National Geographic : 1931 Nov
VOL. LX, No. 5 WASHINGTON NOVEMBER, 1931 THE NATIONAL G]EOGIAPIHIeC MAGAZhIIE COPYRIGHT, 1931, BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSOCIETY, WASHINGTON, D. C. INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT SECURED WASHINGTON THROUGH THE YEARS On Rolling Wooded Hills and Colonial Tobacco Fields, Where George Washington Dreamed Our Nation's * Great Capital, His Gorgeous Vision Comes True It has been both an interesting and a difficult task to present the composite pic ture of the National City of mellow yesterday and majestic to-day within 1oo pages, when to mirror all of Washington's countless facets would overflow a volume of a thousand pages. Months of careful research and investigation in the separating of fact and fancy underlie this effort, in which we have had the fullest cooperation of several Government branches, and especially the Army Air Corps. That the great plan for the Nation's Capitalshould have been begun by our first engineer President and is being brought to completion by the second engineer Presi dent is evidence of the deathless respect for and belief in the wisdom of the founders of the Nation that characterize the citizens of the United States and their Chief Executives. BY GILBERT GROSVENOR, LL. D., LITT. D. President National GeographicSociety COULD the Father of his Country have been in the aircraft from which sky pictures were made for this article, he would have seen how the capital he founded is growing up. Now, after 142 years, the architectural ideal con ceived by that romantic Frenchman, Pierre Charles L'Enfant, is coming true. Long, wide, tree-fringed avenues sweep the rolling Potomac hills, and stately pal aces of marble and granite rise, just as Jefferson, Washington, and the French artist planned them on paper, when they dreamed of this capital that should some day be. And many Presidents, from Wash ington and Jefferson to Taft, Coolidge, and Hoover, have added stones to its en during structure. Yet, because of its youth, the history of Washington has not been the history of America, as the French say Paris history is the story of France. Florida had more than two centuries of Spanish annals when the site of Washington still formed the tobacco fields of English planters, who packed the leaf in hogsheads and trundled them down "rolling roads" to ships wait ing at Potomac landings; California was a happy land of missions and Spanish cattle kings; New York was a busy city, and Boston and Philadelphia old in culture when Washington was laid out. WHEN WASHINGTON WAS A VILLAGE With no fixed abode, the war-time Con tinental Congress met in eight different cities. Even after Cornwallis yielded at Yorktown, the new government moved about, like a poor relation. George Wash ington never dwelt in the White House.