the year ending June 30, 1873 :
1872. July— Mean temperature, 81°. 7; maximum, 101;
minimum, 64; rainfall, 0.82; prevailing wind, S.
August — M. temp. 79^.6 ; max. 98; min. 55; rain, 5.72;
September— M. temp. 69^.3 ; max. 98; min. 44; rain, 3.92;
October — M. temp. 55^.8 ; max. 82 ; min. 33.5 ; rain. 4.83 ;
ISTovember — M. temp. 42°.2 ; max. 65 ; min. 14; rain, 2.75 ;
December — M. temp. 31°; max. 48; min. 3; rain, 2.49
1873. January — M. temp. 31°. 7; max. 64.5; min. 7; rain
3.73 ; wind, N".
February — M. temp. 31°. 1 ; max. 63; min. 1; rain, 4.69
March — M. temp. 41°. 5; max. 69; min. 4; rain, 3.03
April — M. temp. 53°. 3; max. 87; min. 36; rain, 3.19
May— M. temp. 63°.6; max. 92.5; min. 43; rain, 5.21
June — M. temp. 76°. 5; max. 96; min. 46.5; rain, 1.63
For the year, mean temperature, 54°. 3 ; total rain fall,
The climate of the District is generally salubrious, though
it is subject to sudden changes, particularly in the spring. A
comparison of the above figures with the same for previous
years shows that the mean of the climate has not materially
varied. The hottest months are July and August, and the
coldest December and February.
Jeflerson, in his Notes, says that in 1780 the Chesapeake
Bay was frozen from its head to the mouth of the Potomac.
The extremes in that j^ear were from 6° to 90°. In 1772
there was a fall of snow averaging 3 feet in depth. At
present the average is less than 8 inches. In summer storms
of thunder and lightning are frequent.
tnt of State.
Jcnt of Justice,
^cnt of Agriculture
KKFICR li> N C SS.
18 Centre Market.
19 Str.ittisonian Institution,
lo Washington Monument,
n Statue of Washington.
2z Grcenougli's Washington.
15 Statute of Jacicson.
14 Corcoran Gallery of Art.
15 Botanical Garden.
17 Naval Hospital.
~S Statue of j^ott.
19 Medical Museum.
50 Government Printing Ortii
ji Winder's Building.
;; Congressional Cemetery.
"dLOk^i.-^- - ^ - ^^''r^i'^^
J a^-, I LM^i2i L_i -id
COMl'If-ED EXl'JtF.SSI.V V
Washington and its Envi'
i Pre5idcm"i g,^
RKP'KK K N C 1C>
>| N«»v V«».
■4 Miriiic Sunci.,
IS Cilv Hat
IS Ccmre MiritM.
II) >mit&K>ni» Inltilvltra
M Wiftshin||^U'>n NU\num«nt.
11 (Utw »f \V lOiintlM.
:i IJrwnoufH". W^iKiniiKu,,
M C>'t««n lijilUtv of An,
S5 B.<<>nicil OltJtn.
1- Njlv»l Hospilil.
iS Mjilu« ol' xoH
lo licvfrnmrut k^iUlin^ i>rt>A
n WInJrr'j BuiUin».
DESCRIPTION OF THE CITY.
AVENUES, SQUAKES, STATUES, &c.
<^i|^^ HEKE are three points within the city from which
^•^^^Hhe finest ^dews of Washiiio-ton may be obtained :
1st. The Dome of the Capitol. 2d. The West Por-
tico of tlie Capitol, reached through the central hall
of the Library of the United States. 3d. The higher
of the nortli central towers of the Smithsonian In-
stitution. Outside of the city the best jDoints are from the
towTr of the Government Hospital for the Insane, beyond
the Anacostia, and the portico of Arlington House, beyond
the Potomac. The stranger should not fail to take advan-
tage of at least one of these opportunities, and all would
amply repay him. With the aid of this Hand-book and
map he will thus be able to form a perfect idea of the eity
and the location of the principal public buildings.
Topography. — The site of Washington covers an undulat-
ing tract, which lies along the left or E . bank of the Potomac
Kiver, between Kock Creek and the Anacostia. From the
rugged elevations on the banivs of Kock Creek a crescent-
shaped ridge crosses the northern jjortions of the city. About
two thirds its length it suddenly parts, to allow the fitful cur-
rent of the Tiber tln^ough. From that point it rises and
spreads out into the expansive plateau of Capitol Hill, which
overlooks the Anacostia on the E. Within this encircling
ridge the surface falls aw^ay in terraces and gentle slopes to
the banks of the Potomac. In different parts of the city are
eminences which afford commanding situations for the public
From the lower falls of the Potomac at G-eorgetown, where
the outlying spurs of the Blue Kidge Mountains give the face
of nature a somewiiat rugged appearance, a chain of low,
wooded hills range on the N., and continuing on the op-
posite shores of the Anacostia and Potomac, merge again in
the hills on the Virginia side. These give the appearance of
a vast ampitheatre, in the centre of which stands the city.
