July 4, 2022 [LINK / comment]
Although the main objective of my trip to Washington two weekends ago was to see baseball games, I did take the time to see various historic buildings and other landmarks. On Saturday morning I drove across Rock Creek Park in the upper northwest part of the city, and spent a while at the visitor center. It is full of stuffed animals and birds of every kind. Then I stopped at the Howard University Hospital, hoping to see the historical placque indicating where home plate of Griffith Stadium used to be, but the person at the front desk told me that no visitors are allowed inside on weekends. So then I drove along Florida Avenue toward the southeast, passing Ben's Chili Bowl on H Street NW, and then stopped at Lincoln Park, which is about a mile east of the Capitol. I was prompted in part by reports that the District of Columbia government is trying to have that monument removed, on the grounds that it portrays the slave being emancipated as demeaning. It's a shame that some people see it that way. When I read that the original funding for that statue came from former slaves who wanted to express gratitude to President Lincoln, my eyes got teared up. On the east side of that park is a monument to Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), an African-American teacher and civil rights activist. For more on Lincoln Park, including the life of Ms. Bethune, see nps.gov.
Next I drove west toward the U.S. Capitol, and I was lucky to find a parking place along a side street only about three blocks away. I approached the Supreme Court building, bathed in sunlight on the east side since it was morning. It has probably been over 35 years since I last walked through the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Ever since the wave of protests following the leak about the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, including harrassment and threats aimed at the conservative justices, security at the Supreme Court building has been beefed up considerably. There is now a heavy steel fence around the entire perimeter, a sad commentary on the divided state of our nation.
I was hoping to get into the U.S. Capitol visitor center, as a consolation for being unable to get an online ticket to take a tour of the Capitol itself, but apparently the visitor center is only for those who have an advance registration. The next available date is in August, but most folks could probably get a pass from one of their senators or representatives. I knew the visitor center was underground, but was surprised by what a big staircase there is descending to the entrance. It was built about ten or fifteen years ago, I think. So, I just walked around and took photos, mingling with all the tourists and imagining the horror that unfolded on the west side of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. There were a few barriers and security measures in place, but overall not as much as I had expected.
Finally, I took a look at the ornate Library of Congress main building, just southeast of the Capitol. It has a greenish copper dome that is unfortunately only visible from a distance, so this photo doesn't really do it justice. One of these days I'm going to go inside and see about doing research there.
These are just a few of the 20 or so new photos from the past few months, including scenic shots of mountains and flowers in bloom, that can be viewed on the Chronological (2022) photo gallery page.