirs of your visit here in Washington, DC. They have a little bit of everything in there, and if you spend more than $50, you can get your picture taken at their replica of the oval office. How about that? Get in there and buy some trinkets and then crossover 15th Street to get to Pennsylvania Avenue. We are headed toward the White House.

Point #2
Albert Gallatin Statue

701 Madison Pl NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Statue
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Gallatin

I’d like to introduce you to Albert Gallatin. That’s the man depicted in the statue on your left. Swedish by birth, he emigrated to America in 1780 at just 19 years old. Fifteen years later he found himself elected to the House of Representatives and constantly fighting with the independent minded, stubborn, passionate Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, whose statue is on the other side of this building. Gallatin succeeded Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, and served under President Thomas Jefferson, and President James Madison. Under the two presidents, Gallatin served as Secretary for just under thirteen years, which is the longest term to date of any Secretary in the Department’s history. In his final year, before he retired, Gallatin went to Russia to represent the United States in the peace conference with England and France settling hostilities. As a result, the Treaty of Ghent was signed December 24, 1814, thus ending the war of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Now that’s how to retire on a high note. Ok, keep heading west toward the White House.

Point #3
Freedman's Bank

701 Madison Pl NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Historic Bank
https://home.treasury.gov/about/history/freedmans-bank-building

On your right is the Freedman’s Bank Building. With the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery was finally abolished in the United States. Almost overnight nearly 4 million African American men, women, and children were freed. While you might think this would be the most amazing moment for these men, women, and children, you have to remember that this was right after the end of the Civil War. Things were in chaos, the South in ruins, and most of these people had no home, no money, and no work. I can’t imagine all the emotions they must have felt during this time. In an effort to help the newly freed African Americans, the U.S. government created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, or Freedmen’s Bureau for short. They worked on helping with physical needs and building schools. While that was going on, a group of missionaries, abolitionists, and businessmen worked to create a savings bank for these former slaves, African American veterans, and their families. In 1865, by an act of the U.S. government, Abraham Lincoln signed the papers making The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company a private corporation. The Freedman’s Bank was open for business. In 1867, the Freedman’s Bank moved its headquarters from New York City to Washington, D.C., right where we’re standing. What happened next is heartbreaking and what I would call a criminal-like turn of events. A group of local bankers, politicians and businessmen began to take control of the newly relocated bank. At the urging of these new trustees, who should never have been trusted, Congress amended the bank’s charter. With the amended charter they began investing in real estate projects and railroads, made risky loans to friends, some with no collateral. They also took on bad loans from other banks under their charge. The U.S. Congress was supposed to supervise the trustees, but they paid little to no attention, so when the financial panic hit in 1873, the bank was doomed. The trustees, in an attempt to save the bank, asked Frederick Douglass to come on board and replace the current bank president. He accepted the position without knowing how bad the situation really was. Well there’s a shocker - the trustees withheld the truth, lied, and manipulated a man into taking over a bank they knew was doomed? I’m surprised at this point they didn’t change from calling them TRUSTees to EVILees. Douglas later referred to his new position as being “married to a corpse.” In June 1874 the Freedman’s Bank was closed. While we can’t change how past events unfolded, we can learn going forward and use this memorial as a reminder to strive to do better, to be honest and honorable to those who have put their trust in us. A memorial to remind us to ask the question, “What kind of legacy do you want to leave.” We’ve got another statue ahead on your right. Let’s go see it!

Point #4
General Marquis Lafayette Statue

701 Madison Pl NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Statue
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_du_Motier,_Marquis_de_Lafayette

Ahhh, General Lafayette. That’s his statue up on your right. His actual title was General Marquis de Lafayette, but his friends simply called him Lafayette. Considering his birth name was Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, it’s easy to see with all the different names he could go by, he preferred...Lafayette. He was only 20 years old when Congress appointed him to be a major general in the Army fighting for the American Revolution. He was passionate in his loyalty to the cause and it showed when he led his men in blocking Cornwallis’ forces, which ultimately led to the surrender of Yorktown. Not too shabby considering he’d only been a general for 4 years. Behind every great general are great men which is why this memorial is actually a memorial to Lafayette and his Compatriots. On the east side is a group who represent the Revolution’s French naval heroes. If you look closely you’ll see Vice Admiral Count Charles Hector Thoedat D’Estaing. A lot of long names at this memorial! D’estain brought over the first fleet of French war vessels sent to assist in the attack on Savannah. Across from D’Estaing is Lieutenant General Francois Joseph Paul, Counte de Grasse. He received the thanks of Congress for his services, which included the capture of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Our next stop is the White House!! Get excited.