The mean altitude of the city is about 40 ft. above the or-
It) PLAN OF THE CITY.
dinary low tide in the Potomac opposite. The more impor-
tant elevations, accordin,:^ to levels taken by Brev. Lieut. Col.
George W. PInghes, Corps of Topographical Engineers, in
1850, are as follows :
Fonndation of St. John's Church, WE. corner of 16th
and H sts. KW., opposite Lafayette Square and the Presi-
dent's House, 65.50 ft.
Corner of I and 19th sts. NW., 82.10 ft.
East base of Capitol, 89.50 ft.
Base of Naval Observatory, 96.20 ft.
Comer of N and 11th sts. ISTW., (highest point in the city,)
The soil upon which the city is built is generally a yellow-
ish clay, mixed with gravel. In digging wells near New Jer-
sey av. trees well preserved were found at a depth of from 6
to 48 ft. At one point a stratum of black mud was discov-
ered at a depth of 18 ft.
The Tiber — so named more than a century before Wash-
ington was founded, in the belief, it is said, that some day
upon its banks would rise a capital greater than Kome, like
its historic and larger namesake— ^runs through the city, di-
viding it into two parts. Its fountain streams rise in the
hills to the jST., and enter the city in several branches, the
principal one in the vicinity of 1st st. W. ; it then pursues a
SE. and S. course, till it crosses Massachusetts av., wiien it
winds Oii* to the SW. around the NW. base of Capitol Hill
and across Pennsylvania av. and the Botanical Garden.
Originally its course continued along the Mall and emptied
into the Potomac immediately W. of the Washington Mon-
ument. Subsequently it was diverted into the Washington
Canal at 3d st. W., which followed the line of B st. N. along
the N. borders of the Mall. The filling of the canal led to
further changes. The Tiber and its tributaries have since
been utilized by diverting them into the sewerage system of
the central and southern portions of the city; hence, although
the stream traverses one of the most populous sections, its
course is not traceable, the current flowing beneath heavy
brick arches, upon wiiich buildings have been erected and
avenues, streets, and parks laid out. In primitive days the
banks of the Tiber were lined with forests, and shad and her-
ring in tlieir season were caught in its waters, under the very
shadow of the hill where the Capitol now stands.
Plan of the Oity. — The plan of Washington was prepared
in 1791 by Peter Charles L'Enfant, a French engineer of
noticeable genius but eccentric habits, who had served in the
Continental Army with sufticient distinction to attract the
PROPOSED El\]BELLT!^HMENTS. 17
attention of Wasliington. In the work he was greatly as-
sisted by the advice of Thomas Jefferson, who, when diplo-
matic representative of the United States at foreign courts,
had, with an intuitive vision of the wants of the future, stud-
ied the plans of the cities of Europe visited by him, and was
competent and prepared, with the aid of plans and his per-
sonal knowledge of their details, to contribute an invaluable
amount of information on this important subject. The plan
adopted combines the artistic beauty and grace of Versailles
and the practical advantages of Babylon, revived by William
Penn in Philadelphia. In the conception of the plan, the
predominating object was to secure positions for the different
public edifices ; also squares and areas of different shapes,
which Avould afford fine prospects. The avenues were in-
tended to connect the most distant parts with certain princi-
pal central points, to insure a reciprocity of views. Lines N.
and S., intersected by otliers running E. and W., were to
divide the city into streets and squares. These lines were to
be so combined as to intersect at certain given points another
set of divergent avenues, so as to form on the open spaces.
Every grand transverse avenue and every principal divergent
one, su^h as from the Capitol to the President's House, was
to be 160 ft. wide, laid out with 10 ft. sidewalks and 30 ft. of
gi'avel-walk, planted with trees on either side, and 80 ft. of
carriageway in the centre. The other avenues and streets
leading to public buildings or markets were to be 130 ft. wide,
and others 110 and 90 ft.
Its Execution.— The site for the Capitol was determined
upon as the initial point in execution of this plan. That im-
portant question having been decided, Mr. Ellicott drew a true
meridian line by celestial observation, wliich passed through
the area intended for the Capitol. This he crossed by another,
a due E. and W. line, which passed through the same area.
