Talk:Washington, D.C./Archive 1

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Merge with DC article

This page should be merged with District of Columbia. - 13:44, 30 Sep 2002 . . Ram-Man

District of Columbia 22:34, 7 Nov 2002 . . Ram-Man (merged everything to Washington, District of Columbia) - Recording merge. - Patrick 10:04, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Becoming a state?

I heard somwhere that DC has now and then thought of becoming a state. Is this true? - fonzy 04:59, 1 Oct 2003

There is a fairly strong movement for DC statehood among the 'intellegentsia' of the city, and they have gotten a DC statehood slogan printed on the district license places (taxation without representation, I think ?).
Oops, the article already covers this :)

Oversight board

In the late 90's Congress appointed an oversight board, which took control to some degree over the government, with the intention of imposing fiscal reform. This ought to be mentioned in the historical notes section, I suggest.

Metro area reference

So why does the metro area reference deliberately use backwards terminology ? "Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area" Truly I cannot guess :)

When the metro area was defined by the Census Bureau as a CMSA, it was named with DC first because Washington is bigger (and, the theory went, more important). I remember some minor controversy about it at the time. Many people tend to get the order confused because their speech patterns are set by BWI airport. Remes 21:10, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Actually, Baltimore is a rather larger city than Washington. But Washington's where the people who control the Census Bureau budget are. - choster 17:51, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, Baltimore City is a more populous jurisdiction than DC (by a little less than 100,000 people), but DC is the indisputable core of the combined stat area. A conservative definition of NoVA puts its population at 2 million (plus), and none of those people are culturally or economically attached to Baltimore. PGC and MC constitute another 1.6 million, and the overwhelming majority are attached to DC. You can slice up Howard, Frederick, Washington (County), Anne Arundel, Charles, Spotsylvania, and eastern West Virginia to get the rest of the DC MSA (closing in on 5 million), which is certainly the bulk of the CSMA. Informally: Harford County doesn't look like Fairfax, the MARC trains are focused on DC, and DC isn't running an ad campaign in Baltimore to lure commuters to its more-affordable neighborhoods. Baltimore City is more populous than DC; but DC sprawl is the bulk of the CSMA.

Sites of interest

The Old Post Office probably ought to be on the (sites of interest) list, at least if this is the wikipedia tourism guide, because it provides a spectacular view from the bell tower :)

yes ive been there before. (although the tourgide sucked) Greenmountainboy 22:24, 21 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Hey, its in now! Maybe you added it :)

There really should be a map of USA with Washington,D.C. highlighted. How could anyone now where it is? I think that the city is in north-east, but I'm not sure.

Origin of "Columbia"

Can anybody explain why it is called "District of Columbia"? What does it have to do with Columbia? - sanders_muc

From Columbia:
Columbia shouldn't be confused with Colombia... The name "Columbia" is/was a poetic name for the United States of America, which largely fell out of use in the early 20th century.
Does that help? Hajor 05:22, 11 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The name "Columbia" is derived from Christopher Columbus, and was pretty popular throughout the country for a while. I believe the naming of Columbia University was part of this trend, was the Columbian Exposition, etc. --Dablaze 17:15, Aug 25, 2004 (UTC)


I can help with this maps for Washington, DC as I work for the city of Washington in the GIS section. We make maps, and do spatial analysis. Any requests let me know.

The quadrants

The article states,

The district is divided into four "quadrants," North East, South East, North West and ostensibly South West. The latter does not really exist, as it was ceded to Virginia...

While the remaining area of Southwest isn't very large, it certainly exists. That area south of The Mall and west of South Capitol St. (e.g. Waterfront, Bolling AFB) is pretty substantial. Gyrofrog 05:32, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I fixed it. Thanks for the heads up. :) --Golbez 06:04, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Uhm, doublecheck a map, there is a Southwest quadrent; it's much smaller than the rest of the quadrents, but it exists.

Technically on the image that is shown that quadrant boundaries are incorrect. As the qaudrants really run along the streets (East Capital St, North Capital Street and South Capitol Streeet) and curve.

You are correct.
The new image shows the quadrants as they run along the Capitol streets.

"DC" vs "Washington area"

I just reverted a couple changes because they were incorrect. First, the city of Washington and its suburbs may be referred to as "the Washington area" but never simply "Washington," and residents simply use "DC" for the metro area in contrast with "the District" for the city of Washington. I've never heard anyone say just "Washington" when they mean the Maryland or Virginia suburbs, but DC is used for that all the time. Second, the Department of Defense is not an independent agency. It is a Department of the Executive Branch. Postdlf 07:08, 31 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I changed "DC" to "Washington" as a reference to the area because as a 10-year resident of the Washington area I have never heard the term "DC" used to refer to anything but the District while "Washington" is often used to refer to the region although "Washington area" is most often used to avoid ambiguity. This makes sense since "the District of Columbia" refers to a real legal entity with specific boundaries while "Washington" does not. Eg. the former "Washington National Airport" which is actually in Virginia.
You're correct about the Defense Dept. Polynova

As a native Washingtonian I can tell you that nothing gets us riled up faster than a suburbanite from Maryland or Virginia saying they're from DC. No qualms if they say they're from the "DC metro area" or something like that.

First pic in DC article

I think the aerial view of Washington DC should be the first pic, with the satellite photo in the geography section. WhisperToMe 19:27, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Be bold. [[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 19:58, 2004 Aug 15 (UTC)

Wikipedia screwup

For some reason the first link in the "Demographics" section seemingly can't be made to work. If you know what's wrong, please help. Thanks! 22:08, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Done. The external site link right before it in the previous section was missing a bracket. Postdlf 23:49, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Nice update. !!!!!!!!!

Washington Ave.

There is a Washington Ave just southwest of the Capitol: Yahoo! Map.

I removed the reference to it not existing. Can someone verify that all 50 states have namesake streets? I suspect that this is true but can't be sure. Ohio has Ohio Drive, but no avenue I believe. Polynova 02:23, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There are 48 state avenues, one state drive (Ohio Drive in West Potomac Park), and one state street (California Street in Kalorama / Adams-Morgan.) There is also a Puerto Rico Avenue near CUA. --Browncat 04:54, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

100 mi²

This is untrue a portion of the virginia land is still in DC The area that is called the National Mall was Virginia Land. posted by

