In honor of my travels this weekend to Washington, D.C., I thought I’d throw a few fun facts about the local your way.
- DC averages 39 inches of rainfall a year—more than rain-soaked Seattle.
- The first official White House christmas tree was decorated by Benjamin Harrison and family.
- Gallaudet University began the tradition of the football huddle in the 1890s in order to conceal their signed plays from the opposing team.
- The U.S. government is based in DC, but the city is run by a mayor and the city council. The mayor and the city council members are elected to four-year terms.
- The District of Columbia was named after Christopher Columbus.
- The White House was being built while George Washington was in office, so he never actually lived there.
- The famous red phone that’s depicted in many movies isn’t actually in the Oval Office—it’s in the Pentagon.
- The Library of Congress, the biggest library in the U.S., contains 535 miles of bookshelves. In the Reading Room alone there are 45,000 reference books.
- Woodrow Wilson is the only president to live in Washington, DC after his terms in office.
- There are no skyscrapers in DC. Many people believe that this is because of a law saying that the Capitol was to be the tallest building in the city. In fact, the fire department put limits on building heights in 1894 because their firefighting equipment couldn’t reach high enough to keep tall buildings safe. Congress later set limits on the heights of buildings in DC, 90 feet for homes and apartments and 110 feet for office buildings. In 1989, the Height of Buildings Act was passed, ensuring that the city skyline wouldn’t be dominated by skyscrapers.
- There is one building taller than the Capitol, the Cairo apartment building, located at the corner of 16th and Q Streets, NW. It was built before the laws were passed limiting the height of buildings. It stands 165 feet tall.
- DC was voted the most walkable city in the U.S. in a study by the Brookings Institution in 2007
Facts Courtesy Of