1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Washington (District of Columbia)
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (see 28.349), the capital city of the United States, increased in pop. from 331,069 in 1910 to 437,571 in 192, a gain of 106,502, or 32.2% as compared with 52,351 or 18.8%, in the preceding decade. Of the 1920 pop. 326,860 were white, 109,966 negro and 745 of other races (chiefly Chinese, Japanese, Filipino and Indian). With the entrance of the United States into the World War in 1917 Washington not only assumed new importance among world capitals, but it became the centre from which practically every significant activity in the United States, commercial and industrial as well as military and naval, was directed. Existing Government bureaus were expanded beyond precedent and many new ones were created. These activities brought to Washington within a single year 60,000 new residents, a large percentage of whom remained after the war came to an end. An acute shortage of housing facilities developed, and the Government was forced to commandeer every available building, as well as to construct a number of new ones.
Buildings.—In order to carry on the war work of the Government a number of temporary office buildings for the use of various departments were erected on the Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets. On B Street N.W., between 17th and 21st Streets, two large structures of the factory type, of cement and iron, were erected for the War and Navy Departments. One of the largest buildings in the capital, the Arlington Building, of stone and iron, was erected (1919) on the site of the old Arlington Hotel on Vermont Avenue and H Street N.W. for the use of the War Risk Bureau. Most of the other buildings constructed during the war period were of a temporary character, being designed merely to meet an emergency. Of this class were the Government hotels on the Union Station Plaza erected for war workers as late as 1919 and in use in 1921. There were in all 14 of these emergency buildings, two of which were used for administrative purposes. Among the new permanent buildings were the City Post Office (1914), near the Union Station; the building for the Department of the Interior (1917), occupying the block between E, F, 18th and 19th Streets N.W.; the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (1914), 14th Street between C and D Streets S.W.; the Treasury Department Annex, on Pennsylvania Avenue opposite the Treasury Building. The capacity of the Navy Yard was increased by the erection of three large buildings for a machine shop, gun shop, and joiner shop. New buildings were leased by the Government for the Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, Railroad Administration, Bureau of the Census, branches of the Department of Agriculture, and other executive organizations. Near Brightwood, about 4 m. north of the city proper, is the Walter Reed General Hospital, first established in 1905 for the U.S. army. To extend its
capacity, a number of additional buildings were constructed during the war, mostly of a temporary or semi-permanent character. The grounds embrace 97 ac. and it is next to the largest army hospital in the United States, the maximum capacity being 2,650. The grounds and buildings cost $2,575,000. In the Mall, adjoining the Smithsonian Building on the west, is the Freer Art Gallery (1920), built at a cost of $1,000,000 and donated to the Government by Charles Lang Freer of Detroit, Mich. In 1921 the construction of the $5,000,000 Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in the grounds of the Catholic university, was begun, and the erection of the Episcopal cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, at Mt. St. Alban, was well under way. When completed it will have cost $5,000,000. In a commanding position at 16th and S Streets N.W. is the House of the Temple (1915), headquarters of the southern jurisdiction Scottish Rite Masons. It is of white marble, of Egyptian and Grecian architecture, 212 by 217 ft. in size, and cost $1,000,000. The Pan-American Building, a white marble structure on 17th Street N.W., at the entrance to Potomac Park, was dedicated in 1910. It cost $1,100,000, of which the American republics contributed $250,000 and Andrew Carnegie $850,000. Near it are the Red Cross Building (1917) and the building of the Daughters of the American Revolution (1910), both in white marble. The Georgetown, or Key Memorial, Bridge, which spans the Potomac river at Georgetown, was expected to be completed in 1922, the estimated cost being $2,100,000. It is of reinforced concrete with seven arch spans, one of which is 208 ft. in length. Its total length, including piers, is 1,452 ft. 9 in.; the width of deck is 70 feet.
Streets and Parks.—Much improvement has been made in the thoroughfares and parks. The flats and lowlands along the Potomac river have been beautified and provided with picturesque driveways. Provision has been made for new parks and additions to those already existing. Asphalt pavement has been laid on 172 m. of city streets and avenues. The principal business section of the city now includes Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the Treasury Building. F, G, and H Streets running east and west, 7th, 9th and 14th Streets running north and south and Connecticut Avenue. A zoning law of 1920 restricts certain businesses to prescribed areas, and regulates the height and character of new structures.