These Ihies were accurately measured, and formed the basis
on which the whole plan was executed. All these lines were
run by a transit instrument, and the acute angles were deter-
mined b}^ actual measurement, leaving nothing to the uncer-
tainty of the compass. The avenues and streets were then
Proposed Embellisliments.— The ideas of the projectors not
only contemplated a Federal City capable of infinite expan-
sion, but also took in its creditable embellishment. Although
the want of means and the general apathy of the Government
and people allowed these suggestions to pass unrecognized,
it is interesting to observe that the disgraceful and neglected
condition of the Capital of the United States for nearly three
1 8 PROPOSED EMBELLISHMENTS.
quarters of a centurj^ was not owing to any imperfections in
the orioinal plans. Directly S. of the President's House, in
the triangular space between the Mall and the Potomac and
the month of the Tiber, where the mifinislied and neglected
Obelisk to the memorj" of Washington has stood for over a
quarter of a centmy, was located the site for the Equestrian
Statue of Washington, voted by the Continental Congress in
1783. On E. Capitol St., between 11th and 13th sts. E., and
about the centre of the high plateau between the Capital and
the Anacostia, where four avenues intersected, was laid out a
spacious square, in which was to be erected a Historic Column,
to be used also as a Mile or Itinerary Column, from which sta-
tion it was intended to calculate the distances to all places
within the United States and on the continent. This column
would have answered the purpose of the celebrated ISTiphon-
Bass or Bridge of Japan, situated in the Soto-Siro, or outside
of the castle in Yeddo. This bridge is considered as the cen-
tre of the empire. From it the Tocaido extends to all parts
of the empire, and geographical distances are computed. At
the foot of 8th st. W., immediately on the banks of the Poto-
mac, and commanding a fine view of the widening reach of
the river below, was to be erected a Naval Itinerary Column,
to celebrate the first rise of the jSTavy, and '' to stand a ready
monument to con secrate its progress and achievements. ' ' The
crest of the knoll on Avhich thePatent OfRce now stands was
set apart for a National Church and Mausoleum, designed for
the use of the Government on occasions of public prayer,
thanksgivings, state funerals and orations, and for any other
purpose national in character. The edifice was to be assigned
to the special use of no particular sect or denomination, but
to be equally open to all. It was also to be the place for sucli
monumental or other tributes of a grateful country voted by
the then late Continental Congress for those heroes who fell
in the cause of liberty, and for sucli others as might be decreed
a place there by the voice of the nation. Also, five grand
Fountains were to be erected at different prominent points:
one S. of the Capitol, in the large irregular space formed by
the intersection of Virginia and ISTorth and South Carolina
avs.; one on Maryland av., at the intersection of F and 11th
sts. NE. ; one at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Lou-
isiana avs., near the present site of the Centre Market; one
on ISTew York av., at the intersection of I St., between 11th
and 12th sts. ISTW.; and one on the N. side of Pennsylvania av.,
at the intersection of I st., betAveen 20th and 21st sts. NW.
It w^as proposed to supply these fountains from the springs
and streams within the limits of the city. Between the Capi-
tol and the Botanical Garden it was intended to construct a
ORIGIN OF THE PLAN. 19
Cfrand Cascade, to be feci from the Tiber. Between Pennsyl-
vania and Mar5dancl avs., from 3d st. W., a space of 1,200
ft. was laid down as the main approach to the "Federal
House" or Capitol, and by which it was intended to reach
the upper square of the "Federal House." The Mall was to
form a grand avenue, 400 ft. wide and about 1 m. in length,
bordered with gardens, to lead to the Equestrian Statue of
Washington, or where the Monument now stands, and
to connect the "Congress Garden with the President's
Park." On E. Capitol St., which was to be 160 ft. wide
to the proposed bridge across the Anacostia, the pavement
on each side was to pass under archways, with shops. On
the S. of the President's Park was to be a well-improved
"Field, 1,800 ft. wide and f m. long," part of the "Walk"
from the President's House. This spacious reservation was
designed for the more elegant houses and gardens of the city,
to be used by diplomatic or other foreign representatives and
prominent officials of the United States. Fifteen squares in
the more conspicuous parts of the city were to be distributed
among the States in the Union, for them to improve, or to
subscribe a sum in addition to the value of the land for that
purpose. The States were to embellish these squares within
a limited time, by the erection of some appropriate statue,
column, obelisk, or other appropriate mark, as they might
determine, to the memory of the heroes of the Revolution, " to
inspire the young," and designed to "leave a grand idea of
patriotic interest." Other designated points were to be set
apart for the erection, by the different denominations, of
edifices for religious worship, No burial places were to be
allowed within the limits of the city. Also squares and areas
unappropriated were to be assigned for the uses of colleges
and other institutions. All dwellings or other structm-es
were to be built in accordance with certain regulations, so as
to preserve uniformity.