The anon does not know about colonial boundaries, their is no part of the current national mall that is or was ever a part of Virginia. By law, which i can not quote at the moment, but can be found on and good map, the state of Maryland effectively has control of the whole of the Potomac river that it shares a border with state of Virginia, with the exception of the current section of the river that lies within the area between the District and Virginia. The state line between VA and MD starts at the average tidal line on the land Side of Virginia, an issues which has been under dispute for various reasons since colonial times, i believe it lies in the land charter for Maryland. With this being the case cannot be possible for any part of the mall to have been a part of Virginia during the time the District was seceded from the 2 states. --Boothy443 | comhrÚ 22:17, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The article previously read, "It was initially 100 mi² (260 km²)." This isn't accurate. DC is 10 mi. on each side but the original boundaries had the City of Alexandria cut out of it which was never part of D.C. If someone knows the actual original size of the city, could they please add this info to the article. Polynova 00:55, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I always had it in my mind while living there that it was 64 sq.mi. --Golbez 04:45, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC) DC is actually 69.9 sq Miles.
Alexandria was part of the District from 1801 (when Congress formally accepted the land Virginia ceded for the federal district) to 1847 (when the Virginia portions of the District were retroceded to Virginia). The City of Alexandria wasn't part of the District only because it wasn't chartered as a city until 1852, after retrocesion. Carter 15:20, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I thought (trying to recall my history of washington education here; been ages, could be wrong) that the District never really claimed Alexandria; it was ceded land in both Maryland and Virginia, but never really took on the Virginia land, and simply returned it later on. The original plan was 100 sqmi, but I question if it actually ever took on that size. --Golbez 16:54, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
Alexandria and Georgetown were preëxisting towns within the land ceded for the District; they along with Washington City (the new federal city layed out by l'Enfant), Washington County and Alexandria County made up the 10 mi². The Virginia side wasn't built up as part of the federal district (which is part of why it was returned to Virginia), but it was taken under the control of Congress. The stone boundry markers deliniating the original District are in place on the Virginia side of the river, the same as they are on the Maryland side. Carter 17:12, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Okey dokey. I always forget that towns (like Georgetown) actually existed within DC before it became the monolith it is today. --Golbez 17:29, Oct 8, 2004 (U

Presidential politics

Any particular reason why D.C. is so overwhelmingly Democrat? I mean, Kerry got nearly 90% of the vote here.... Evercat 18:32, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It's a company town. That company is the government. And Democrats grow the government. Furthermore, it's 60% black, which is over 4x the proportion of the general population, and blacks tend to vote Democrat. It's also very poor in many areas. Why does any major urban area go overwhelmingly Democrat? --Golbez 18:47, Nov 19, 2004 (UTC)
However, to go SO MUCH (90%) in favor of the Democrat IS odd, and I don't know why. --Golbez 22:00, Nov 21, 2004 (UTC)
I have to question your logic. Under Bush the government has grown faster than any other recent administration. If I was a government bureaucrat who wanted to keep my job, I would have gone with Bush. The highly educated tend to be Democrats, and DC Metro area has the highest ratio of residents with BAs, MAs and doctorates. Most of the long-term residents are blacks, who have been Democrat since the Civil Rights movement, and poor. The non-Black population actually within the District tends to be young (lots of students, young idealists and politicos looking to get a start in a career), since the older folk have more money and live in the suburbs where they can afford their own houses. BanyanTree 04:44, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
You are welcome to question one aspect of my logic, and then parrot everything else I said. :) --Golbez 06:55, Nov 22, 2004 (UTC)
I was just a bit confused when you stated reasons why DC votes Democrat, and then asked why DC votes Democrat, so figured repeating your points might convince you.  :) Anyway, going along with john's point below, according to the numbers on the USA Today page, San Francisco County went for Kerry with 80%, King County (Seattle) with 65%, DeKalb Country (metro Atlanta) with 72%, Cook County (Chicago) with 70%, etc. Given the points we keep repeating about how DC's differences make it more Democratic than other urban areas, 90% is remarkable but not inconceivable. BanyanTree 07:50, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

This state ment below is untrue DC is about 40 % white 45% black the rest is either biracial or of Latin desecent

Note that Manhattan, which is very considerably whiter than DC (Manhattan is 55% white, as opposed to 28% in DC), votes nearly as overwhelmingly Democratic as DC does. Philadelphia, which is 45% white, is also overwhelmingly Democratic (80%, I think, this year). Boston is 58% white and voted 78% for Kerry. DC is somewhat more Democratic than these places because it has a considerably higher minority population. The question of why all large northeastern cities vote overwhelmingly Democratic is rather a broader one, no? john k 06:46, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Merging from District of Columbia (geography)

I'm going to begin merging District of Columbia (geography) into this article. I'm going to move the Physical Geography section across, delete the Neighborhoods section (placing it here for reference) and replace it with the District of Columbia (geography) Municipal geography section.

Finally, I'll put a notice on the source page that it is being merged into Washington, DC Geography Section. That will leave on the source page the intro paragraph, the history section, and External Links.

Neighborhoods (old subsection)

Washington includes many distinct and historic neighborhoods:

Done. I've moved the source page's External Links to become a subsection of Geography. Perhaps it should be a subsection of External links (eg External Links/Geography). The Neighborhood list needs some beautifying, but I'll let people review these changes first.

Considering that "Washington, D.C" is already quite large, is it really advisable to merge the geography material back iknto the main article? Why not just rename District of Columbia (geography) to Washington, D.C. geography? —choster 19:09, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Requested Move discussion

The following discussion was held on WP:RM.

Washington, DCWashington, D.C.