Point #5
The White House

1563 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : White House
https://www.whitehouse.gov/

So, a lot of people view this side of the White House as the back side, since the other side is the more common pictured view, but this is actually the front of the White House, which makes sense as we’re standing on Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House’s address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The other side is famous because you can see the oval office, that’s the side where the President boards Marine One, and the side dignitaries are welcomed when they come to visit. The top floor is the residence part of the White House, where the President sleeps and if there are any children living in the White House, their bedrooms are facing you. I have to go to places like an airport or a major shopping mall to get in some good people-watching time, but one of the perks of having a dad for the president is you can just go look out your bedroom window and be entertained all day. But the residence isn’t limited to just the top floor, the residence actually spans six floors, with 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, eight staircases, and three elevators…forget people watching, you could have an epic game of hide-and-seek in this place. What’s really amazing is how the First Family moves into this place. It’s like a well-oiled machine, which it would have to be if they’re going to get everything done in just five hours. That’s right, on inauguration day, at 10:30 am, they start moving everything that belonged to the current president out and by 2:30 pm have everything moved in and set up for the incoming First Family. Not only do the staffers have to move out the sitting president’s belongings, they also have to move in the president-elect’s things, but furniture is changed, artwork swapped, walls are repainted, all per the requests of the incoming first family. It takes me five hours to just pack up my kitchen, forget moving out, redecorating and completely moving in. I need a nap just thinking about doing all of that. We’ve all heard that there have been pets in the White House, right? While dogs might be the most common, there has also been a pet racoon, two opossums, a turkey (we’ll get to that later), a children’s pony, an alligator, and a pair of tiger cubs that were gifted to President Van Buren. Pretty sure you’re going to lose your pet deposit with some of those. As for the turkey – while it was President George H.W. Bush who began the tradition of pardoning a turkey in 1989, and every president has kept that tradition since, the saving of a holiday turkey can be traced back to 1863 when President Lincoln was gifted a Christmas turkey for the holiday feast and his young son, Tad, intervened. I think it’s safe to say Tad was hands down the most rambunctious, and by rambunctious, I mean out of control, child to live in the White House. But as the old saying goes when it comes to raising kids, “you’ve got to pick your battles.” and with the Civil War at hand, I’m thinking Tad’s youthful…shenanigans were on the lower end of the totem pole when it came to the battles. When Tad felt passionate about something, he definitely put his whole heart into it and the Lincoln’s often found it hard to tell him no, which brings us to the Christmas turkey in 1863. A few weeks before Christmas, the first family was gifted a turkey for their holiday feast. Tad instantly fell in love with the bird, announced he was adopting it as a pet, and was naming him Jack. Believe it or not, Tad actually taught his new pet turkey to follow him as he hiked around the White House grounds. On Christmas Eve, Lincoln sat down and told Tad that Jack would no longer be his pet as he had been given to the family to eat on Christmas Day. Tad insisted Jack was a good turkey, that the bird had every right to live, and begged his father to not kill him. It was no surprise to anyone when the president gave in to his son, making it official by writing a reprieve for the turkey on a card, and handing it to Tad. So, thanks to a turkey named, Jack, every year a holiday turkey is pardoned by the president and saved from being part of the holiday feast. Before we move on, I wanted to quickly mention the tent pitched behind you, on the side of the street facing the white house. While current laws prohibit anyone from pitching a tent and/or sleeping overnight in Lafayette Park, this particular tent dwelling was established before that became a law and was therefore grandfathered in, and is allowed under one condition, the tent has to always be occupied, someone has to always be living in the tent. If the tent is empty for even just one night, regardless of weather conditions, then the dwelling will be dismantled permanently. This tented dwelling was first pitched in August 1981 as an anti-nuclear vigil in front of the White House, eventually it became known as the White House Peace Vigil. Concepcion Picciotto was one of the first to join William Thomas, who founded the tent, and she lived there, 365 days a year for almost 34 years. Eventually, lobbyists saw the value in having access to such prime protesting real-estate and began assisting the tents occupants. On nights when weather was its most severe, they would bring someone to live in the tent for a period of time so Concepcion could stay somewhere warm for a few days and get some much-needed rest. Since her death in 2016, Philipos Melaku-Bello has taken over as resident of the vigil’s tent, ensuring it will continue its Peace Vigil for as long as there are people willing to support their vigil for a nuclear-free world. Ok, time to move on. As you are facing the White House, you need to go to the right, toward 17th Street.

Point #6
Rochambeau Statue

700 Jackson Pl NW, Washington, DC 20506, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Statue
https://www.nps.gov/whho/learn/historyculture/rochambeau.htm

Up ahead, you’ll see a statute of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau – a French nobleman who played a significant role in the U.S. Revolution. You may remember from the Hamilton musical that he was the commander of the French Army assisting the colonists during the War. The Washington Evening Star noted that while “it was customary in America to look upon Lafayette as the representative of France’s assistance to the United States during the critical days of the revolution…, as far as the French government was concerned in the issues of that conflict the great field marshal, Count de Rochambeau, was at all times its representative.” A statue to Rochambeau, then, would symbolize official Franco-American diplomatic relations, not only in the eighteenth century but also at the dawn of the twentieth century. Turning back to the song “Guns and Ships” in Hamilton, we are reminded that Rochambeau went to France to secure more funds, guns and ships, which were then used at the Battle of Yorktown. In May 1902, Congress approved a statue commemorating Rochambeau statue, with essentially no debate. Ok, let’s keep walking.

