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Washington DC Misc

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Interesting Tidbits

  • Places Rated Almanac (2000) ranks DC the second-best overall place to live in the U.S. behind Salt Lake City.
  • Gallaudet University began the tradition of the football huddle in the 1890s, in order to conceal their signed plays from the opposing team.
  • More than 100 nations have embassies in Washington, DC.
  • Washington, DC is home to 4,000 psychiatrists.
  • The Washington Monument is 555 feet, 5 1/8 inches tall.
  • 55 percent of Americans believe that DC residents have a vote in Congress.
  • Men's Fitness magazine rates DC the fourth fittest city in the U.S.
  • Washington, DC's U Street neighborhood was once known as Black Broadway and was where Duke Ellington grew up.
  • FamilyFun magazine voted DC the best city destination for family travel in the United States.
  • The Temperance Fountain (located at 7th and Pennsylvania Ave., NW) was built to provide an alternative to alcohol by a prohibitionist dentist in 1880.
  • Washington, DC residents consume more wine per capita than residents of any U.S. state.
  • The National Gallery of Art is home to the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in North America.
  • Past presidential pets have included: macaws (Dolley Madison, Teddy Roosevelt), a raccoon (Grace Coolidge), and a dairy cow named Pauline (Taft).
  • The first official White House Christmas Tree was decorated by Benjamin Harrison and family, defying Puritan traditions.
  • Abraham Lincoln is related through his mother to Tom Hanks and Mrs. Bill Cosby and through his father to Elvis Presley.
  • The National Museum of Health and Medicine displays the bullet that killed Lincoln. The museum at Ford's Theater has the gun. The hat that Lincoln was wearing is on display at the National Museum of American History.
  • Across from Ford's Theater, outside the Petersen House (where Lincoln died), stands the gum tree -decorated with wads of gum deposited by kids who aren't allowed to chew inside the building.
  • Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy who warned him to cancel his evening at the theater; Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln who encouraged him to skip his trip to Dallas.
  • The word lobbyist originates from President Grant's disdain for the interest groups who loitered in the Willard Hotel's lavish lobby.
  • The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception's Chapel of Our Lady of Hope is endowed by Bob Hope.
  • The original name of Washington, DC was Federal City.
  • The Pentagon has 17 1/2 miles of corridors.
  • There is no J Street in Washington, DC.
  • Helen Keller and President Woodrow Wilson are buried at Washington National Cathedral.
  • Movies such as A Few Good Men, An American President, Forrest Gump, Contact, Wag the Dog, and Thirteen Days all filmed in Washington, DC.

Famous Washington D.C. natives and residents:

  • Edward Albee, playwright
  • Billie Burke, comedienne
  • Ina Claire, actress
  • John Foster Dulles, statesman
  • Duke Ellington, musician
  • Jane Greer, actress
  • Goldie Hawn, actress
  • Helen Hayes, actress
  • J. Edgar Hoover, former director of the F.B.I.
  • William Hurt, actor
  • Noor al-Hussein, Queen of Jordan
  • Michael Learned, actress
  • Roger Mudd, newscaster
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton, government official
  • Chita Rivera, dancer and actress
  • Leonard Rose, cellist
  • John Philip Sousa, composer
  • Frances Sternhagen, actress