  • Move to standard rendering of name. [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality/talk]] 01:50, Dec 15, 2004 (UTC)
  • That's a tough one. Standard according to whom? The postal abbreviation is DC, and people would probably rather see "New York, NY" than "New York, N.Y.", and certainly not "Tampa, F.L." But, of course, D.C. is also an initialism, and not merely a postal abbreviation. Can you cite a reference that states the D.C. is considered the official nomenclature? --Golbez 19:54, Dec 15, 2004 (UTC)
    • Most people who follow style manuals and prefer formal usage would rather see New York, N.Y. Omitting the periods from state abbreviations is questionable usage; Chicago Manual of Style permits it for D.C. now (whereas dropping them was formerly unacceptable), but this is controversial. I don't know where the traditional state and territory abbreviations are recorded in law (or even if they ever were put into law), but they date to an era when dropping the periods simply was not done at all in English. It's essentially a question of following trendy, business- and military-style usage (no periods) or adhering to the traditional formal usage (with periods). (There is, BTW, no F.L.; the traditional text abbreviation is Fla., while the postal code is FL.) —Tkinias 08:40, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Intuitively, I'd agree, but the official District of Columbia government site at consistently uses "DC," even in non-postal contexts. --LostLeviathan 02:26, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Agree with move. DC stands for District of Columbia, as a former resident of the city, it was always "D.C." as taught in school growing up. Alkivar 02:42, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Agree. D.C. is the abbreviation; DC is the postal code. It is common in sloppy usage to substitute postal codes for the traditional abbreviations (and, unfortunately, Federal Government Web sites are not known for their good usage of the English language). It's a bit like U.S.—dropping the periods just isn't acceptable in formal usage, even if one writes, for example, NATO.Tkinias 08:40, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. While "D.C." is the correct abbreviation, common usage overrides correctness. Dictionaries do not tell us how to use a word; they tell us how the word has been used in the past, and what the most common usage was at the time the dicitonay was written. Language, though, is more fluid and dynamic than anything written. So, while "D.C." may be correct, it has fallen out of favor and has been supplanted by the more common "DC". - UtherSRG 14:51, Dec 17, 2004 (UTC)
I hope not many people who work on this encyclopedia really believe that a modern dictionary doesn't provide help on proper usage of a word, or that common slang usage trumps proper usage. After all, is this supposed to be the Gettopedia or a free Brittanica-style encyclopedia? —Mike 22:12, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. I don't see the traditionally correct form "Washington, D.C." as having been "supplanted". Here on wikipedia there are many hundreds of articles which link to the traditional form. Jonathunder 22:54, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)
  • Support. Common usage is so close to the correct form that it will not confuse. Timrollpickering 13:36, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. D.C. is the correct form, and I don't think DC is so hugely popular that it should be given preference. Wrong is wrong, even if it's popular, and I really don't think it's that much more popular than D.C. Beginning 19:28, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. For reasons previously given by others. —Mike 22:12, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. DC is ever-increasingly common, and I don't think it can be considered "wrong", and Wikipedia policy clearly has common usage a dominent factor ?(Naming conventions). If dead-tree dictionaries actually reflected current usage 100%, they would have accepted "their" as a gender neutral pronoun long ago. Wikipedia also routinely uses US and UK instead of U.S. and U.K., also reflecting common usage. I have worked as a writer, and am very careful to write differently in different contexts (i.e. my emails are full of things like "enuf" and "tho'", but I'd never use those in formal correspondance, and thus not in Wikipedia articles). But I do use DC, US, and UK in Wikipedia articles. If it's good enough for the "Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation"[1], I think it's good enough for Wikipedia. Most of the arguments for "D.C." are the same as for "New York, New York", but the article has been moved to the very informal/slangy "New York City". Move NY back, and I'll drop my opposition. Niteowlneils 05:50, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the reasons I stated above. If the DC government says it's DC ( ), and common usage is roughly split, then we absolutely must keep the name as DC. One would expect the popular usage to gravitate toward the government usage over time. Furthermore, if one does a Google search for "Washington, D.C." (this search actually allows either D.C. or DC, because of Google's parsing) the first several results (including the official tourism site ) use DC, both inside and outside of postal contexts. --LostLeviathan 21:20, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Yet another pointless quibble about orthography. --[[User:Tony Sidaway|Tony Sidaway|Talk]] 13:33, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. Becuase it's the correct way. Nelson Ricardo 18:40, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose after the fact. I belive that this is a bad move, if we are going to start "dotting" DC then we mine as well do it for every other state, country and territory out their. I dont thinkt its a matter of it being "proper usage" as it is whats used in the modern lexicon of language today. Also if we are going to start doing this, it pratically says that every anagram should be "dotted" as well. I would support a motion that would revert it back to the more common usage of DC then the cunt form that it is in. And for those that consider it slang, the use od DC, then we should just really go to the official name, City of Washington, District of Columbia.--Boothy443 23:57, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Anonymous users are not able to vote. Neutralitytalk 23:51, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)
  • Oppose after the fact as well. For all the reasons articulated by others above. - B Sveen

Diagonal avenues & nicknames

This statement: " the avenues provided a method of defense with good sightlines if the city should ever come under siege or invasion from a foreign power" sounds apocryphal me. Wouldn't broad straight avenues be advantageous to an invading power? They didn't seem to thwart the British in the War of 1812. A likelier explanation is that L'Enfant was immitating the broad avenues of Paris like the Champs-Élysées. If I remember Les Misérables correctly, the revolutionary government cut these wide avenues to add rationality to a chaotic, medieval street layout and to prevent people from barricading the streets. I think I remember hearing that for these long, straight streets gave Washington the nickname the "City of the Long Vista" or "View". Does anyone really call it that? What about "City of Trees," another supposed nickname that I've heard? So many questions. --Polynova 02:35, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)

L'Enfant indeed mimicked Paris with his layout, and I've never heard of the defense notion, and I agree, it would seem that broad avenues would assist an attack, not a defense. --Golbez 04:42, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)
Huh- I'd always thought Paris wasn't really Paris until Napoleon III and Hausmann - it was like a typical old European city with narrow streets and allies and all that. Which would be well after L'Enfant's time. Washington was definitely influenced by Paris, but I'd suggest that this comes a lot more from the later 19th century, when most of the current city was actually built, than to L'Enfant. But I'm not sure on this. john k 05:30, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The chap who initially mentioned that said that Versailles might have been a more accurate inspiration; what do you think about that, is that more possible? --Golbez 14:41, Dec 29, 2004 (UTC)
  • Remember, it is important to see the city at this time through the eyes of a 18th Century person, especially in a nation that had just emerged from a war of independence from its mother-land. In 18th century military terms, it was easier to use broad sight lines. When fighting a battle in a strict grid (city layout), it is difficult to move defenses into place AND maintain a strategic eye on the surrounding area. Think about it - this is why the best forts used bastions (diamond shaped projections), not perfect square or or round towers which have blind spots that the enemy can hid in. Angled Avenues perform that same function as Bastions by increasing site lines. [Fort Adams (Rhode Island) defining Bastion]
  • As for Polynova's comment on the sight lines not helping in the British invasion during the war of 1812, that would because their was a belief that if the British were going to attack, they would attack Baltimore because it held greater riches than Washington, which at the time wasn't a growing and thriving place - So the city wasn't prepared for the invasion.[[User:Stude62|"[[user:<stude62>|" and "]]".]] 19:51, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Good enough for me. :) --Golbez 20:06, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)

Height limit?

I've always heard that the height limit is a gentleman's agreement; yes, the tallest buildings in the district are 10-13 floors, but this means most people assume that no building may be taller than the US Capitol. In fact, the way I've heard it, the law actually states no building may be taller than the Washington Monument, and simply that no one has decided to be the first to build taller than the Capitol. There are several hundred feet difference between the Capitol and the Monument, so this is a major difference.

