Viewing page 26 of 44


who, more than any other single individual, gave us not only our country but our national capital as well.

Unfortunately, after his death there was no driving force, either in Congress or elsewhere, which could carry out his plans for the city's development. The end of the Civil War found it a badly built, straggling town, largely unpaved, with a few streets lighted by oil lamps, and the areas reserved for parks overgrown and neglected. Later President Grant induced Congress to give the city a territorial form of government; and under Alexander R. Shepherd, a man of extraordinary energy, courage and vision, who became Commissioner of Public Works, the city was transformed. He succeeded in grading, paving, and lighting the streets; the old Tiber Creek was inclosed in a sewer; and thousands of trees were planted, thus laying the foundation for that growth of trees which is now one of the glories of Washington. During this period, one great work, the half-built Washington Monument, was carried to completion in 1884. But the Mall, on which it was placed, had never been properly developed; and throughout the entire city the effect for which Washington and L'Enfant strove was entirely lacking.

Such was the condition of the nation's capital in 1900, when the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the seat of government in the District of Columbia was celebrated. At the invitation of President McKinley a meeting was held in the White House attended by many high officials of the Government and by the members of the American Institute of Architects then meeting in Washington. Interest in the L'Enfant Plan was revived;
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact