James Renwick, Jr began work on the original Smithsonian Institution building in 1847. Renwick’s design was inspired by western European structures originally built in the 1100s, making this Gothic Revival building look like a castle. When construction began, the Mall was quiet and the Smithsonian building was isolated from the city Washington. When it opened in 1855, the Castle housed the first museum on the Mall.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

James Renwick, Jr began work on the original Smithsonian Institution building in 1847. Renwick’s design was inspired by western European structures originally built in the 1100s, making this Gothic Revival building look like a castle. When construction began, the Mall was quiet and the Smithsonian building was isolated from the city Washington. When it opened in 1855, the Castle housed the first museum on the Mall.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


In 1791, President Washington appointed Thomas Johnson, Daniel Carroll, and David Stuart commissioners to supervise the planning, design, and construction of the new capital city and surrounding federal district. They oversaw the survey and land acquisition of the district, and were responsible for approving a modified version of Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s city plan.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

In 1791, President Washington appointed Thomas Johnson, Daniel Carroll, and David Stuart commissioners to supervise the planning, design, and construction of the new capital city and surrounding federal district. They oversaw the survey and land acquisition of the district, and were responsible for approving a modified version of Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s city plan.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


Three-quarters of a century of a century after the founding of the city of Washington, Dr. Joseph Toner, an amateur historian of the District of Columbia, decided to find out who had owned the land of the nation’s capital before the city was established. He created a map which showed the boundary lines of property holdings, labeled with the name of the landholder. This portion of Toner’s map shows the boundaries on the land that became the National Mall, with plots owned by David Burns, Daniel Carroll, Notley Young, and Ben Oden. The map was drawn in 1874 but depicts the area circa 1792.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

Three-quarters of a century of a century after the founding of the city of Washington, Dr. Joseph Toner, an amateur historian of the District of Columbia, decided to find out who had owned the land of the nation’s capital before the city was established. He created a map which showed the boundary lines of property holdings, labeled with the name of the landholder. This portion of Toner’s map shows the boundaries on the land that became the National Mall, with plots owned by David Burns, Daniel Carroll, Notley Young, and Ben Oden. The map was drawn in 1874 but depicts the area circa 1792.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


In 1930, the Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission selected Leo Friedlander to design a pair of statues representing war. Lack of funding because of the Depression delayed the project until 1935, when it was decided to use bronze instead of the more expensive granite. Friedlander completed his models by 1938, but by then, bronze became a critical war material and the project was again delayed. Finally, in 1949, the Italian government offered to cast the sculptures as a gift to the United States in thanks for post-war aid. The statues were dedicated in September 1951.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

In 1930, the Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission selected Leo Friedlander to design a pair of statues representing war. Lack of funding because of the Depression delayed the project until 1935, when it was decided to use bronze instead of the more expensive granite. Friedlander completed his models by 1938, but by then, bronze became a critical war material and the project was again delayed. Finally, in 1949, the Italian government offered to cast the sculptures as a gift to the United States in thanks for post-war aid. The statues were dedicated in September 1951.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

widelyknown-washington-monument
widelyknown-washington-monument:

‪#‎TBT‬ The view from the #WashingtonMonument in 1918, BEFORE the #LincolnMemorial was completed and construction began on the Reflecting Pool.
Did you know the area where the Navy Barracks and Munitions Building used to reside is now Constitution Gardens? #NationalMall #DC by nationalmall http://instagram.com/p/tYIdIqjJ-E/

And some of those buildings remained through the 1960s!

widelyknown-washington-monument:

‪#‎TBT‬ The view from the #WashingtonMonument in 1918, BEFORE the #LincolnMemorial was completed and construction began on the Reflecting Pool.

Did you know the area where the Navy Barracks and Munitions Building used to reside is now Constitution Gardens? #NationalMall #DC by nationalmall http://instagram.com/p/tYIdIqjJ-E/

And some of those buildings remained through the 1960s!


First known as the Old Brick Capitol, this building served as a a temporary meeting place for Congress after the burning of the US Capitol during the War of 1812. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the building became a prison. Confederate soldiers and spies, insubordinate Union officers, and several conspirators in the assassination of President Lincoln were imprisoned here. In 1929, the building was demolished, and the current U.S. Supreme Court building was constructed on the site.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

First known as the Old Brick Capitol, this building served as a a temporary meeting place for Congress after the burning of the US Capitol during the War of 1812. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the building became a prison. Confederate soldiers and spies, insubordinate Union officers, and several conspirators in the assassination of President Lincoln were imprisoned here. In 1929, the building was demolished, and the current U.S. Supreme Court building was constructed on the site.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

Why is the National Mall called a Mall?

The term “mall” originally meant a place where people played pall-mall, a game similar to croquet. By the mid 1700s it had come to mean a tree-lined park where people went to walk and socialize. In the 1790s, the Commissioners of the District of Columbia and Andrew Ellicott used the term to refer to L’Enfant’s planned “Grand Avenue” between the Capitol and the Potomac. During the 1800s, it was sometimes called a “mall” but also just “the public grounds.” The term “Mall” became the accepted name in the 1900s. In 1902, the McMillan plan officially described it as “The National Mall.”

Find out more at Histories of the National Mall.


This 1860s photograph shows the Capitol dome under construction, with the Botanical Gardens and canal in foreground. In the 1860s, the Capitol dome was not yet complete. The city’s canal system connected the Anacostia River to the Potomac by flowing west from the Anacostia along the Mall, emptying into the Potomac. The mucky, watery landscape added to the impression that the Mall was built on a swamp.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall

This 1860s photograph shows the Capitol dome under construction, with the Botanical Gardens and canal in foreground. In the 1860s, the Capitol dome was not yet complete. The city’s canal system connected the Anacostia River to the Potomac by flowing west from the Anacostia along the Mall, emptying into the Potomac. The mucky, watery landscape added to the impression that the Mall was built on a swamp.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall


This elm tree, called the Jefferson elm, is one of the original 300 elm trees planted on the National Mall in the 1930s. At the same time these trees were planted, Dutch Elm disease appeared in the United States and infected native American elms. Although many of the original National Mall elms succumbed to the disease, the Jefferson elm is resistant. Scientists with the National Arboretum and Department of Agriculture study this tree and have cloned it to help renew the population of American elms. One of the cloned trees, a propagar, was planted at the White House in 2006.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

This elm tree, called the Jefferson elm, is one of the original 300 elm trees planted on the National Mall in the 1930s. At the same time these trees were planted, Dutch Elm disease appeared in the United States and infected native American elms. Although many of the original National Mall elms succumbed to the disease, the Jefferson elm is resistant. Scientists with the National Arboretum and Department of Agriculture study this tree and have cloned it to help renew the population of American elms. One of the cloned trees, a propagar, was planted at the White House in 2006.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


The DC Latino Festival first began in 1970 as a neighborhood celebration of the diverse Latino community within Washington. Growing each year, the Festival moved to the Mall in 1989 and has also been held on Pennsylvania Avenue. Today the festival, also called “Fiesta DC,” is a large event featuring a parade and pavilions for arts and crafts, education, food, and embassy representatives.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

The DC Latino Festival first began in 1970 as a neighborhood celebration of the diverse Latino community within Washington. Growing each year, the Festival moved to the Mall in 1989 and has also been held on Pennsylvania Avenue. Today the festival, also called “Fiesta DC,” is a large event featuring a parade and pavilions for arts and crafts, education, food, and embassy representatives.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.