Updated: Jun 18
Washington DC was founded in 1791, and a lot of history has happened since! DC Tours and Transportation is the first choice for visitors looking to learn a little more about our nation’s capital. We are a small veteran-owned business that has been serving the DC area for over 20 years. Our tours are entertaining, educational, and fun for the whole family! Book a tour with us to learn more about this fascinating city. Keep reading for some fun Washington DC facts and trivia.
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Facts About the White House
1. George Washington is the only President who never lived or worked in the White House.
2. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wasn’t always called the White House! Early in American history, the famous building was also called the President’s Palace, the President’s House, and the Executive Mansion. President Theodore Roosevelt gave the beloved building its official name in 1901.
3. The original White House was burned down by British soldiers during the War of 1812.
4. Staffers have five hours to completely redecorate the White House – with new furniture, art, and even paint – every Inauguration Day.
5. The White House is allegedly haunted! Winston Churchill, First Lady Grace Coolidge, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands all claimed they saw Abraham Lincoln. (Other prominent ghosts include Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and a “Thing” that terrified President Taft’s staffers.)
Arlington National Cemetery Facts
1. National Memorial Day ceremonies began in Arlington National Cemetery in 1868.
2. The National Cemetery is located on the confiscated estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
3. In 1882, the Supreme Court ruled that the United States had seized General Lee’s estate unlawfully. To avoid moving the soldiers already buried at the site, Lee’s son sold the property to Congress for $150,000 (close to $4 million today).
4. Arlington National Cemetery isn’t just for Americans. Approximately 60 foreign nationals are buried there.
5. The three figures on front of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider represent Peace, Victory and Valor.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Facts
1. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt personally requested a monument honoring Thomas Jefferson in 1934.
2. The Commission of Fine Arts was particularly opposed to the monument. In 1939, they published a pamphlet criticizing both the location and proposed design.
3. Jefferson’s statue is looking towards a statue of Alexander Hamilton that stands outside the US Treasury Building. The two men are locked in an eternal standoff; a fitting monument to the contentious relationship between the two founding fathers.
4. When originally dedicated in 1943, Jefferson’s statue was made of plaster.
5. The Cherry Tree Rebellion of 1938 was sparked by outcry about the proposed construction of the monument, which threatened cherry trees in the area.
US Capital Building facts
1. George Washington laid the cornerstone of the US Capitol Building in 1793.
2. Capitol buildings are connected by a sprawling network of tunnels used by Congress and staffers. Originally, the tunnels were supposed to act as a form of air conditioning!
3. Roving British troops burned down the Capitol in 1814 as part of the War of 1812.
4. On top of the dome of the US Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom. Made of bronze, the statue weighs over six tons.
5. Although no one is buried in the Capitol, a tomb area was constructed for George Washington and his wife Martha. The tomb was sealed, empty, in 1828.
Lincoln Memorial Facts
1. It took over 50 years to get a memorial built. Congress formed the Lincoln Monument Association in 1867, and the monument was finished in 1922.
2. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
3. Lincoln’s arms don’t rest on pillars! Instead, they lie on a different Roman symbol: fasces. Fasces are a bundle of wooden rods that represent governmental power.
4. Initially, Lincoln’s memorial statue was supposed to be 10 feet high. By the time the statue was complete, President Lincoln was a towering 19 feet tall.
5. Lincoln’s fingers are close mimics of the letters A and L in American Sign Language. Whether or not this was deliberate remains a topic of debate.
Washington DC Trivia
Besides history, fantastic sights, and knowledgeable guides, our tours also include trivia! We’ve given you some answers on this page. Keep an ear out for questions you know the answer to and impress fellow passengers with your DC knowledge!
At DC Tours and Transportation, we make sure that you get to explore Washington DC like a pro. We’ve spent 20 years making sure our guests have the best experience possible at our featured sites and locations. Learn the history behind our national capital in style and comfort. Book a tour with us today.