Origin of the Plan. — The resemblance between the plans
of L 'Enfant for Washington and E'lSTotre for Versailles will
be apparent to any one who has visited the capital of the
Western Republic and the magnificent royal residence of
tlie Idngs of France. The grand avenues de Sceaux and de
'St. Cloud, diverging fi'om the Cour Royale, are reproduced
in Pennsj^vania and Maryland avs., radiating from the E.
front of the Capitol ; E. Capitol st. is the Avenue de Paris;
the Boulevard du Roi and the AUee du Potager in N. and
S. Capitol sts. ; and the Allies de la Reine, de Noisy, des
Paons, and de la Reine, which diverge from the E. extrem- .
ity of the Grand Canal, near the Basin d'ApoUon, with the
20 A RETROSPECT.
omission of Allee de la Keine to the SW., respectively, in
Conneetici.it, Pennsylvania, and Kew York avs. W. of the
President's House. The missing avenue in the plan of .
Washington, the continuation of Vermont av., would have
completed the resemblance, but for the interference of na-
ture : the Potomac and the mouth of the Tiber standing
in the way of the extension SW. of the President's House.
Other striking features of the design of Versailles are observ-
able. Washington, however, having in view the practical as
well as the beautiful", might be said to combine the plans of
two cities. The streets running at right angles have a regard
for the facilities of business. While over these, with an eye
to beautiful prospects and the advantageous display of the
centres of attraction, at long ranges are laid the broad ave-
nues, carrefours^ allees, and lawns of the imperial retreat at
A Eetrospect. — Though the city was originally laid out on
a scale adequate to the necessities of a metropolis of more than
half a million inhabitants, and with the proper regard for the
adornment of the Capital of a great people in the future, the
crude ideas entertained by subsequent statesmen respecting
the political status of the Federal Territory and city were ad-
verse to any expenditure other than to establish there a sim-
ple place of meeting for the representatives of the States — a
sort of central agency, where the President and Executive
officers might be stationed, and where Congress might come
once a year or of tener, as the exigencies of the times required,
to transact the business intrusted to them by the Constitu-
tion — ^mainly to pass laws, appropriate money, levy taxes,
declare war, ratify treaties, and confirm nominations. This
class, then in the ascendancy, found it impossible, or were un-
willing, to see anything national in the foundation of a Fed-
eral Capital, and consequently opposed every measure look-
ing beyond the mere provision of accommodations for the
public offices. To build a capital in every sense symbolic
and worthy of the Union was entirely foreign to their inter-
pretation of the meaning of that portion of the Constitution
which gave Congress the power to accept and exercise exclu-
sive jurisdiction over a Territory to be solely devoted to the
uses of the nation for the purposes of the Government. These
notions, it would seem, were a revival of a practice in Ger-
many centm-ies ago. On the left bank of the Khine, imme-
diately below the ancient village of Rhense, on the very brink
of the stream, and apart from the habitations of men, is still
to be seen the famous though rude rostrum or temple known
as the Komigsstuhl. It consists of stone seats, within a small
circular wall, and overhead entirely open to the air. Here,
in the earlier ages, the German electors assembled to deliber-
ate upon the affairs of the empire, to perform acts for the
common good, to make treaties, and to nominate or depose
the emperors. Washington, by tlie class alluded to, was
Yiewed in the light of the Koenigsstuhl of the United States.
More mature thought, however, at last brought the people to
look upon their capital as the political metropolis of the United
States. This enlightened view is recent, dating no further
back than 1861. It was not till 1870 that the march of much-
needed improvement commenced. With this new state of
affau's the Capital is anruially becoming more worthy of the
greatness of the Republic of forty millions of people.
Eeservations. — In the plan of the city a liberal allowance
of space was selected and marked out in the most desirable
localities for the sites of public buildings, parks, and for other
purposes of the Government. These grounds were called res-
ervations, and were numbered from 1 to 17, with an aggregate
area of 541 acres, 1 rood, 29 perches. Those still possessed
by the Government — several having been sold or granted
away since — are designated on the maps by their original
numbers, but are popularly called after the principal build-
iug situated on them, or from the uses to which assigned, as
1. The President's Grounds include the JSf. and S.
Parks and Lafayette Square, extend from H st. on the N.
to the mouth of Tiber Creek on the S., and from loth to 17th
sts. W., with the exception of a square in the NE. and NW.
angles. On these grounds are the President's House, con-
servatories, and stables, flanked on the E. by the Treasury
Department, and on the W. by the State, War, and Navy
Departments. The former now building. Total area of
grounds, 83 a. 1 r. 22 p.
2. The Capitol Grounds include the U. and W. Parks
and the Mall, extending from 1st st. E. to the prolongation
of 15th St. W., and between B sts. K. and S., with the excep-
tion of a narrow connecting strip between 3d and 6th sts. W.
This deficient portion of the Mall in 1822 was granted by Con-
gress to the municipal corporation, to be sold in lots, to pay
the expense of removing the old canal from its location on
the S. side of Pennsylvania av., between 3d and 6th sts. W.,
to the middle of the Mall. On these grounds are the Capitol,
Botanical Garden, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Ag-
ricultural Department. Total area of grounds originaDy,
227 a. r. 8 p. Under authority of Congress, in 1872, squares
Ko. 687 and 688, in the NE. and SE. angles of the E. Park,
were purchased and thrown into the grounds.
3. The Park extends from the W. line of the Mall, on 15th
st. W., to the banks of the Potomac, and is separated from
the S. gardens of the President's Grounds by B st. K., form-
erly the line of the Tiber Creek and the Wasliington Canal.
The old channel of the Tiber entered the Potomac on the
NW. border of this reservation. These grounds are occupied
by the Washington Monument and the Government Nurse-
ries. Total area, 29 a. 3 r. 9 p.
4. The University Square extends from E st. N. to the
banks of the Potomac, and between 23d and 25th sts. NW.
On these grounds is the Naval Observatory. Total area, 21
a. Or. 18 p.
5. The Arsenad Grounds, foot of 4| st. W., originally
included the point of land at the confluence of the Anacostia
and Potomac, from Greenleaf's Point to T st. S., and between
the mouth of James Creek and the line of 3d st. W. to the Po-
tomac. Total area, 28 a. 2 r. 31 p. This reservation in 1857
was extended by the pm-chase of the land between the line
of the canal into James Creek and W. to the Potomac and
N. to P St. S.
6. The West Mabket Square, on the Potomac, at the
foot of 20th and 21st sts. W. covered with water.
7. The Centre IMarket Square, between the point of
intersection of Pennsylvania and Louisiana avs. on the N.
and B st. IST. on the S., and from 7tli to 9th sts. W. Total
area, 2 a. 3 r. 29 p. This reservation in 1860 was granted to
the corporation for the use originally designed, and is occu-
pied by the principal market in the city.
8. The National Church Square, between 7th and
9th sts. W. and F and G sts. IST., now occupied by the Patent
Office. Area, 4 a. r. 22 p.
9. Judiciary Square, between the intersection of Indi-
ana and Louisiana avs. on the S. and G st. N. on the N. and
4th and 5th sts. W., occupied by the City Hall and Jail. Area,
19 a. 1 r. 27 p. In 1819 a portion of this reservation was
granted by Congress to the corporation for a Town House or
City Hall. In 1845 another portion was granted foi- Public
10. Reservation IST. of Pennsylvania av., between 3d
and 4^ sts. W., in 1822, was granted by Congress to the cor-
poration, to be sold in lots, to pay for the removal of the canal,
which then ran along the S. side of Pennsylvania av. to the
centre of the Mall, from 3d to 6th sts. W., and to fill up the low
grounds in that vicinity. Total area, 6 a. r. 31 p.
11. Reservation between B and C sts. N. and 2d and
3d sts. W. Total area, 3 a. 2 r. 34 p. Disposed of same as
reservation No. 10.
12. Reservation N. of Pennsylvania av., between 2d
and 3d sts. W. Total area, 1 a. 1 r. 4 p. Disposed of same
as reservations Nos. 10 and 11.
13. Hospital Square, from the Anacostia to 19th st. E.
and between B and G sts. S. Total area, 77 a. r. 26 p. On
this square stands the Magazine, Alms House, and new Jail.
14. The Navy Yard, boimded by M st. S. on the N.,
the Anacostia on the S., and lies between the continuation of
6th and 9th sts. E. Total area, 12 a. 3 r. 15 p. On these
grounds are the buildings, doclvs, ship-houses, and works of