CLCrow Photography Blog

Capturing Life At Its Best

Civil War Photo Tour

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War less than a year away, I thought that I would do a tour of Washington that every place had significance during one of the tumultuous times in our nation’s history.


Metro Stop: Metro Center

the Willard has been the center of the social and political life in Washington DC since it first opened in the early 1800s.  On February 23, 1861, amid several assassination threats, detective Allan Pinkerton smuggled Abraham Lincoln into the Washington DC during the weeks before his inauguration; Lincoln lived at the Willard until his inauguration on March 4, holding meetings in the lobby and carrying on business from his room.


Metro Stop: Capitol South

After leaving the Willard, head over to Metro Center and take the Metro to the Capitol South stop. Unlike today’s presidents who are swore in on the West Portico, then President -Elect Lincoln was sworn in on the East Portico of the Capitol (side facing away from the Mall) on March 4, 1861.  At the time of his inauguration, the dome of the Capitol building was still under construction.  Note: John Wilkes Booth was in attendance when President Lincoln gave his second Inaugural Address.


The U.S. Grant Memorial Statue is an equestrian statue honoring Civil War general and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant located at the base of Capitol Hill. The statue faces west toward the Lincoln Memorial honoring Grant’s Commander in Chief – President Abraham Lincoln.


Head down Constitution to the short walk to the National Archives. As of this post, there is at least one exhibit pertinent to the Civil War – Discovering the Civil War .


From the Archives, take the metro to the McPherson Square stop.  On the third floor of the White House (part of the first family’s private residence) is the Lincoln Bedroom which has a bed that Mary Lincoln purchased that as far as historians know President Lincoln never slept in.  Also in the room is the last known hand written by President Lincoln copy of the Gettysburg Address .  The room was used by Lincoln as his office.


Follow the same path that President Lincoln followed whenever he went to the theater – head down E Street to 10th Street.  Turn left onto 10th and the theatre is right next to Hard Rock Cafe.  Petersen House is right across the street.  Ford’s Theatre is still a working theater.

On April 14, 1865, President and Mrs. Lincoln attended the play Our American Cousin when John Wilkes Booth snuck into the Presidential Box and shot President Lincoln in the back of the head.  Booth then jumped onto the stage and yelled “Sic Sempter Tyrannus” (Thus Always to Tyrants) and escaped into the night.  He was cornered and killed after a 12 day manhunt.

President Lincoln was carried across the street to Petersen House where he died early the next morning.  After his death, Edward Stanton declared, “He Now Belongs to the Ages.”


Unfortunately there is no metro station near the memorial.  Dedicated in 1922 honoring the man who saved the union.  Directly above  the statue the words, “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Lincoln’s two most famous speeches – The Gettysburg Address and 2nd Inaugural Address are etched in the walls of the memorial.


Metro Stop: Arlington Cemetery

The final stop on the Civil War Photo tour appropriately enough is just over the Arlington Memorial Bridge – Arlington National Cemetery.  The good news is there is a metro stop at Arlington, the bad news, its the closest stop to the Lincoln Memorial.

The house and land was once owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee but it was confiscated before the end of the war and was made into a national cemetery.  Abraham Lincoln’s oldest son Robert Todd Lincoln is buried there.


May 8, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tour Series | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Early America Photo Tour

Since I did the Federal Government photo tour yesterday, it is only fitting that the next tour be how this country was started – The Early America Photo Tour.


President Washington appointed Pierre Charles L’Enfant to design the new capital city.  In his 1791 plan for the future city of Washington, D.C., L’Enfant envisioned a garden-lined “grand avenue” approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and 400 feet (120 m) wide, in an area that would lie between the Capitol building and an equestrian statue of George Washington to be placed directly south of the White House. The National Mall occupies the site of this planned “grand avenue”, which was never constructed. The Washington Monument stands near the planned site of its namesake’s equestrian statue.  The term “National Mall” commonly includes areas that are officially part of West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens to the west, and often is taken to refer to the entire area between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center. The National Mall receives approximately 24 million visitors each year.


You can not talk about early American History without talking about the documents that formed this country.  Check out yesterday’s blog The Federal Government Photo Tour for more information.


After leaving the National Archives, walk down Constitution Avenue to the Constitution Gardens, between Constitution Avenue and the Reflecting Pool. Constitution Gardens is a living legacy to the founding of the republic.  It has a memorial for the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence on the small island in the lake.


