Here are some interesting facts about Washington, DC:

  • Both Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams had pet alligators in the White House.
  • The National Cathedral has many gargoyles and one of them is the sculpted head of Darth Vader. Bring binoculars and check him out on the northwest tower.
  • Washington, DC is missing “J” street. The city uses letters instead of numbers for their streets, but because DC was planned before the letter J existed, there is no J street in the city.
  • There are underground tunnels beneath the Capitol. Miles and miles of tunnels are for senators and members of the House only and are never seen by the public.
  • All roads  in the city lead to the Capitol building
  • John Adams was actually the first president to live in the White House. It was built after George Washington died.
  • There are 35 bathrooms, 132 rooms and 6 levels in the White House. Even more staggering are the 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases and 3 elevators.
  • The statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square (directly across from the White House) was partially made from British cannons that were taken in the War of 1812. It was also the first equestrian statue made in the U.S.
  • The original phone number for the White House in 1878 was simply the number 1. A phone wasn’t installed on the President’s desk in the Oval Office until 1929.
  • The only president buried in DC is Woodrow Wilson, who is entombed at the Washington National Cathedral.
  • Theodore Roosevelt allowed his six children to bring their pets to the White House in 1901. As well as many dogs they had a small bear, a lizard, guinea pigs, a pig, a badger, a blue macaw, a garter snake, a one-legged rooster, a hyena, a barn owl, a rabbit, a pony and Baron Spreckle the hen.
  • During World War I Woodrow Wilson bought a flock of sheep to graze on the White House lawn. Not only did it save the manpower needed for mowing the lawn, they sold the wool to raise money for the Red Cross.
  • Instead of chiseling the “F” in “future,” the letter “E” was mistakenly carved into Lincoln’s second inaugural address on the north wall of the Lincoln Memorial. It has been touched up, but if you look closely you can still see the typo.