Point #7
The Blair House

1650 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20504, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Historic house
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President%27s_Guest_House

On your right is the Blair house. It’s the cream colored brick building with green shutters. Technically a part of the White House complex, the Blair House has been called “the world's most exclusive hotel," "Uncle Sam's guesthouse," and "the best small hotel in Washington," and rightly so. Since 1942, the Blair House has been a hotel of choice for former presidents, incoming Presidents, and major leaders from around the world. Some of the Blair House’s more interesting guests include Margaret Thatcher, Ariel Sharon, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. It's so exclusive that when the Obamas asked to move in a little early so their daughters could start school on Jan. 5, the President-elect and his wife were told they had to wait their turn. ('SORRY, WE'RE BOOKED,' WHITE HOUSE TELLS OBAMA was the New York Times headline.) Apparently Australia's former Prime Minister, John Howard, already had dibs. There are countless stories about the Blair House in the press – go ahead and give it a quick Google search and you’ll see! Ahead on your right is the Renwick Gallery. Let’s go there next.

Point #8
The Renwick Gallery

1650 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20504, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Art and craft gallery
https://americanart.si.edu/visit/renwick

The Renwick Gallery was established by the Smithsonian to host American contemporary craft, celebrating makers taking both innovative and time-honored approaches to their work. Oftentimes, the exhibits in the Gallery are so popular that guests wait in lines for more than an hour to see the beautiful, but cutting-edge art and installations. This National Historic Landmark was designed by architect James Renwick Jr. in 1858 and was the first building in the United States built specifically to be an art museum. While we have a lot of places on this tour for us to go see, if you have time later, this is one you’ll definitely want to come back and check out. Turn left at 17th Street and follow the sidewalk. There are a lot of beautiful buildings along this stretch of our tour.

Point #9
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

614 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Historic Office Building
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenhower_Executive_Office_Building

Our first beautiful building here is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Office Building. It’s gonna be on your left and it stretches out for a couple of blocks. It’s a big one. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) has occupied a prominent place next to the White House for almost 150 years, where it hosts the majority of the staff that work “in” the White House. Chances are that if you meet someone who works in the West Wing of the White House…their office is actually in the EEOB. Taking 17 years to build, it was meant to host the Departments of State, War, and the Navy. Alfred B. Mullett, Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department designed the building to be built in 4 stages, culminating in its completion in 1888. In 1949 the building became the Executive Office Building to better identify its occupants, the Bureau of the Budget and White House staff. In 1955 President Dwight D. Eisenhower held the first televised presidential press conference in the Indian Treaty Room. The building has housed all Vice Presidents and their staff, beginning with Lyndon B. Johnson. It also hosted the private office for President Nixon, who was said to prefer his office in the EEOB far more than the Oval Office. The granite walls are nearly four feet thick and supported on spread hydraulic concrete footings. The window frames, exterior roof sculpture, cornices, and roof trim are cast iron. The interior has ceilings eighteen feet high, and nearly two miles of corridors, lined with floors of white marble and black limestone. Monumental curving granite staircases, lined with over 4,000 individually cast bronze balusters, are set below four sky lit domes and two stained-glass rotundas. The State Department's south wing was the first to be occupied. It contains a library, the Diplomatic Reception Room, and the Secretary's office suite decorated with carved wood, Oriental rugs, and stenciled wall patterns. In 1982 the Preservation Office was established to develop a comprehensive preservation program for the building. This includes research, educational programs, the public tour program, and the formulation of a master plan for the building's continued adaptive use. The upgraded maintenance program has also included the restoration of some of the building's spectacular historic interiors to their original appearance.

Point #10
Office of the United States Trade Representative

550 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20429, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Office Building
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_the_United_States_Trade_Representative

You are probably still admiring the Dwight D. Eisenhower building, but let me call your attention real quick to the building across the street with the black shutters and ornate black wrought iron work at the second floor. That’s the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which is housed in the historic Winder Building. Most people aren’t too familiar with the USTR, but it is the United States government agency responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy to the president of the United States. Have a question about trades and tariffs on automobiles from Japan? The USTR is the person you would want to ask. Our current USTR is Robert E. Lighthizer, who actually holds the rank of Ambassador. The Winder Building was known as Washington's first “skyscraper” when it opened for business in 1848 because it was actually the tallest and largest office building at the time in DC. The government purchased the building in 1854 for $200,000. In 1969, the Winder Building was declared a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Go ahead and keep walking down 17th. I’ll meet you at the next corner.