The next stop will most definitely have to be the monument dedicated to our first president. It was built in honor of George Washington, who led the country to independence and then became its first President. The Monument is shaped like an Egyptian obelisk, stands 555’ 5 1/8” tall, and offers views in excess of thirty miles.

Admission is free but does require a ticket.


The next stop should be the Jefferson Memorial. Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States and the principle author of the Declaration of Indpendence. The words written more than 200 years ago, have shaped American ideals. Today, many of these impressive, stirring words adorn the interior walls of his memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial stands as a symbol of liberty and endures as a site for reflection and inspiration for all citizens of the United States and the world.

One of the best times of year to visit the memorial is in the spring with the Cherry Blossoms which surround the Tidal Basin are in bloom.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tour Series | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DC Photo Tour Series – The Federal Government

Whether or not you agree with our current administration, as an American you need to take a tour of the buildings that represent our government.  Your tour should start with the National Archives and then follow through to the buildings that represent the three branches of our federal government: legislative, judicial and executive.


Metro Stop: Archives/Naval Memorial

Your first stop should be to view the documents that helped form this country.   The Declaration of Independence started the whole movement that resulted in our being freed from British Rule.  Then came  the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Bill of Rights, – this is the document that formed this country, and that every elected official swears to uphold – .  All three can be seen in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives.   As all are old, they are preserved in a dark room under thick glass.  You are not allowed to take photographs.  However, you can purchase replicas in the Archives store.

Hours: Spring/Summer (March 15-Labor Day) 10am-7pm
Fall/Winter (day after Labor Day-March 14, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas 10am-5:30pm

Admission: Free

U.S. CAPITOL – The next stop should be the legislative branch

Metro Stop: Capitol Metro South

Leaving the archives you can walk to the Capitol or hop on the Green Line (toward Branch Avenue) one stop to L’Enfant Plaza and then hop on the Blue Line (toward Largo Town Center) to the Capitol South stop.

You will want to take photographs of both sides of the Capitol building.  You can book tours (8:50am-3:20 pm) through the Advance Reservation System or by contacting your Senator or Representative.  Gallery passes are also available through the Senators or Representative.  No cameras are allowed in the galleries.  The main entrance is East Front at First Street and East Capitol Street N.E.  For more information about touring the Capitol including restrictions, visit: The restaurant is on the lower level and it is open between 8:30am-4pm Monday through Saturday. There is a security checkpoint.  Check the website for prohibited items.

Note: Photograph that side that faces the National Mall first so that after done photographing the Capitol, you can head to your next destination.

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 8:30am-4:30pm (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day and Inauguration Day)

Admission: Free

U.S. SUPREME COURT – The judicial branch of the federal goverment.

Metro Stop: Capitol South

The highest judicial body in the United States.  They consist of The Chief Justice and eight associate judges.  No photography or videography is allowed inside the courtroom.  Eras of the Supreme Court history are named after the chief justice of that time. The Taney Court (1836-1864) is primarily remembered for its ruling in Dred Scott vs. Sandford, the case which may have helped precipitate the Civil War.  The Warren Court (1953–1969) made many rulings, sometimes celebrated, sometimes controversial, expanding the application of the Constitution to civil liberties: it held segregation in public schools unconstitutional, the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education Decision.  The BurberCourt (1969–1986) ruled the Constitution protected a woman’s right to privacy and control over her own body, thus striking down outright abortion ban, controversial Roe vs. Wade Decision.  There is a security checkpoint.  Check the website for prohibited items.

Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4:30 pm except Federal Holidays

THE WHITE HOUSE – The executive branch

Metro Stop: McPherson Square

Walk down to Union Station and hop on the Red Line (toward Shady Grove).  You will either need to get off at Metro Center and walk several blocks west to the White House or change trains at Metro Center and hop on the Blue Line (toward Springfield) for one stop and get off at McPherson Square. McPherson Square Metro stop is on the north side of the White House.  Now if you get off at Metro Center, you will have further to walk but you can stop at the White House Visitor’s Center at southeast corner of 15th and E Street, open 7 days a week from 7:30am to 4pm.

Public tours of the White House are available. Requests must be submitted through your Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays (excluding federal holidays). Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance but no less than 30 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible since a limited number of tours are available. For the most current tour information, please call the 24-hour line at 202-456-7041. Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation. Admission is free. There is a security checkpoint.  Check the website for prohibited items.  Definitely get photos of both the north and south side of the White House.

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Photo Tour Series | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment