9 Interesting Facts About Washington, D.C.

Who loves D.C.? WE love D.C., and we have for the 50 years we’ve been leading student tours there. Our nation’s capital is where the history and government you’ve heard about in school come alive. But there are a lot of interesting facts that you may not know!

  • Woodrow Wilson is the only U.S. president buried in Washington DC. He is entombed at the National Cathedral.
  • Speaking of the National Cathedral, nestled amongst the many gargoyles, if you look closely enough, you’ll find the sculpted head of Darth Vader. Bring your binoculars for this one, you can find it in the northwest tower.
  • There’s a typo at the Lincoln Memorial! If you look closely on the north wall you can see the letter “e” instead of the letter “f” in “future”. Despite the touchups, you can still see the error.
  • The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with a collection of more than 160,000,000 objects. It contains 535 miles of bookshelves, and the Reading Room alone houses 45,000 reference books.
  • Think George Washington was the first president to live in the White House? Think again! John Adams was the first president to live in the White House. It was built after Washington’s death.
  • The grid of D.C. streets includes numbers and letters…but no “J” Street. There are many legends about why, but most experts say it simply looked too similar to “I” and was left out.
  • You can read the top-secret FBI interrogation manual at the Library of Congress. The manual is a copyrighted document and that means is must be made available to anyone with a library card.
  • One of the once unknown soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery has been identified. In 1998, DNA testing confirmed the identity of the remains of Air Force member Michael Joseph Blassie. He was removed from the tomb to be buried with family, but the empty tomb remains.
  • The oldest fish market in the United States is in Washington, D.C. The Maine Avenue Fish Market opened its doors in 1805.

There’s so much more to learn! A trip to D.C. is just the start.

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