Point #11
First Infantry Division Monument

500 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Monument
https://www.nps.gov/whho/learn/historyculture/first-division-monument.htm

Not sure if you can turn left here and get into the park to see the Monument that is here. Often they have it all blocked off by security. I’ll tell you about it regardless. Located directly south of the EEOB, in an area known as President’s Park, The Monument commemorates those who died while serving in the 1st Infantry Division of the U. S. Army. The monument was established after WWI as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the First Division, American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). The First Division was formed as part of the AEF shortly after the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917 and famously led by General John J. Pershing. The soldiers of the First Division were the first American troops to arrive in France in 1917 and the last to leave Europe in September 1919. The names of 5,516 First Division soldiers are commemorated on the monument. Pershing was particularly proud of the First Division, which came to be known as "Pershing's Own." He said of the division that it had "a special pride of service and a high state of morale never broken by hardship nor battle.” In October 1919, the First Division Memorial Association was organized to raise funds and oversee the memorial project. Completed in 1924, more than 6000 veterans and guest’s attended the dedication that was led by President Calvin Coolidge. If you were able to get into the park, cool! Now go back to 17th street and keep walking in the direction we have been going. If you weren’t able to get into the park, well, just keep walking down 17th.

Point #12
Corcoran School of the Arts & Design

500 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Art School
https://corcoran.gwu.edu/

So here’s another cool building on your right. It’s the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design and it is part of the George Washington University campus. Home to a world-renown staff, the students are artists who aim to impact the world and drive social change. The Corcoran offers 22 degrees, believe it or not – everything from photography to performing arts The most striking feature of the building are the Canova Lions, which are copies of a pair of lions sculpted by Antonio Canova in 1792 for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII(13)[1] in St Peter's in Rome. The originals were sculpted from marble; these were cast in bronze from molds of the originals. The pieces were installed in 1860.[2][3] Originally placed at the home of a DC businessman, the lions were purchased at auction by the Corcoran Gallery in 1888 and placed in front of the museum when it was at Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventeenth Street, N.W. (now the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum). They were moved to their current location in 1897 when the museum moved to its new location at Seventeenth Street and New York Avenue, N.W.

Point #13
National Christmas Tree

171 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Christmas Tree
https://thenationaltree.org/

So if you were to cross the street and follow one of the paths to the left, you would get to the Ellipse in the President’s park, and also the National Christmas Tree. I’ll tell you a little about it but we need to keep walking down 17th. Come back to the Ellipse later. The Ellipse of the White House was originally designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who designed the layout of Washington DC in 1791. Designed to be a park, it was used as corrals for horses and mules as well as campgrounds for Union Soldiers during the Revolutionary War. In 1860, it was the first playing field for the Washington Senators Baseball team – now known as the Washington Nationals. In 1867, it became a true park and since then has been associated with the White House. On Christmas Eve 1943, President Coolidge started the tradition of lighting the National Christmas tree -- a 48-foot fir tree decorated with 2,500 electric bulbs in red, white and green, as a local choir and a “quartet” from the U.S. Marine Band performed. This tradition remains unbroken and hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Ellipse each year to see the National Christmas Tree and the National Menorah, which was added in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.

Point #14
American Red Cross-National HeadQuarters

6156 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Red-Cross Headquarters
https://www.redcross.org/local/washington-dc.html

I bet you can guess what the building across the street is. There’s a clue on the front of the building. Built between 1915 and 1917, The Headquarters of the American Red Cross serves both as a memorial to women who served in the American Civil War and as well as the functional offices of the national organization. The American Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton and a circle of her acquaintances in Washington, DC on May 21, 1881, shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

Point #15
DAR Constitution Hall

224 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Historic Building
https://www.dar.org/constitution-hall

Our next amazing building is the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall, commonly referred to as the “DAR.” Founded more than 125 years ago, the Daughters of the American Revolution features more than 1,000,000 members who honor their heritage as descendants of those who participated in the Revolutionary War. Construction for the complex began in 1928 – the cornerstone was laid by President Calvin Coolidge’s wife, Grace, using the trowel George Washington used to lay the cornerstone at the Capitol in 1793. Every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended events at DAR Constitution Hall. Until the 1950s the Hall had a glass ceiling and a view of the stars. Memorial Continental Hall was designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1935 for its role in world history, which includes hosting the famous Conference on the Limitation of Armaments in the wake of WWI (1921). There’s another cool building coming up ahead on your right.

Point #16
Organization of American States

146 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Organization
http://www.oas.org/en/

The Organization of American States was established in 1889 to April 1890 as an organization to represent all the countries, or “states” in the Americas. While 18 countries participated in the initial conference creating the OAS, now, every country from Canada to the tip of South America is represented and encouraged to engage in political dialogue and cooperation across the continent. The building that houses the OAS was made possible through a donation from Andrew Carnegie, who was long known for his support of world peace. When the building opened in 1910, it was immediately recognized for its beauty and grandeur. The original building featured a large indoor patio area with flora from across the Americas, including exotic coffee trees, palms, mangos, and cacti. Let’s make our way across the street so I can show you some of the great monuments on this end of the national mall

Point #17
Directions

Constitution Ave NW & 17th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

See that old grey stone building catty corner to your right across Constitution Avenue? That’s where we are heading next. Pick a crosswalk and meet me there.

Point #18
Lockkeepers House

17th St NW, Washington, DC 20230, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Historic House
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockkeeper%27s_House,_C_%26_O_Canal_Extension

Believe it or not, this small building is the oldest building on the National Mall and represents a time when the geography of Washington, DC was significantly different. In the 1800s, the end of 17th street was a wharf, while Constitution was actually a section of the Washington City Canal that connected the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. Built in 1837, the house served the canal lock keeper, who collected tolls, recorded commerce, maintained the canal and managed traffic. The building was recently moved 30 feet back from the curb to avoid 6 lanes of traffic flying by, which was taking a pretty severe toll on this old historical building. Ok, let’s follow the path that runs along 17th. We are headed into the mall.

Point #19
National Mall

17th St NW, Washington, DC 20230, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : National Mall
https://www.nps.gov/nama/index.htm

Have you ever wondered who decides what monuments and memorials are built and which ones aren’t? Why does this President or that President deserve a monument while another one doesn’t? As you can imagine, these are never easy decisions, nor are they taken lightly, which is why there is an executive branch agency dedicated to this very thing. The American Battle Monuments Commission is in charge of all of that. Yup, the ABMC operates and maintains 24 permanent U.S. military cemeteries, and 25 memorial structures in 15 countries around the world, In the National Mall alone, we have 11 different monuments, ranging from honoring past Presidents, veterans who gave their lives in service of their country, to people who greatly influenced America as we know it. Let’s head to the World War Two Memorial. Keep walking along 17th Street.

Point #20
WWII Memorial

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://www.wwiimemorial.com/

We are approaching one of the most popular memorials here on the National Mall. In 1993, President Clinton authorized the ABMC to establish a World War II Memorial in Washington DC. It would be the first national memorial dedicated to honoring the 16 million who served in the United States armed forces, more than 400,000 of which died, and the millions who supported the war efforts from home. From a national competition with 400 submissions, Friedrich St. Florian’s design was chosen, and with a team of landscape architects, sculptors, and stone carvers, the World War II memorial was born. The northern arch is inscribed with Atlantic and the southern one Pacific, and between the two are 59 granite pillars. Each pillar is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 states as of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, Alaska Territory, the territory of Hawaii, the commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and let’s not forget the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands. As you walk around the monument, you’ll see two walls with pictures depicting war experiences, and on the west side of the plaza is the Freedom Wall which has 4,048 gold stars, each star representing 100 Americans who died in the war. In front of the wall is the message, “Here we mark the price of freedom.” Feel free to go in and have a good look around. There is a lot to see and appreciate in there. Then come back to this path and keep walking.

Point #21
Directions

Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Please keep following this path for a few more yards. Then turn left and take the crosswalk over Homefront Drive. We are headed down toward the Tidal Basin.

Point #22
John Paul Jones Memorial

1750 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 2454
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Paul_Jones_Memorial

We need to take the path to the left now and then take both crosswalks to get us to the other side of Independence Avenue, right alongside the Tidal Basin. There’s a neat statue in that grassy little park area off to your left and I KNOW you want to hear about it, so listen up. The statue is John Paul Jones and he was a true American hero – one of the first, in fact. Have you ever heard the famous quote “I’ve not yet begun to fight!”? Well, that was John Paul Jones. He was the first naval hero of the Revolutionary War and the only naval officer to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. So, what makes him so amazing? It all comes down to the Battle of Flamborough Hall. In 1779 while in command of the naval vessel, the Bonhomme Richard, he achieved his most famous victory. His ship was badly damaged and the British asked if he wanted to surrender. "I have not yet begun to fight!” was his reply and then he rammed the British war ship. THEN, he tied the two ships together. After brutal fighting the British surrendered. Because Jones’s ship was so badly damaged, he took over the British vessel. Ok, I’ll meet you at the tidal Basin.

Point #23
Tidal Basin 1

Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Reservoir
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_Basin

Pause for a minute and take in this view! Then turn right and I’ll tell you about what you are looking at. That big collection of water is the Tidal Basin, and no, we’re not going to jump in it and go for a swim. I don’t care that a famous stripper did, it doesn’t mean we are. I’ll tell you more about THAT in just a bit. The Tidal Basin is one of the most well-known areas of Washington, DC. Home to the Jefferson Memorial, which is that big domed building on the other side of the water, the Tidal Basin was built in the 1880’s to flush the Washington Channel. The basin was initially named Twining Lake, in honor of Major William Johnson Twining (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), As part of the restoration and redesign of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, completed in 2012, water is pumped from the Tidal Basin to fill the pool. Let’s keep following the path around the basin.

Point #24
Tidal Basin 2

9810 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Reservoir
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_Basin

So the Tidal Basin is a man-made reservoir that releases 250 million gallons of water collected at high tide, twice a day. How do you think that water gets in and out of the Tidal Basin? Well, there is an inlet bridge and an outlet bridge with gates underneath that open and close depending on the pressure of the tide. The US Corps of Engineers figured out that it was needed way back in 1881 when a huge flood covered most of the national mall. I’m glad they got that figured out, aren’t you? Keep walking.

Point #25
Tidal Basin 3

9810 Kutz Bridge, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 1714
  • Attraction : Reservoir
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_Basin

Keep following the path and then cross both crosswalks up ahead. In addition to being home to a fleet of pedal boats, the Tidal Basin has also been the scene of a DC Scandal or two. In 1974, married Congressman Wilbur Mills was having an affair with a stripper named Fannie Fox. They had been out drinking one night and were driving near the Tidal Basin when police pulled their car over. Fannie Fox tried to run from the scene by actually jumping into the tidal basin. After the whole incident went public, Mills resigned, and our favorite stripper changed her stage name from “The Argentine Firecracker” to “The Tidal Basin Bombshell.”

Point #26
Japanese Lantern Statue

9810 Kutz Bridge, Washington, DC 20024, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Statue
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Lantern_(Washington,_D.C.)

We are going to turn right here, but first, if you look through the trees you will see what’s called the Japanese Lantern. It was a gift from Japan to the United States back in 1954. Yup, an 8 foot tall, 4,000 pound gift that is older than the United States itself. It was given as a gift representing everlasting peace and friendship. There is a twin lantern statue located in a beautiful cherry tree lined park in Tokyo. Keep walking along Independence Avenue.

Point #27
Washington DC War Memorial

1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20006, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://www.nps.gov/nama/planyourvisit/dc-war-memorial.htm

So we could take the path to the left and head toward the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, but I don’t want to do that just yet. There’s another entrance coming up that I think is a much more impactful way to approach the memorial. So keep walking. That white rotunda with the pillars cross the street to your right is the DC War Memorial. It honors the citizens of DC who served and sacrificed their lives in World War I. On the cornerstone is a list of 26,000 Washingtonians who fought for freedom in that war.On the base of the memorial is an additional 499 names of DC citizens who died in the war. It was commemorated by President Hoover on Armistice Day, November 11, 1931. Hardly anyone knows anything about that memorial. Now you are one of the few people that do. Congrats!

Point #28
Directions

121 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA

  • Distance : 2697
  • Attraction : Directions

Here on your left is the path I want us to take to get to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. I like going from this direction because you get to walk through the “Mountain of Despair” to get to the “Stone of Hope”. What in the world am I talking about here? See the stone formation there? Walk up to it and I’ll tell you more.

Point #29
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

121 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://www.nps.gov/mlkm/index.htm

Here we have the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. These huge slabs of granite symbolize the “mountain of despair.” Go ahead and pass through the “mountain of despair” and go around to the front side of the 30 ft tall sculpture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This statue is named the “Stone of Hope.” So how does this group of statues go together? Well, there is a line from Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech that says “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” That quote was the inspiration for this memorial. Dr. Martin Luther King played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance to racial inequality. Interesting fact here - this statue of Dr. Martin Luther King was created to make it look as if he is gazing across the Tidal Basin toward the horizon. Every year the cherry trees here will bloom during the anniversary of his death. One of my favorite parts of his memorial is the crescent-shaped granite wall, where fourteen of Dr. King's quotes are inscribed, chosen to stress his primary messages of justice, democracy, hope, and love. Among the quotes inscribed, I would have to say my two favorites are: · "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. And “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial is one that brings a lot of emotions when looking up at this man, who like his sculpture, was larger than life. Ok, take in one more view of the Tidal Basin and memorial and everything else here and then we will make our way toward the Korean War Memorial. Walk back through the Mountain of Despair and then take the path to the left to get to West Basin Drive. There’s a restroom across the street there, just in case. Turn right on West Basin and then left on Independence so we can continue exploring.

Point #30
West Potomac Park

121 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA

  • Distance : 2219
  • Attraction : Park
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Potomac_Park

Ok, everyone is here. Right? Good. Let’s keep walking until we get to the next crosswalk. By the way, that’s West Potomac Park on your left. It includes the area between the Washington Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial

Point #31
Directions

10 Daniel French Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Here’s the crosswalk we were looking for. Take it all the way to the other side of Independence Avenue

Point #32
Directions

10 Daniel French Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Please follow the path that goes diagonally to the left. Follow the navigation. The Korean War memorial is coming right up. One aspect of the Korean war, that not many people realize, is the significance of the number 38, which was included in the design of the memorial. To start, the Korean War lasted for 38 months, and when the fighting stopped and peace discussions began, the boundary line between the warring parties was approximately latitude 38 degrees north, or known as, the 38th parallel. Whether it was amazing planning or an insane coincidence, the Korean memorial’s latitude coordinate is also 38 degrees north.

