5 Historical Facts You Didn’t Know About Washington, D.C.

September 14, 2015 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

It is hard to find a city richer in history than Washington, D.C.. From the legislative buildings to the National Monuments to the museums, the city is full of history. But even our nation’s capital is home to some buried facts. Basement bathtubs, a cemetery full of dogs and baseball traditions all have a strange place in D.C.’s history.
The Seventh Inning Stretch Originated In D.C.

There are several claims to the origin of baseball’s seventh inning stretch, but this one counts as the first observation. At an 1889 World Series Game between the Washington Senators and the Pittsburgh Athletics, the sizable President William Howard Taft stood up to stretch his legs. Not wanting to disrespectful, the crowd also rose from their seats, igniting the tradition of the seventh inning stretch.

There Are Bathtubs In The Basement Of The Capitol

In 1936, workers discovered two marble tubs while doing renovations in the basement of the Capitol building. No one knew why or how they got there. A 71-year-old former employee read about it in the paper and offered up his explanation. Six tubs were installed in the 1880s at the request of the sitting U.S. senators. At that time, most of them lived in boarding houses and were unable to have a proper bath. The Capitol was almost the only place in D.C. where one could enjoy the luxury of soaking in a hot bath.

The Congressional Cemetery Is For The Dogs

Founded before the Civil War, the Congressional Cemetery is the resting place for U.S. Senators, House members, military leaders and other prominent people. John Phillip Sousa, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and President John Quincy Adams are all buried at the 208-year-old cemetery. The cemetery is a non-profit and is not owned by the government. In an effort to aid repairs in ailing cemetery, the K-9 Corps developed the off-leash dog-walking program. For a yearly fee members can bring their dogs to roam the 35 acres all year-round. Funds from the memberships go to help maintain and repair the cemetery.

Related: Best Historic Landmarks In Washington, D.C.

There Is A Crypt In The U.S. Capitol

Just below the rotunda in the U.S. Capitol building lies the Crypt. Between 40 Doric columns sandstones floors house 13 statues representing the original colonies and a replica of the Magna Carta. This underground area was originally designed to hold a crypt for President George Washington and his wife, Martha. A marble statue of Washington was to be placed on the main floor above the rotunda next to a circular opening overlooking the crypt. However, since Washington’s wish was to be buried at Mt. Vernon, the hole was closed and the statue was never built. 

Washington Was Saved By A Thunderstorm During The War Of 1812

On August 24, 1814, British troops stormed into Washington D.C. setting anything they could on fire. As the fires raged at the White House, the Capitol and several other federal buildings a massive thunderstorm and tornado descended on D.C. The storm’s two-hour thunderstorm extinguished the fires and kept the British from starting any more. The huge storm produced a tornado that ripped the roofs off buildings and damaged a large bridge. The National Weather Service believes more British soldiers were killed by the storm than by gunfire.

Related: Best Family-Friendly Museum Exhibits In Washington, D.C.

Christa Emmer is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in broadcast journalism. She has experience as a news writer, editor and producer in television news. Follow her on twitter @ChristaEmmer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.