Has anyone else heard this? --Golbez 05:06, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)

This is a widely believed urban legend. Before skyscrapers, no legal height limit was necessary of course. When the Cairo apt. building on Q street was built, local were shocked by its height. I think it's about 13 stories tall. Emergency legislation went into place that limited all new buildings to about 11 or 12 stories. This law is still in place with few modifications. The actual height limit varies depending on the width of the street the building is on, but it is always much lower than the Capitol. Because of the varying elevations in the city, many buildings rise well above the Capitol, but that building is by far the tallest, not counting the Wash. Monument of course. Considering the value of downtown office space, no gentleman's agreement would keep a developer from building a 100-story building if the law allowed it. --Polynova 15:40, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)
Fair enough, thanks for clarifying it. I think the tallest building, by pure altitude, in the city, other than the monument, is the National Cathedral, but I could be wrong. --Golbez 18:48, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)
I'm nearly positive its the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Mostly because of the steeple. Steeple Height: 327 ft. Wiki: Washington Monument: 555 ft. Cathedral's Central Tower: 301 ft. I know for a fact all three are frickan tall, and that both the Cathedral and the Basilica on hills in DC. Each link gives the architecture page from their respective sites. I would still bet that the Cathedral is on a higher hill, at least 20 feet higher the hill in Brookland, uh, i'm conciding that point this evening. ah, legends from school. --Evesummernight 05:50, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
Ah, but the cathedral, in addition to being quite tall, sits more or less atop the city's highest hill. Doops | talk 06:07, 17 July 2005 (UTC) (edited back in by --Evesummernight 06:16, 17 July 2005 (UTC))
Quoting eversummernight: "ah, legends from school" — well, I guess it depends on where you went to school! :) Incidentally, given that the capitol is only 288 feet tall, it looks like both the cathedral's central tower and the basilica's campanile have it beat. (And they're both relatively recent in date too.) It looks like exceptions are made from time to time ... suggesting that the rules really are about mundane zoning rather than the romantic "taller than the capitol" story I've always heard. Doops | talk 07:02, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
i went to catholic u, ergo. minor bias here and there... now, in many other case and many other places, steeples doen't add to the height of a building. and again, according to lore, the basilica's tower stops below the capitol but the steeple goes above it. *shrugs* i'll go ask some architecture majors back at school if they know something about this. --Evesummernight 15:26, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
In his book Best Addresses, James Goode discusses the issue of height, going back to the Cairo. But I must add that part of the concern at the time was not height, but fire safety; the District couldn't guarentee sufficient water-pressure and equpiment necessary to fight a fire in overtly tall buildings. Some Apartments built from the 1920's on use the technique of a "sunken" lobby in order to squeeze out an additional floor - the lobby isn't in the first floor in many of these building, but rather on the ground floor (and in some cases, its called the "terrace" level!).Stude62 19:33, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • While it doesn't speak to the origins of the code, the relevant regulations can be found online. Key excerpts include the following, from District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition, Division I § 6-601.05:
a) No building shall be erected, altered, or raised in the District of Columbia in any manner so as to exceed in height above the sidewalk the width of the street, avenue, or highway in its front, increased by 20 feet; but where a building or proposed building confronts a public space or reservation formed at the intersection of 2 or more streets, avenues, or highways, the course of which is not interrupted by said public space or reservation, the limit of height of the building shall be determined from the width of the widest street, avenue, or highway. Where a building is to be erected or removed from all points within the boundary lines of its own lots, as recorded, by a distance at least equal to its proposed height above grade the limits of height for fireproof or noncombustible buildings in residence sections shall control, the measurements to be taken from the natural grades at the buildings as determined by the Mayor of the District of Columbia.
(b) No buildings shall be erected, altered, or raised in any manner as to exceed the height of 130 feet on a business street or avenue as the same is now or hereafter may be lawfully designated, except on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue between 1st and 15th Streets Northwest, where an extreme height of 160 feet will be permitted. ...
(h) Spires, towers, domes, minarets, pinnacles, penthouses over elevator shafts, ventilation shafts, chimneys, smokestacks, and fire sprinkler tanks may be erected to a greater height than any limit prescribed in this subchapter when and as the same may be approved by the Mayor of the District of Columbia;...
Prior Codifications 1981 Ed., § 5-405; 1973 Ed., § 5-405.
The guidelines for measuring the building is defined at DC ST § 6-601.07:
For the purposes of this subchapter the height of buildings shall be measured from the level of the sidewalk opposite the middle of the front of the building to the highest point of the roof. If the building has more than 1 front, the height shall be measured from the elevation of the sidewalk opposite the middle of the front that will permit of the greater
- choster 18:50, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

Omissions in History section

The History section has no mention of emancipation, desegregation, or the riots of 1968. These are major events in the history of D.C. which should be in this article. Is anyone familiar enough with these topics to write about them? --Polynova 00:30, Jan 6, 2005 (UTC)

I think the history section about the War of 1812 could really be more in depth, specifically about the US retaking the city, if anyone is knowledgeable. Tkessler 02:52, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)
I don't think the Americans did retake the city, did they? Rather, the British Army simply left--it was a raid, not an invasion. Certainly the language of the article as is--giving specific starting and ending dates for the "expedition"--seems to me to imply that at the end of the given period, the British simply marched out.Binabik80 05:00, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Binabik80 is right; the British marched in, burned the place, and then retreated. There was no occupation or retaking of the city. See Burning of Washington Carter 14:35, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The article being overweight to begin with, I created a new History of Washington, DC article. I added a quick mention of emancipation and the riots, but obviously more work is to be done, including trimming more out of the text in the main article. - choster 23:08, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Censorship on wiki. No murder mention for DC

Untrue DC is not the mureder capital that is wrong

Wash. DC is also the murder capital of USA. Avg. life expectancy of afro male population is 44.2 years due to gun violence. Three blocks from the White House there are daily shoot-outs and security on public streets is non-existent. Wash DC is as bad in crime as Johannesburg in South Africa.

None of these facts are mentioned in the Wiki article, which is an obvious case of censorship. Great shame.

Why don't you add the statistics yourself?

I'm no defender of Washington but incidentally, it doesn't have a lock on the title of "murder capital." Detroit, Baltimore, Memphis, and Chicago have all vied for the honor in the last ten years or so. -choster 16:45, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Back in the early 1990s, DC was indeed the murder capital. However, violent crime rate has plummeted in the past 10 years. There are a number of neighborhoods that you couldn't dare me to enter five years ago, but now I would gladly live, work, shop, etc. with little concern about crime. The author of the initial comment is also correct in pointing out that this article was lacking information about crime. There should definitely be some discussion of crime and changes that have taken place in recent years. Thus, I have added a section about crime, beneath the Neighborhoods section. - --Aude 20:19, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the additions, now people can form an up-to-date opinion about the crime issue!

The statistics mentioned in the 'Crime' section really need to be cited. There is an accurate external link for criminal statistics within the District, but there is no citation for any of the numbers mentioned in accordance within neighboring counties, particularly Prince George's. A quick Google search revealed that neither PG County nor the State have up to date statistics available online. Unless these numbers are cited they should be removed. Tkessler 16:01, Mar 19, 2005 (UTC)

Please check out the external links at the end of this article that provide these statistics and more detailed information about crime in the DC area. --Aude 01:53, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Right, I saw those, I was refering to the statistics on crime in areas outside the District (like PG County, which is not mentioned in the District's crime statistics page. Tkessler 04:58, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)

Information and statistics about 2004 homicides in suburban counties, including PG county, is readily available from the Washington Post in articles, particularly the one cited here. As for the 35 homicides in PG county thusfar in 2005 that someone added to the article - that number definitely sounds accurate as it seems there's a homicide in PG county every other day. I bet you can fact check that number in some recent Washington Post news article. Please feel free to research that and improve upon this part of the article. --Aude 23:37, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Done - changed the PG county number from 35 to 33, with a citation. Good advice ;-) Tkessler 22:58, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)

Link to missing image

I removed the foll bec the image was missing. If anyone can find the image or fix the link, please do. "

Aerial photo of Washington, DC

" Nurg 04:57, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Gun Control

What wording do you have in mind?

