Washington, DC, became the capital of the United States in 1800. Parts of Virginia and Maryland were combined to make the new capital. Charles L’Enfant created the architectural plan for the city. The federal government is the largest employer, and printing is the biggest industry. Over seventeen million tourists visit the nation’s capital every year. Children could locate some of the many important buildings on a map of Washington, DC.
Washington Monument was completed in 1884. The monument’s cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848, and building began. However, lack of funding and the Civil War stopped work. Then President Ulysses Grant started construction again. It was completed on this day in 1884 and dedicated in 1885. Children can learn more at: Washington Monument.
National Geographic Society was created in Washington, DC, in 1888. Around 33 founding members met at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, to sign the charter. Visit a website at: National Geographic. Children enjoy perusing the National Geographic site for kids at: National Geographic Kids. Do you want an easy activity that combines geography and good, hard thinking? Create a geography ABC: write the letters of the alphabet down on paper. Next to each letter children can write down places that begin with that letter. For example, “A” could list Albania, Alabama, Andes Mountains, Arno River…
Concorde flew for the first time in 1976. A British company and a French company formed a joint cooperation to fund and build 20 Concorde planes. The planes mainly flew from London and Paris to New York and Washington, DC. Flights were expensive, but passengers arrived at their destinations in less than half the usual flight time. Due to less travel after September 11, 2001, and increased costs, the planes were retired on November 26, 2003.
Supreme Court opened its first session in 1790. In that year the capital was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Supreme Court met in what is now Independence Hall. When the capital moved to Washington, DC, no Supreme Court building existed. The Court met in various parts of the Capitol Building and even met in a private home during the War of 1812. Until 1935 the Supreme Court continued to meet in various places. The Supreme Court Building opened in 1935. Children can learn more about the Supreme Court at: Supreme Court
Boy Scouts of America was started in 1910 by William Boyce in Washington, DC. The foundation was the work of Sir Robert Baden-Powell and the British Boy Scouts. Children can learn more about scouting at: http://www.scouting.org/
Mount Rainier National Park became the country’s fifth national park in 1899. Located in the state of Washington, the park is almost 370 square miles. Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is the jewel of the park. Children can visit a website at: http://www.nps.gov/mora.
World Standard Time was accomplished in 1884. The International Meridian Conference met in Washington, DC. The group established the Prime Meridian through Greenwich and established 24 time zones. Prior to that conference, different countries used different times. In the United States, different railroads used different time systems. It was all very confusing! Children can find the time in different cities world wide at: World Clock.
National Gallery of Art opened in 1941 in Washington, DC. President Franklin Roosevelt officiated at the opening. The museum was created in 1937 when a number of wealthy art collects donated many of their acquisitions to become the core of the exhibits. It has a fine collection of artwork, ranging from the medieval period to the present. Children could visit the Internet site, especially the online tours, at: http://www.nga.gov. They could also pretend to be curators for the National Gallery of Art and decide which works of art to add to the collection. They could also view the amazing children’s portion of the website at: NGA Kids.
Cherry trees were first planted in Washington, DC, in 1912. First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda (the Japanese ambassador’s wife) planted the first of three thousand trees. The original trees were a gift from Japan to the United States. Since then, some propagates from the trees have been sent back to Japan. Other propagates have been planted around Washington, DC, to maintain the lineage. Children can learn more at: Cherry Trees.