Point #33
Korean War Veterans Memorial

10 Daniel French Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://www.nps.gov/kowa/index.htm

Please turn right here. Soon you will have 19 Korean War soldier statues on your left and a large granite wall on your right If you look closely at the wall, you can see the 19 soldiers reflected on its surface. So adding 19 soldiers and their 19 reflections, you come up with the number 38 again. Pretty cool, right? On the wall, you will also see roughly 2000 images etched into the granite, all of which came from photographs taken or donated of real Korean War Veterans. Please be quiet and respectful as you walk along the wall that memorializes so many soldiers who gave their lives in that war. Keep walking along the wall until we reach the Pool of Remembrance.

Point #34
Korean War Memorial Pool of Remembrance

10 Daniel French Dr SW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 3000
  • Attraction : Pool
https://www.koreanwarvetsmemorial.org/the-memorial/

Here on the east end of the memorial is the Pool of Remembrance, lined with black granite and surrounded by a grove of linden trees, and benches for those who want to sit and take it all in. Near the pool you’ll find granite blocks with inscriptions listing the number of American soldiers killed, wounded, missing in action, and held as prisoners of war. Next to those numbers are those of the United Nations troops. Nearby is a plaque that says, “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met." And to the south of the pool a granite wall bears the simple message, “Freedom is Not Free.” When you are ready to continue on, take the path away from the Pool of Remembrance that will put you on the right hand side of the soldier statues. As the central focal point of the Korean memorial, these 19 larger-than-life stainless steel soldiers, stand just over 7-feet tall each. They are spread out across a triangular plot of land, referred to as the Field of Service. They are surrounded by patches of juniper bushes, which symbolize the rice patties of Korea. Their weapons and equipment are covered by rain ponchos, some of which create the image of the cold winds of war blowing around them. The soldiers are made up from four branches of the military, and if you look closely, you’ll also be able to make out the various roles you’d see in a platoon on patrol, from Squad Leaders, Riflemen, and Radio Operators, to Medics, Gunners, and Air-Ground Controllers. Please keep following along the path. The Lincoln Memorial is next.

Point #35
Directions

Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Yup, that’s the Lincoln Memorial up there on the left. Stay on this path.

Point #36
Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Memorial

Some people like to climb stairs and some don’t. So for those who don’t, I’m going to talk all about the Lincoln Memorial right here. Whoever wants to climb the stairs can go right ahead now. But EVERYONE needs to meet back with me on THIS path, straight ahead, with the Lincoln Memorial behind you and the Washington Memorial in front of you. Did you know that the Lincoln Memorial is the #2 attraction in all of Washington DC? Did you know however, that this huge columned structure wasn’t the original plan for the monument? Nope. Some of the first proposals included a Mayan temple and a log cabin. There was also a disagreement about exactly where the memorial would be located. The speaker of the house at the time said “I’ll never let a memorial to Abraham Lincoln be erected in that damned swamp.” Ha! Well so sorry, but that’s where it ended up. The statue of Abraham Lincoln is 159 tons of Georgia white marble. If that statue were to stand up right now, he would be 28 feet tall. He was originally supposed to be much shorter. But, after realizing how huge the chamber surrounding him would be, they went ahead and gave Lincoln a few extra feet. If you take a look around, above the colonnade, inscribed on the wide central piece are the names of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln's death, and the dates in which they entered the Union. Above the upper edge is where the 48 states that were present at the time of the Memorial's dedication. Check them out and see if you can notice which two are still missing. Now it’s time to learn a new word. Maybe you already know what it is, maybe not. The word is “fasces” (fas-zees). Ancient Roman magistrates used to carry around bundles of rods with an axe sticking out of it. The rod and axe combos are called “fasces”. This symbol is repeated inside and outside of the memorial and represents power, authority and a commanding of respect. The first place you’ll see these are on the front of the columns that encase the stairs leading up to the President. In order to add a little Americanness, there are 13 rods shown in these fasces, which suggest the 13 original states that achieved independence, forming the United States. The rods bound together suggest the union of the states and their bond by the Constitution. Each state is weaker individually, but together, they are stronger. An even further American touch to this ancient Roman symbol, is a bald eagle’s head that sits atop the axe. When you look at the pillars Lincoln’s arms are resting on, you can see more carvings of the fasces you first saw outside at the base of the stairs. But these are different in that there is no axe carved with them, it’s just the rods. Here they imply power, strength, authority, and Justice. As a symbol of the Union, the fasces have particular importance to Abraham Lincoln and his fight to preserve the Union. If you look to the south wall, you’ll see the Gettysburg Address which reveals Lincoln’s position on slavery as he calls for “a new birth of freedom” as an outcome of the war. A mural above further illustrates that concept with the "Angel of Truth" emancipating the slaves adjacent to her. On the left of the mural, a figure holds a sword and a scroll to represent justice and the law. On the opposite wall, is Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. And I’m not one to point out mistakes… BUT… Where it says, “With high hope for the future,” if you look closely, you’ll see that the F in future, was actually carved as an E. DOH! Can you even fathom what went through the carver’s mind when he realized what he’d done. I mean, there’s no undoing that one. Sure, we all make mistakes, but how often are they on PERMANENT display for anyone and everyone to see!! Poor guy. Thankfully, when they filled in the letters with black paint, they left the bottom line of the E not painted, this way it’s much less noticeable to the casual observer. In fact, most people don’t even know the error exists. But now you know. There’s a lot going on in that memorial so take your time exploring. Then meet me at the next stop, right between the memorial and the reflecting pool. Use your navigation to help guide you.