Monuments.—The Lincoln Memorial, occupying an elevation in Potomac Park near the Washington Monument, was practically complete in the spring of 1921 at a cost of about $3,000,000. It is a rectangular edifice of white marble surrounded by 36 Doric columns, one for each state of the Union at the time of Lincoln's death. The principal interior feature is a marble statue of Lincoln by Daniel C. French; on the walls within are lettered the Gettysburg Address and phrases from the second Inaugural Address. The memorial was designed by Henry Bacon and erected under the direction of a commission appointed by Congress in 1911. Across the Potomac river, in Arlington National Cemetery, are the amphitheatre and chapel erected at the instance of the Grand Army of the Republic in memory of all soldiers, sailors, and marines who have fought under the flag of the United States, and also intended to provide a place of assembly for the observance of Memorial Day. The amphitheatre is an enclosure with a colonnade of white marble; the turf is left uncovered and open to the sky. The chapel has a seating capacity of 5,000. The two buildings were completed shortly after the outbreak of the World War at a cost of $825,000. Statues and monuments erected during the decade 1910-20 include Christopher Columbus by Lorado Taft, Union Station Plaza; John Paul Jones by C. H. Niehaus, Potomac Park; a monument to Maj. Pierre Charles L'Enfant who designed the plan on which the city has been built, in Arlington Cemetery; the Butt-Millet Fountain, Daniel C. French, sculptor, Thomas Hastings, architect, erected near the Washington Monument as a memorial to two men who lost their lives in the “Titanic” disaster (1912) and the James McMillan Fountain, Herbert Adams, sculptor, Thomas Hastings, architect. The Grant statue, nearing completion on the east front of the Botanic Garden, is the work of Edward P. Casey, architect, and Henry M. Shrady, sculptor, and will have cost about $240,000. During the World War the statue of Frederick the Great, in the Army War College grounds, was removed. Flannery's Abraham Lincoln, at John Marshall Pl. and D Street, also removed, was to be replaced.
Education.—The Wilson Normal School, 11th and Harvard Streets, was erected in 1913 at a cost of $257,000, and an expenditure of $1,493,000 was made for the site and building of the New Central High School (1916), at 11th and Clifton Streets. The enrolment in the graded schools in Jan. 1921 was 53,840, and in the high schools, 8,735. There were 2,096 teachers—1,442 white, 654 negroes. More than one-third of the pupils were negroes.
Manufactures.—In 1919 there were in Washington 595 manufacturing establishments (exclusive of Government industries) whose products were valued at $68,826,570, of which $37,886,470 was added by manufacture. There were engaged in those industries 14,101 persons, whose salaries and wages amounted to $18,856,410. In value of products there was an increase of 137.5% over 1914, and in salaries and wages an increase of 119.1%. Some of the principal industries in 1919 were: newspapers and periodicals, $11,898,000; bakery products, $10,626,000; meat-packing, $5,012,000; ice cream, $4,101,000. Statistics of governmental industries are shown in the table at the top of page 956.
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The figures are in each case for 11 establishments, and include principally engraving and printing, instrument manufacture, and the naval gun factory. The marked increase in the figures for 1919 was due to the abnormal activity brought about by the war.
History and Finance.—During the participation of the United States in the war there was employed in the Government departments a maximum of 117,760 civil service employees, but this number had been reduced in 1920 to 86,846. The personal U.S. income taxes collected in the city of Washington in 1918 amounted to 8,669,100. Local taxes collected in 1920 amounted to nearly $3,000,000 on personal property and $8,633,278 on realty. The total value of assessable real estate was $426,623,630. The amount contributed by Congress for municipal expenses was more than $8,000,000. In 1920 private building operations amounted to $22,638,862, and for the 10 years 1910-20 to over $151,000,000.
During the war the District of Columbia furnished 24,853 troops and subscribed $127,129,650 for the purchase of Liberty and Victory Bonds and War Savings Stamps, and for contributions to Y.M.C.A. and other war funds.