I'm fine with the article as is. I'm summarizing at the end chronologically what happened. Gun control was passed --> Extremely High crime rates --> Still has high crime rates

That is a neutral comment.

--Nyr14 18:11, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

I don't think the current phrase:

:'After gun control was passed, crime went up. Despite the gun control in Washington D.C. it still has one of the highest crime rates in the country.'

is very well structured. Perhaps 'Despite Washington's current gun control policies, crime remains high within the city.' More importantly, the preceding paragraphs make exactly the same point, for example:

'Critics of these rules have pointed out that despite these measures , the district continues to have high levels of gun-based violence.'

Thus I think Nyr14's phrase should be removed. Finally, the Gun Control Paragraph describes the 80s crime wave as cocaine-induced, but I think it was really crack-induced (I know that they are similar). Does anyone agree? Tkessler 20:18, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Re: crack vs. cocaine, I believe I've heard that as well--i.e., crack, not cocaine. Meelar (talk) 20:21, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I have to claim the blame for that one — I really shouldn't have written that sentence without educating myself about the difference between cocaine and crack cocaine. Please go ahead and fix it., whoever's in the know. Doops 20:23, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Nyr14, could we please have a source to back up your oft-repeated point that violent crime hasn't declined since the gun control ban? Assuming that you've been claiming this is good faith, I've left it in the article for now; but I'd really feel better with a source. Thanks. Doops 20:23, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The most restrictive ban in DC is the handgun ban which went fully into effect in 1977 [[2]]. The previous year had 188 murders. Since then, every year except for 1979, had more murders. Almost every other crime has gone up as well.

  • Violent crime peaked in 1993 with 16,888 violent crimes.
  • Property crime peaked in 1981 with 53,442 property crimes.
  • Robbery peaked in 1981 with 10,399 robberies.
  • Aggravated assault peaked in 1993 with 9,003 agravated assaults.
  • Burglary peaked in 1981 with 16,832 burglaries
  • Larceny-theft peaked in 1982 with 33,435
  • Motor theft peaked in 1995 with 10,193 thefts of motor vehicles
  • Murder peaked in 1991 with 482 murders.


Rape has gone down since 1976. However, it still remains high as there were 273 forcible rapes in 2003. [[4]]

Also, it's not only gun critics that see gun control as having no effect on crime.

I have yet to hear of a murderer who has said, "I guess I can't murder with this gun anymore because using this gun would be against the law."

--Nyr14 21:23, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Well, as long as you're OK with the current revision. That's one article down, one article to go; I invite all interested parties here to go to Talk:National Rifle Association. Meelar (talk) 21:36, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

I never said I was alright with it. The current revision says "Nonetheless, opponents of gun control make the point that, when all is said and done, levels of violent crime did not decrease when gun control was put in place."

This is a vast understatement: crime went up; I want to add the stats I cited above, and rewrite the last sentence to say something more like this:

"After gun control was passed, crime went up. Despite the extremely restrictive gun control in Washington D.C. it still has one of the highest crime rates in the country."

Apologies. I've changed "did not decrease" to "peaked after gun control was put in place". Is this better? Meelar (talk) 21:43, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Can we add statistics?

--Nyr14 21:46, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

I've changed it to "Nonetheless, opponents of gun control make the point that, when all is said and done, levels of violent crime peaked in 1993 with 16,888 violent crimes, well after gun control was put in place."
Better? Meelar (talk) 21:52, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

It is better. How about the last sentence being: "Washington D.C. still remains the United States' Murder Capital."

--Nyr14 21:57, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

I disagree, especially because DC is no longer universally considered the murder capital. Meelar (talk) 22:07, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

What about: "To this day, Washington D.C. still has some of the most restrictive gun control laws and the highest murder rate."

No, I think it's good as is. That sentence seems intended to show a particular POV, but is not attributed as such, and merely restates what was in the last sentence. Meelar (talk) 22:20, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

The current last sentence only adresses violent crime but not the fact that Washington D.C. still has the highest murder rate in the country.

--Nyr14 22:30, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

What if we changed the sentence to "Nonetheless, opponents of gun control make the point that, when all is said and done, murder rates peaked in 1991, with 482 killings, well after gun control was put in place."?? Meelar (talk) 22:32, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

I think we should address that this is still an issue. 1991 was a fairly long time ago. I liked violent crime, but I also think we should have a point that DC "beats" everyone when it comes to murder.

--Nyr14 22:37, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

New revision: "Nonetheless, opponents of gun control make the point that, when all is said and done, murder rates peaked in 1991, with 482 killings, well after gun control was put in place, and that murder rates, though lower than earlier, are still higher than in many other cities." Meelar (talk) 22:42, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Again, this is a vast understatement. DC has the highest murder rate.

--Nyr14 22:44, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Also, it feels like one big, sloppy run-on sentence that would be more gramatically correct as two seperate sentences.

--Nyr14 22:46, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

I'd really appreciate a citation on that; they've dropped significantly in the past years. Anyway, here's a revised version, which can be easily changed pending evidence on the murder rate: "Nonetheless, opponents of gun control make the point that, when all is said and done, murder rates peaked in 1991, with 482 killings, well after gun control was put in place. Murder rates, though lower than earlier, are still higher than in many other cities." Meelar (talk) 23:04, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)


--Nyr14 23:08, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

That study is for 2002. In 2004, there was a dropoff--the Washington Times reports that DC had the third highest murder rate for large cities in 2004 (see "When Revenue Trumps Safety", Wash. Times, Jan. 15, 2005). Meelar (talk) 23:17, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

How about, "Washington D.C. continues to have one of the highest murder rates in the country."?

I made some small gramatical changes and cited the source of the national murder average.

--Nyr14 23:19, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Also, nearly every fact I have presented has been contested. I would like to see some data or a study done supported the contentions made about sociologists and the crack cocaine craze.

--Nyr14 23:21, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

The 2003 FBI UCR crime statistics credit (#1) Gary, Indiana with the highest per capita homicide rate, followed by (2) East Chicago, Indiana (3) New Orleans (4) Camden, New Jersey (5) Richmond, Virginia. So, DC is definitely not the 'murder capital'. Furthermore, the number of homicides in DC has dropped drastically from 482 in 1991 to 248 in 2003, and 198 in 2004. However, the 2003 per capita homicide rate for (8) DC - along with (9) Baltimore and (10) Detroit - is still among the highest in the U.S. Thus, I think both Meelar and Nyr14 have valid points. --Aude 23:30, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Obviously, the Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a chat room; and our only goal here is to present as fair and accurate a picture as possible. My personal opinions, just like those of Nyr14, have no relevance whatsoever. That said, however, I can't resist pointing out to Nyr14 the fallacy in his/her argument. When he/she writes "Also, it's not only gun critics that see gun control as having no effect on crime. ... I have yet to hear of a murderer who has said, "I guess I can't murder with this gun anymore because using this gun would be against the law." he/she makes the mistaken assumption that all murders are intentional and carried out by hardened criminals. In reality, many murders are committed by seemeingly "law-abiding" citizens against a family member, friend, or neighbor. Other gun homicides, furthermmore, are "accidentally" committed in the course of a robbery or mugging when the criminal gets "spooked"; arming the victims may actually make the situation more dangerous rather than less. (I would rather feel victimized and survive than go out in a blaze of macho glory.) In short, as a resident of Washington DC, I honestly feel safer knowing that only criminals have guns than I would if every apparently peacable citizen I passed was armed.

But again, that's neither here nor there. Our opinions are not the point here. Doops 23:48, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Why do you think crime is so high in DC? Is it perhaps because criminals know that their victims are not armed? That sure makes it easier to rape someone (or commit another crime). A rapist in DC can rest assured that his next victim is completely defenseless thanks to DC's gun control. As hitman Sammy Gravano once said, "Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins."

All gun control does is make criminals jobs safer.

--Nyr14 23:57, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Well, on a philosophical level, I have to disagree — I think protecting the innocent is more important than confronting the guilty. But on a more practical level, your argument continues to rest on unsubstantiated scare tactics. Sad to say, the bulk of DC's high crime rate is located in a few "bad" neighborhoods, the haunt of gangs and drug dealers. In those neighborhoods, criminals can't be confident their victims are unarmed. The fact is, deterrence, although a popular thing to talk about, is really a red herring; almost by definition, a criminal expects to get away with his/her crime.
Actually, all these 'deductive' arguments based on what seems logical to you or me, although fun, aren't really that valid. Inductive reasoning from data is much more relevant; the problem is (as I'll explain in a moment) that it's hard to interpret. Doops 00:09, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Doops, I also agree with you on your statement. I also like to point out how also Nyr14's comments are misleading. In his statement he attempts to link all violent crime as gun related crime, which is false. Where as violent crime with a gun involved makes up a significant percentage of violent crime it does not make up such a percentage of crime to say that all violent crime is related to gun crime, an idea that Nyr14 seems instant on promoting. According to the U.S. Department of Justice- Bureau of Justice Statistics, which defines violent crime as Murder, Rape, Robbery, and Assault:

In 2003, 24% of the incidents of violent crime, a weapon was present.

Offenders had or used a weapon in 45% of all robberies, compared with 11% of all rapes/sexual assaults in 2003. Homicides are most often committed with guns, especially handguns. In 2002, 51% of homicides were committed with handguns, 16% with other guns, 13% with knives, 5% with blunt objects, and 16% with other weapons.

In each of 12 cities surveyed in 1998, victims said that less than half of the violent crimes involved a weapon. [6]
Though these statistics do not pertain to Washington but as to the country as a whole, they do refute the claims made by Nyr14. While I do agree that crime is a problem it Washington, as it is the case in many cities in the United States and throughout the world, it should be noted, as it is, that trends have shown over the past several years crime rates have declined. Where or not this is the effect of gun control legislation or not is purely speculation.
I also would have to say that based on the contents of Nyr14’s edits and additions, that while he has provided some pertinent information and has pressed for clarification of the present information, he has tried to insert a political agenda, that represents his POV, into the crime section of this article. --Boothy443 | comhrÚ 00:25, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I was basing it off of murders. "Homicides are most often committed with guns, especially handguns. In 2002, 51% of homicides were committed with handguns, 16% with other guns, 13% with knives, 5% with blunt objects, and 16% with other weapons." [7]

Gun control's purpose is to curb crime which it hasn't done in D.C.

BTW, You can't be neutral on a moving train and I'm sure you are for gun control. (--Nyr14)

This is the nub of the problem. Although it is theoretically possible to be agnostic on gun control I will be the first to admit that most people interested enough in the subject to edit this article have an opinion. Yes, I support gun control; that's perfectly fine....yes, you oppose it; that's OK too. The problem is that you don't seem to believe that it's possible, or at least almost possible, for somebody with an opinion to do his/her level best to write in a neutral and unbiased manner. Once you've spent some more time around the Wikipedia you'll see how hard we all try to be fair.

I'm sorry that I let myself get drawn into an unproductive argument here on the talk page; but please believe me when I say that although my comments on this page may serve to further my arguments, I try very hard to make sure that my edits to the article itself further no particular cause except that of encyclopediety. If they seem one-sided, that is simply because I (along with other editors) have been focused on countering your not-quite NPOV edits. Doops 00:56, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Doops talked about "Protecting the innocent". How many innocent people do you think protect themselves with a gun per year? How many people could protect themself in DC if the laws allowed it? Criminals don't obey laws, so why do you think a criminal will obey a gun control law? Regular citizens (potential future victims, however, do obey the laws and are put at risk.

"The problem is that you don't seem to believe that it's possible, or at least almost possible, for somebody with an opinion to do his/her level best to write in a neutral and unbiased manner." Never said that. I just want to see proof of "high rates of poverty, unemployment, and drug use" and "Some sociologists and economists believe that crime rates frequently seem to be more tied to social and economic factors than to legislation." Every contention I have made, I have had to document. None of those aforementioned contentions are documented though.

--Nyr14 01:06, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

Documentation is a good thing, and the more of it we can get the better. Our concerns with your edits, however, have not rested on matters of documentation (with which you've done an admirable job) but on matters of POV phrasing. At least in the beginning, your tone was pretty blatant. I'm sorry we've jumped on you so much about this; it seems to me that your most recent edits have taken a more measured tone. Doops 01:18, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Statistics are really the most valid way to consider gun control or any other issue. The problem is, it's hard to have a valid "control" group. If gun control was passed in 1977, it might well be misleading to compare 1978 with 1976 since there are many other variables which could make those years different. Likewise, you can't necessarily compare one city with control vs. another without it, since (again) those cities could well be different in a variety of ways. Comparing the city to the countryside, obviously, is completely invalid.

So if we want to know if gun control is working in DC, we have to ask did violent crime increase slower/decrease faster than in other cities with comparable socioeconomic demographics, once we've controlled for any one-time idiosyncrasies? Your statistics above don't offer nearly enough context to analyze this. Doops 00:15, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The following cities have extremely restrictive gun control:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Washington D.C.

Do you know what else they all have in common?

High murder rates (at least that's what the FBI statistics say). [8]

--Nyr14 00:18, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

Be careful of confusing causes and effects. Doops 00:38, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This is how it happened: Gun control was passed, murder rates went up.

