National Geographic : 1964 Dec
Remapping the Nation's " T IS VERY UNHEALTHY. Few people | would live in Washington, I take it, who were not obliged to reside there; and the tides of emigration... are little likely to flow at any time towards such dull and sluggish water." With these words, written in 1842, the great English novelist Charles Dickens proved him self a poor prophet, as the growth maps of the city (opposite) graphically show. Today's Washington, D. C., with its suburbs, forms a healthy metropolis of more than two million people, and the "tides of emigration" flow so swiftly that this ninth-largest city in the Unit ed States grows fastest of the top 15, currently adding some 70,000 persons a year. With cities, as with men, growth brings change. The National Geographic Society's new double map, Tourist Washington and Suburban Washington, a supplement to this issue of the magazine, faithfully mirrors the dynamic changes in the Nation's Capital.* Printed back to back, the maps form the sec ond sheet in the Society's United States Atlas Series, begun this year. Supplement Timed for January Inaugural The new maps come at a timely moment, as the Nation's attention focuses on the Cap ital; thousands of visitors will soon arrive for the Presidential inauguration on January 20. For them, Tourist Washington will be of greatest interest. On a scale of a third of a mile to the inch, it stretches east and west from the 50,000-seat District of Columbia Stadium, home of the football Redskins and the baseball Senators, to Arlington National Cemetery, marked by the eternal flame over the grave of President John F. Kennedy. North to south it extends from the enlarged Sheraton Park and Shoreham Hotels to Wash ington National Airport at Potomac's edge. Points of tourist interest are featured, in cluding hotels and major theaters. As in the preceding U. S. Atlas Map of New York City (July, 1964), a color code identifies major buildings. The map names fifty of the 112 foreign nations with Washington diplomatic missions; index numbers identify the rest. To assure up-to-the-minute accuracy, the Society's cartographers constructed a base 782 map from a hundred aerial photographs of Washington and its suburbs, then fanned out by car and on foot, checking each detail on the spot. They found some streets obliter ated, new ones laid down, familiar buildings falling to the wrecking ball, others under con struction. Field checking the maps required more than 400 man-hours. On Capitol Hill, both House and Senate oc cupy huge new office buildings. The Capitol itself displays a face lifting, completed in 1961. The East Front, now faced with marble instead of sandstone, has moved forward 3212 feet, adding 21/2 acres to floor space. At the "other end of Pennsylvania Avenue" -the White House area-a new Executive Office Building and Court of Claims take shape, set back from the street to save his toric buildings facing Lafayette Square. Wartime "Tempos" Disappear "Temporary" buildings, erected on the cen tral Mall during World Wars I and II, are coming down. The area south of the Reflect ing Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, for example, now invites strollers with restful grass and trees. To the east rises the Smithsonian's new Mu seum of History and Technology; its exhibi tion halls already fascinate streams of visitors. Since the Society last mapped the Nation's Capital in 1948, five more bridges have been flung across the Potomac, and four over the Anacostia, helping ease rush-hour traffic. To assure its usefulness for years to come, United States Atlas Plate 21 indicates in dashed outline extensive projects not yet built: the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and a $10,000,000 aquari um, both close to the Potomac River. Southwest Washington shows the most rad ical changes in the city. In the throes of urban renewal, the region straddles the all-but-com pleted Southwest Freeway. New apartment houses, townhouses, shopping centers, and Federal buildings dot the area. But the most exciting features of the map are not new at all: the buildings that are the visible signs of America's invisible spirit. *Additional copies of the U. S. Atlas Plate Tourist and Suburban Washington, like the preceding map of Greater New York and Tourist Manhattan, may be ordered at 50 cents a copy by writing to Department 213, National Geographic Society, Washington, D. C. 20036.