In every city in the world there are hidden wonders. Wherever you go there are always places full of curiosities that have been known thanks to documentary makers, historians, photographers or people who have seen the passage of history with their own eyes, or some others who have invented a few stories.
Today we have taken the time to collect 14 curiosities and fun facts that surely you do not know about Washington DC.
1. The Washington National Cathedral has an image of Darth Vader hidden on one side.
The Washington National Cathedral is one of those mandatory stops when you are visiting the capital of the United States, whether you are taking a vacation in the city or you are passing through a Day Trip to Washington DC from New York, you must take some time to appreciate this majesty.
No matter how much you know about modern architecture, the Cathedral architecture and the gargoyles that surround it are pieces that catch the eye of anyone, but once you are there, take some time and look closely at these gargoyles, if you do it with patience you will notice that one of them is nothing more than the face of one of the highest villains in Hollywood, Darth Vader, the character belonging to George Lucas’s Star Wars franchise, whose face has been sculpted there for more than 30 years. I did not believe it until I saw it.
2. Originally, Washington DC was not going to be the capital of the USA
Since 1790, Washington has been the main city of the United States, but before that it was Philadelphia the one that owned that privilege. What happened?
As a result of certain circumstances and the commitment to be made to such a position, the decision to change the capital district was made, because there was not enough confidence in Pennsylvania since the soldiers mutinied there in 1783. On the other hand, The founders, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, had conflicting opinions about the ideal location for the US capital, as Hamilton believed that it should be in the north of the country while Jefferson defended the south, so as political compensation they decided to choose a middle point, which was Washington DC.
Having the title of “capital of the nation” was a commitment that no one wanted to submit to, however, the choice was more than perfect.
3. The White House has its own movie theater
At first the White House had a shelter to overcome the winter seasons, and it is certain that it must have been very useful at the time, but later they decided to change it for a movie theater whose size and exact location are unknown. In this place, former President Jimmy Carter saw 480 films and it is believed that there have been many more than most of the presidents who have lived there.
4. White was not always the color of The White House
Did you know that the White House could have been called “the Gray House”? It is true, originally this palace was built with gray Virginia sandstone, but as a result of the fire caused by the British in the 19th century, the exterior of the White House had to be painted to cover the fire traces. At that time, white was the color chosen for the facade, and the rest is history.
5. The only president who did not inhabit the White House was George Washington
Despite the fact that former President George Washington was the one who laid the first cornerstone in the construction of the White House, in 1792, he never managed to inhabit it since he died before the construction was completed. So the first president to call this palace “home” was John Adams who made it his residence on November 1st, 1800.
6. Washington has a Technicolor Church
How about walking around and seeing a building full of colors on its facade? Surely you will think that it is a gigantic piece of art, and yes, the artist Alex “Hense” Brewer was the person in charge of making the SW neighborhood an art district, as he was recommended to illuminate the blank canvas of the Friendship Baptist Church facade. Its function was to make this building a huge technicolor mural that would also become a community arts center.
On your Washington DC One Day Tour From New York you should take the opportunity to visit and take a photo of this particular place.
7. The Washington Monument has two different colors.
In 1848, during the construction of the marble obelisk located on the west side of the National Mall (the Washington Monument), the Washington National Monument Society ran out of funds, putting the project on hold for a reasonable period of time. 25 years later, the United States Government was in charge of resuming and ending the construction, achieving a successful work that was considered the tallest structure in the world, until the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
Over time and as a result of the effect produced by the weather, rain and erosion, the new marble began to react in a different way than the one that was first used, producing a change in its original color, since it was brought from a different quarry. It has made the lower part of the obelisk look different from the upper half, but it is a detail that you will notice if you look at it very closely.
8. The White House hosted 3 alligators
Once the White House became a wild place as there lived 3 alligators, one of them owned by John Quincy Adams and the other two were by Allan, the son of Hebert Hoover.
9. There’s a statue made of cannons
The statue of Andrew Jackson, at Lafayette Square, is made, in part, of British cast guns left over from the Anglo-American War of 1812.
10. The MLK Memorial was made in China
The great image of Martin Luther King, commemorating this civil rights leader, was manufactured in China by Lei Yixin, the sculpture is made in 59 pieces that arrived in the United States in 2011.
11. The Library of Congress is the largest in the world
With more than 160 million artifacts in its collection and more than 35 million books in the reading room, the Library of Congress has taken credit as the world’s largest library since it was founded in 1800.
The library has 3 buildings, whose names pay tribute to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madisom. There you can find books of high historical value and other really curious ones like the FBI’s secret interrogation manual. It’s fascinating!
12. Washington D.C. is an international city
The city hosts more than 170 embassies and international cultural centers, in fact it hosts international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization of American States (OAS), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
In addition, about 15 percent of residents are foreigners.
13. In Washington D.C. all roads lead to the Capitol
If you’ve heard that all roads lead to Rome, on a day tour to Washington you’ll notice that here all roads lead to the Capitol. Well, this city, being built to house the political axis of the nation, was designed by a French architect who was responsible for giving it a very particular appearance where the central axis is this important governmental entity.
14. The Capitol has some eccentricities
It is to be expected that some of the emblematic buildings of the Capital City of the United States have inside them some eccentricities that surprise and that lead us to think “It will not be much?”. Well, the first is that the White House has 35 bathrooms, 132 rooms, 28 fireplaces, 8 stairs and 3 elevators; but, if this does not surprise you, the second is that in the basement of the Capitol there are marble bathtubs, hand-carved by Italian artists, which used to be used by senators who took a bath after long hours of work.
There are some curiosities and Fun Facts About Washington DC that have astonished more than one since it is a city full of surprises. Surprises that you cannot miss, because they will surely seem incredible to you. Now, if you are visiting the United States make sure you take some time to take a Day trip to DC from NYC, you will not regret it.