--Nyr14 01:29, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

The question is not whether rates went up or down, but whether they went up less than / went down more than comparable cities without restrictions. (Although it will be hard to find comparable cities, considering that the list has the nation's three biggest cities in it. That's the problem with statistics in social science — there's too many variables which are hard to control for.) Doops 02:04, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The city of Austin, TX (the capital of Texas which has lax gun laws-you only need a permit to carry a handgun [9]) is larger than Washington D.C. but only has a murder rate of 3.65 murders per 100,000 inhabitants (population of 685,784 with 25 murders for 2002). In 2002 D.C. had 264 murders (Over ten times as many murders in comparison to the larger city of Austin) and had a population of 570,898. The murder rate was 46.25 murders per 100,000 inhabitants (over twelve and a half times Austin's rate).

The problem is not my use of statistics but rather your lack of them. And a lot of the things in the article still need to be referenced. [10]

--Nyr14 11:10, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

Again, although you've done a great job of finding references, I'm not yet totally convinced that you appreciate the difficulty of interpreting them. What we're trying to avoid is "anecdotal evidence" which is exactly what these Austin numbers could be seen as — superficially impressive but without any real guarantee of meaningfulness. Absolute size isn't what matters, for example; it's density, quality of education, socioeconomic health, and so forth. And of course there remains the possibility that if crime got out of hand in Austin the city council might impose gun control — showing again the difference between cause and effect. Anecdotal evidence isn't good science.
At any rate, you're right that I haven't been as dilligent as you at finding external references. That is because I'm not a full-time gun-control obsessive. I only got involved in this whole mess because I live in DC and so I noticed the changes to that city's page. If you look through my edit history you'll see that I have a long record of involvemnt in a wide range of articles; and before this week I never even visited the gun control or NRA articles, let alone edited them. You, by contrast, seem to be a single-issue editor; and (at least in the beginning) you were quite unabashed about pushing your POV on the article pages. That's what rubbed us all the wrong way. Statistics and references are really a side issue which can be dealt with at greater leisure; and POV language needs to be reverted right away so as not to damage the Wikipedia's reputation for fairness.
Still, it's only fair to take your skepticism seriously: so please remind us what statements of ours you would like to see documented, and we'll try to find sources for them or explain why they don't need support. Doops 15:30, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

In regards to me being a single issue editor that is because I just joined and haven't had too much time to edit articles. I have edited gun related topics because I feel as if I know a lot on the subject. Regarding my POV, I didn't know about wikipedia's policies and after I read through the NPOV Tutorial I understand it better and agree with it.

Things that need to be substantiated:

  • "Washington is one continuous urban area with high rates of poverty, unemployment, and drug use"
  • "Some sociologists and economists believe that crime rates frequently seem to be more tied to social and economic factors than to legislation."
  • The "crack cocaine craze of the 1980s"

Also I would like to change the last sentence to:

"Washington D.C. still has one of the highest murder rates in the United States."

--Nyr14 17:51, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

Hi; I'm sorry for my extended absense. It's been a busy weekend for me.
  • The first point is common knowledge, and I don't think it needs any justification. Furthermore, most of these points have already been made elsewhere in this very article.
  • Off the top of my head, the first example I can think of from this school of thought is Steven Levitt. There's an interesting article about him here. But I'm pretty sure that the crime/economic link is pretty common, not to say nearly universal among economists — after all, that's why they became economists in the first place. Nonetheless, instead of going out there and finding more sources, I'm just going to reword all this since this is not the gun control article. This is the Washington D.C. article and should address its subject as efficiently as possible.
  • OK, so I was a little wrong about this. It was the crack cocaine craze of the early 80s. See the cocaine article; if you don't think that article substantiates it enough, ask for references on its talk page.
Again, sorry for the delay. Doops 05:08, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Religion section

The religious affiliations of the citizens of DC are:

  • Protestant: 68%
  • Roman Catholic: 16%
  • Other Christian: 1%
  • Other Religions: 3%
  • Non-Religious: 7%

Those add up to 95%. —mikko (speak) 22:13, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)


This page looks great - has anyone thought to list it on WP:FAC? There are a few wrinkles (some better images; consolidation of choppies sections of prose; references) but these should be easy to deal with, I should have thought. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:04, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Take a look at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/New York City/archive5 and comments "Object. Not complete or fully comprehensive yet." and "Object. It's quite good, but still could do with a little bit of work. Several sections are overly short. Several others are in list form, and probably could be converted to prose. " I think those comments might apply in the case of this article, as well.

For example, Landmarks simply as a list, somehow seems inadequate to me. Also, the list of local media doesn't seem as important, and could be shortened - perhaps into a separate article. Particularly, the list of television stations seems unnecessary and not all that important. Radio stations - perhaps something such as mentioning WHFS turning into a latin music station signifies something about broader demographic changes and is worth mentioning. As well, with the list of neighborhoods separated into its own article (I think a fine idea), the article is now lacking mention or brief blurb about some key neighborhoods such as Adams Morgan, U Street/Cardozo, Georgetown, Anacostia, etc.

Furthermore, I think the Washington DC article needs a few more pictures. Maybe, I can help in that regard.

Just my two cents here, but think the article needs to be further improved before listing it on WP:FAC. Also, bear in mind article length. --Aude 20:11, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Excellent feedback, thanks. Separating the lists out into new main articles, with a {{main}} reference and a short summary here, is a good idea. Someone else will have to say whether it is comprehensive enough, and add the missing info: not my city, I just thought the article looked pretty well worked up. Article length is less of a concern these days, although separating parts into separate main article should help! Perhaps WP:FAC was too ambitious - WP:PR first? -- ALoan (Talk) 20:21, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

article relevance & usage

As a graduating college senior I looked into this article as a repository of great coverage and links to outside information on D.C. It seems to me that in this day and age of relocating, subletting through websites, and short term stays in foreign cities that Wiki's hold a special place. This is where current, relevant, balanced reporting can be found and used to make sound judgements. Where else can one find current statistics, GIS maps, local media, and the coupling of a huge scope with very detailed information under each category. This entry was very useful for me in my research and work in relocating to D.C. Has anyone else had similar experiences? Gbshore 12:48, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

"White House" Naming

According to the article on the White House, the story that the phrase "White House" became associated with the president's residence after it was repainted following the burning of Washington is an urban legend, "confirmed" by Snopes. Would there be any objection to removing this bit from this article?--SFBADanceDude 01:07, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Constitutional problem

The Congress shall have power...To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States (US Constitution, Art I Sec 8)

According to the data sheet on the article page, the area of the District of Columbia is 68 square miles. If that data is correct, doesn't that cause a constitutional problem? How does Congress account for the additional 58 square miles? Pmadrid 18:15, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It says "ten miles square" not ten square miles. (10 mi.)²=100 mi². Hence, D.C. could legitimately expand another 32 square miles. --Polynova 19:58, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)

Unincorporated territory?????

Since when is the District of Columbia unincorporated territory. It is very much an integral part of the territory of the U.S. and is unlikely to ever be relinquished. I have removed that statement. olderwiser 00:07, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)

Steepest street?

Does anyone know what the steepest street in the city is? I'm guessing it might be 35th St, NW in Georgetown, but I'm not sure.

If you want to add that info to an article, Geography of Washington, D.C. would probably be the place to do it. -Willmcw 20:39, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)

I'm actually not sure if that is correct--thats why I am asking here.

When was the name decided, and by whom?

I checked the History of Washington, DC article and every other place, but couldn't find any specific statement, affirmative or denying, about whether the future capital got its current name already in the earliest stage of planning, during the search for the land, in some political debate, or sometime later (eg. was renamed after G.W.'s death). Neither have I found any evidence about who proposed that name, or who made the final decision. I suppose this could be something every local boy and girl knows, but for the sake of all the others Earthlings, someone could mention it explicitly. After all, it could be of some interest, whether G.W. made a decision to found a town by his own name or not. I think at least the date could be included in this article, too (besides the History). --Oop June 30, 2005 22:12 (UTC)

According to the names "Columbia" and "Washington" were chosen by the three commissioners Washington appointed to acquire land and prepare for the city's development. NARPAC quotes a 2001 Washington Post article on the matter which includes Madison and Jefferson in a similar account, taking place September 8, 1791.- choster 30 June 2005 22:41 (UTC)
I added some info based on this website. --Polynova June 30, 2005 23:38 (UTC)
Many early references were to the "Federal City." Also, I believe that until the 20th century or so, mail was still addressed to Washington, DC -- or Georgetown, DC -- or Tenleytown, DC -- or suchlike, as though "Washington" were just the downtown. Doops | talk 06:13, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Some people still use "Georgetown, D.C." But Washington City, Georgetown, and Washington County were all merged into one entity by Congress in 1871. Carter 08:28, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Serious Problems with this Article

1. First the easiest problems to fix: Advice to tourists to stay West of the Capitol, or 14th Street, or 16th Street (the article is contradictory) is misleading, offensive and ultimately useless for the tourist. Do we really care that in 2001 babysitters refused to cross some street? Tourists tend to stay in touristy areas, regardless of their racial makeup, and I would argue that there is a lot more for a tourist to see or do in Eastern Market or Anacostia than there is in, say, most of Upper Northwest. Moreover, safety warnings -- especially these, which seem motivated mostly by fear of racial minorities -- do not really contribute to safety given the extreme rarity of any sort of violence directed against tourists. As a visitor in Washington, you are not more likely to be victimized in DC than you are in any other major urban area, and I think a simple reminder to obey common-sense safety practices should be more than sufficient.

2. The History and Politics section needs to be completely rewritten. Vast segments of DC history are ommitted, others are misunderstood or glossed over. There is very little comprehension of DC's racial politics, the effects of the New Deal, or of the growth of the vast suburban areas in Maryland and Virginia.

3. The Economy section is also flawed to the point of uselessness. It makes no mention of the professional communities in the Washington area independent of the government, nor of DC's role as the hub of one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, nor of demographic trends, nor of anything else of much value.

Serious Problems with this Article

1. First the easiest problems to fix: Advice to tourists to stay West of the Capitol, or 14th Street, or 16th Street (the article is contradictory) is misleading, offensive and ultimately useless for the tourist. Do we really care that in 2001 babysitters refused to cross some street? Tourists tend to stay in touristy areas, regardless of their racial makeup, and I would argue that there is a lot more for a tourist to see or do in Eastern Market or Anacostia than there is in, say, most of Upper Northwest. Moreover, safety warnings -- especially these, which seem motivated mostly by fear of racial minorities -- do not really contribute to safety given the extreme rarity of any sort of violence directed against tourists. As a visitor in Washington, you are not more likely to be victimized in DC than you are in any other major urban area, and I think a simple reminder to obey common-sense safety practices should be more than sufficient.

2. The History and Politics section needs to be completely rewritten. Vast segments of DC history are ommitted, others are misunderstood or glossed over. There is very little comprehension of DC's racial politics, the effects of the New Deal, or of the growth of the vast suburban areas in Maryland and Virginia.

3. The Economy section is also flawed to the point of uselessness. It makes no mention of the professional communities in the Washington area independent of the government, nor of DC's role as the hub of one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, nor of demographic trends, nor of anything else of much value.

Major Reorganization

Just finished somewhat of a major reorganization for this article, which hopefully organizes things much better and makes it easier to read. I've followed examples from other featured articles, such as Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky, as well as Chicago (currently a FAC). The article now follows the general order as such:

  • History (still need to largely rewrite this, as well as the linked article)
  • Geography and Climate (mostly migrated from separate Geography article)
  • People and Culture
    • Demographics
    • Landmarks and museums (no longer a list, but written out)
    • Media (also largely written out instead of listed)
    • Performing arts
    • Sports
  • Economy (still needs serious editing; did not really touch this part)
  • Infrastructure
    • Local Government (Fed Gov't is mentioned at the very beginning, with links to other articles on the US Govt)
    • Schools (links to lists of schools, but section is now written out)
    • Transportation (roads, airports, metro)
  • Sister cities
  • See also (basically, this contains links to all of the lists of things associated with the city; neighborhoods, past mayors, etc. I also put the Crime section in a separate article and linked to it from here, as well as a see also link in the Demographics section).
  • External links (cleaned this up a bit, and moved several link lists to other articles, like history and crime). Dr. Cash 04:34, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion regarding [[: regarding [[:{{{1}}}]]]]! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. Meelar (talk) 13:37, July 29, 2005 (UTC)

D. C.

upon reading section zero on this page it wasn't clear to me that D. C. stood for the District of Columbia, I think this needs to be stated explicitly. —Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 04:02:53, 2005-08-10 (UTC)

I learned as a kid that it stood for De Capitol.

O.k., I'll go back to sleep now. Bunthorne 06:09, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

I-270 and I-295

Under Roads, I-270 is mentioned. Does it pass through DC somewhere? 15:32, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

No. It starts at the beltway and heads northwest, entirely within Maryland.--Polynova 16:02, August 19, 2005 (UTC)
I've now removed references to I-270 and other interstates that don't enter D.C. --Polynova 16:08, August 19, 2005 (UTC)

Under Roads, the description of I-295 could be interpreted such that I-295 is a one-way road ("I-295 comes up from the south starting at the eastern edge of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the Beltway and crosses the Anacostia River into downtown, linking up with I-395."), especially by readers outside the USA. Would the following alternative be any clearer? "I-295 connects downtown DC at I-395 on the north with the Beltway at the eastern edge of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the south." 20:08, 29 August 2005 (UTC)


I didn't notice any mention of the Black Entertainment Television studios in DC. Could someone who knows more about it add a line or two?

Your will is my command. I've added the reference to the Media section. --Polynova 03:14, September 2, 2005 (UTC)