SIGStory #5

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The portrait of John F. Kennedy by Elaine de Kooning faces the portrait of Richard M. Nixon by Norman Rockwell as part of the permanent exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

The differences between the Presidents can not be better illustrated.

SIGStory #4

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The Cairo

Washington, DC

The Cairo apartment building, located at 1615 Q Street NW in Washington, D.C., is a landmark in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Designed by architect Thomas Franklin Schneider, it was the District’s first residential skyscraper and is the District’s tallest residential building.
Upon its completion in 1894, at 12 stories and 164 feet, outraged local residents lobbied Congress for help.
The resulting Height of Buildings Act restricts building height in the District to the width of the adjacent street plus 20 feet. Subsequently, Washington has evolved as a city of streets filled with natural light, protected by a strong historic preservation movement.
Around 1900, the building was renamed the Cairo Hotel and became a center of D.C. society, with its ballroom frequently the center of social and political gatherings. Its guests and tenants have included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Edison, and other powerful political figures. The Cairo was also the home of ladies of the night who made their living entertaining members of the U.S.Congress.

SIGStory #3

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The Cathedral of St. Matthew. 18th St. NW and Rhode Island Ave. Washingthon DC

President Kennedy’s funeral was held at this Cathedral, the same Cathedral where President Lincoln’s funeral service was held.

The famous photograph of John Kennedy Jr. saluting as his father’s coffin passed was taken on these steps.

The middle doors of the Cathedral have not been openned since the day of the funeral.

SIGStory #2

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The Cosmos Club is a private social club in Washington, D.C., founded by John Wesley Powell in 1878. In addition to Powell, original members included Clarence Edward Dutton, Henry Smith Pritchett, William Harkness, and John Shaw Billings. Among its stated goals is “The advancement of its members in science, literature, and art”. Cosmos Club members have included three U.S. Presidents, two U.S. Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 32 Nobel Prize winners, 56 Pulitzer Prize winners and 45 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Since 1952 the Club’s headquarters have been in the Mary Scott (Mrs Richard T.) Townsend house at 2121 Massachusetts Avenue NW in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The free-standing house, set in almost an acre of garden, was designed in the Beaux Arts French style by architects Carrère and Hastings in 1898 and essentially completed in 1901. Mr. Townsend died shortly thereafter, in 1902. Following the death of Mrs. Townsend in 1931, their daughter Matilde, who was by then Mrs B. Sumner Welles, moved into the house, living there until World War II. It was purchased from Mrs Welles’ estate by the Cosmos Club in 1950 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It is a contributing property to the Dupont Circle Historic District and Massachusetts Avenue Historic District.

Sumner Welles was Under-Secretary of State during World War II. In the week following Kristallnacht, in November 1938, the British government stated that it would be willing to give up the major part of the quota of 65,000 British citizens that could emigrate to the United States and have Jews fleeing Hitler receive this instead. Under-Secretary Welles opposed this idea. He resigned in 1943, not because of his views, but as a result of rumors regarding a sex scandal.

Some things never change in This Town including beautiful homes and sex scandals.

SIGStory #1

 

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In Defense of The Liberal Arts

John Adams had it right when he wrote to his wife, Abigail, in 1780: “I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History and Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.”