Point #37
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Reflecting Pool
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Memorial_Reflecting_Pool

Check out the view from here! Those of you that climbed up the stairs, yes there’s a great view up by Abraham Lincoln as well. What you see when looking out over the National Mall and the Reflecting Pool is the view that so many historically important people have seen with their eyes as well. The famous “I have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Junior was given right here, to a crowd of around 250,000 people. Can you even imagine? Less awesome though, is the fact that the reflecting pool was completely drained in 2017 to control a parasitical outbreak which killed a bunch of ducks and caused swimmer’s itch. But don’t let that make you skip taking a few pictures. It really is beautiful. What can you see reflected in the pool? When you are ready, continue along the path with the Lincoln memorial on your left and the reflecting pool on your right.

Point #38
Directions

274 Henry Bacon Dr NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Next on our list is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Keep following this trail and take your second left.

Point #39
Vietnam Women’s Memorial/Three Soldiers Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 5 Henry Bacon Dr NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Memorial
https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/vietnam-womens-memorial.htm

There are three different parts to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.The path to the right will take you to the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. If you’d like to go see it. Just come back here when you are done. The memorial is a nice reminder of the importance of women during the Vietnam War. There is another memorial here, just in front of you to the right. It is called The Three Soldiers and it is a representation of the different major ethnic groups that served in Vietnam. Take the path to the left and we will go see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Point #40
Directions

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 5 Henry Bacon Dr NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Turn right here and again, please be quiet and respectful as you walk along the wall that memorializes so many soldiers who gave their lives in that war

Point #41
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 5 Henry Bacon Dr NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : https://www.nps.gov/vive/index.htm
Memorial

This is the third, and most well known part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Wall of Names is constructed of two 247 foot long black granite slabs from India. One wall points toward the Lincoln Memorial and the other points to the Washington Monument. The walls symbolize a “wound that is closed and healing.” It originally had 57,939 names on it when it was dedicated in 1982. More names have been added since then, including 8 women. There is a ritual that takes place here often with people taking a piece of paper and placing it over a name of a family member or loved one and then rubbing a wax crayon or pencil over the name to create a memento. So if you see this happening here, it’s totally normal. You may also see flower bouquets along with personal notes tucked into the cracks of the wall.

Point #42
Directions

Constitution Ave NW + 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Please continue walking.

Point #43
Directions

Constitution Ave NW + 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Now please take the path to the left.

Point #44
Constitution Gardens

Constitution Ave NW + 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Garden
https://www.nps.gov/coga/index.htm

Let’s go ahead and turn right here. This area that we are walking in is Constitution Gardens. It’s a beautiful 50 acre park with trees and flowers, monuments, trails, and a pond with an island that you can walk out to. Yup. We will go see that island in a few minutes.

Point #45
Directions

Constitution Ave + 20th St, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

When the trail makes a “V” up here, please stay to the left.

Point #46
Constitution Gardens Pond

Constitution Ave + 19th St, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Constitution Gardens Pond
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Gardens

The Constitution Gardens Pond is in front of us now and I have a random story about it. Back in 2003 there was a crazy standoff between a tractor-riding tobacco farmer and the FBI. The farmer dug up part of the island there, and claimed he had explosives which of course then prompted an evacuation of the area. Two days later the tobacco farmer surrendered. He must have gotten hungry or something. Please continue along the trail.

Point #47
Directions

1800-1898 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Directions

Please take the trail to the right. We are gonna go explore that little island.

Point #48
Signer Island

1800-1898 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Island and Memorial
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_to_the_56_Signers_of_the_Declaration_of_Independence

If you turn right here, there is a footbridge that will take you to Signer’s Island where you will find the memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Go ahead, cross over and take a look for yourself. The 56 stone blocks that you will find on the island have copies of the signatures from everyone who signed the Declaration of Independence. Come back to this spot afterward and then keep on heading in the direction that we have been going. Take the trail to the left when it splits.

Point #49
The End

Constitution Avenue and 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20245, USA

  • Distance : 0
  • Attraction : Ending

Wait! Was that it? Are we done? I can’t believe it is over. I am really going to miss hanging out with you. Oh you are sad too? Well, lucky for both of us, UCPlaces has quite a few more tours here in Washington, DC. The tour we just finished up actually has a sister tour that starts up by the White House and then explores the East side of the National Mall. You wouldn’t want the East side of the National Mall to feel neglected, now would you? I didn’t think so. I guess I’ll be seeing you soon then? Great. Until then, so long and happy touring!