D.C. November 12, 2016
The 10 Weirdest And Strangest Things That Have Ever Happened In Washington DC
If you live in Washington DC, you may feel things are about to get really strange, really quickly. However, DC actually has quite a long history of bizarre things happening here. From embarrassing errors to crazy pranks and unforgettable tourists, these are the 10 weirdest things to happen in Washington DC.
1. The US Army shot up the Lincoln Memorial.
In his book Urban Legends & Historic Lore of Washington DC, Robert Pohl tells the story of when the US Army accidentally shot up the Lincoln Memorial. During WWII, anti-aircraft military weapons were installed on top of the US Department of the Interior. But in 1942, a soldier accidentally pulled the trigger and released a round of ammunition into the memorial. There was minor damage to the memorial.
2. Two men were almost entombed alive in the Second Infantry War Memorial.
In 1962, the Second Infantry War Memorial was rededicated and right before the dedication, two homeless man found their way inside. Construction workers were still working on the monument and were going to install a 8in piece of granite on top of the structure, thus sealing it. Luckily they heard newspapers shuffling inside the memorial and the two men were able to get out before getting stuck there forever.
3. The escape of the red panda.
In 2013, Rusty the Red Panda escaped the National Zoo and was found hanging out in Adams Morgan.
4. The time our mayor was on trial for crack cocaine
One of the saddest stories of DC was the fall of Mayor Marion Barry who served as mayor of DC in the 1980s. In 1990, Marion Barry was arrested for crack cocaine use and possession following a police sting. He was charged with three felony counts of perjury, 10 counts of drug possession and one misdemeanor county of conspiracy to possess cocaine. Mayor Barry continued as mayor after his arrest and through his trial. Following his release from prison, he was voted mayor again in 1995.
5. The most controversial tourist ever?
After leading a revolution in Cuba, Fidel Castro visited the United States in 1959 on an invitation from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
6. When the Nationals misspelled their name on the jerseys.
7. A politician was snubbed through a street.
There is J Street in Washington DC and the popular lore is that DC designer Pierre L’Enfant hated John Jay, who was the first chief justice. Apparently out of spite, L’Enfant left out J Street but a more probable reason is that J appeared just as I in the 18th century.
8. Part of DC was returned to Virginia.
Virginia and Maryland donated land to form Washington DC in 1790. But in July of 1862, the Virginia part, which is now Alexandria was returned to Virginia. This was mostly do with slave Southern congressmen wanting to protect their slave trade in Virginia from Northern abolitionists.
9. A political feud turned deadly.
Long before Twitter feuds, Charles Kincaid, a newspaper correspondent shot and killed former Congressmen William Taulbee of Kentucky. The two men were enemies after Kincaid wrote a story that indicated Taulbee had an extramarital affair. They both worked in Washington and often traded verbal insults before the feud escalated to violence and Kincaid shot Taulbee on the east staircase of the Capitol. There are stories that Taulbee haunts the Capitol building.
10. The Washington Monument was purple as a result of a senior prank.
In 1969, students from Gonzaga College High School tricked the US Department of the Interior into turning the Washington Monument the school’s colors purple and white.
You can see a great photo of it here.
So while DC maybe getting weirder, it might be comforting to know it’s always been a little strange. In fact,
DC is so strange it has some crazy laws that you might not know about!