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Washington DC History

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City Museum of Washington D.C.

With more than a century of history itself, The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. is a respected and valued city institution. Over the years, countless members, volunteers, donors and professional staff have created a wide range of educational programming, accumulated an impressive collection and developed a strong body of research. With the City Museum, the Historical Society opens its doors even wider.

Washington D.C. Timeline

  • 1600 - Piscataway Native Americans live in the Washington D.C. area
  • 1791 - George Washington chooses the site for the new permanent capital
  • 1800 - The nation's government moves to Washington D.C.
  • 1802 - Congress grants the City of Washington its first municipal charter. Voters, defined as white males who pay taxes and have lived in the city for at least a year, receive the right to elect a 12-member council. The mayor is appointed by the president
  • 1814 - English troops burn the capitol and other federal buildings during the War of 1812
  • 1846 - The Smithsonian Institute is established
  • 1862 - Slavery is abolished in Washington D.C. during the Civil War
  • 1888 - Washington Monument opens to the public
  • 1906 - The District Building, on 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes the official City Hall
  • 1914 - Ground is broken for The Lincoln Memorial
  • 1943 -The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated
  • 1952 - The Reorganization Plan of 1952 transfers to the three commissioners the functions of more than 50 boards
  • 1961 -The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution gives citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote in presidential elections
  • 1967 - The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is created through a compact between the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia
  • 1973 -Congress approves the District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization, which establishes an elected mayor and a 13-member council
  • 1978 - Congress approves the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, which would give District residents voting representation in the House and the Senate. The proposed constitutional amendment was not ratified by the necessary number of states (38) within the allotted seven years
  • 1982 - After the constitutional convention, a Constitution for the State of New Columbia is ratified by District voters.
  • 1984 - The District enters the municipal bond market
  • 1986 - Congress approves an amendment to the District of Columbia Stadium Act of 1957, which authorizes the transfer of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium from the federal government to the District of Columbia government
  • 1987 - The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is created to acquire Washington National and Washington - Dulles International airports from the federal government, pursuant to P.L. 99-151, The Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986. The authority begins operating the airports on June 7, 1987
  • 1992 -The House of Rep. approves statehood for Washington D.C., but the Senate does not
  • 1992 - Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, the first woman mayor, takes office
  • 1995 - Marion Barry takes office for an unprecedented fourth term as Mayor of the District of Columbia
  • 1995 - President Clinton signed the law creating a presidentially appointed District of Columbia Financial Control Board and a mayor-appointed Chief Financial Officer
  • 1995 - The newly appointed financial control board holds its first public meeting. It is composed of Dr. Andrew Brimmer, chair; and members - Joyce A. Ladner, Constance B. Newman, Stephen D. Harlan and Edward A. Singletary. John Hill is the Executive Director and Daniel Rezneck is the General Counsel
  • 1996 - Mayor Barry announces a transformation plan to reduce the size of government and increase its efficiency
  • 2001 - Terrorist attack destroys part of the Pentagon Building