From: Jennifer Shaub
Time: 10:01:59 PM
Remote Name: 184.108.40.206
Jennifer Shaub Weekly report 2/21/00
During the late 1700's the founding fathers had the awesome responsibility of creating a capitol city for their newly independent nation. Charles L'Enfant was a French engineer appointed by President Washington to create a design for present day a capitol city. The city would be built on the bank of the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland. L'Enfant based his plan for the Capitol City on European cities, such as Paris, Milan, Lyons, Amsterdam, and Strasburg. He devised his city plan with these cities' plans on hand, which were given to him by Jefferson. The architecture of the government buildings was also based on that of the Europeans. "Whenever it is proposed to prepare plans for the Capitol, I should prefer the adoption of some one of the models of antiquity, which have had the approbation of thousands of years; and for the President's house, I should prefer the celebrated fronts of modern buildings…Such are the Galerie du Louire, the Gardes meubles…" (Jefferson) The founding fathers envisioned a capitol city that illustrated order, class, and structure through its architecture. The city uses a popular grid system, however it contains Avenues that cut diagonally across the city. "Lines of direct communication have been devised to connect the most separate and distant objects…"(L'Enfant) Mr. Ellicott who drew a true Meridienal line based on celestial observations which passes directly through the area which was intended for the capitol building. The area surrounding the Mall was described as a"Grand Avenue, 400 feet in breadth, and about a mile in length." Which was to be lined with government offices, embassies, museums, and theaters. By examining the L'Enfant Plan it is possible to conclude that the founding fathers had very high expectations for their new federal city. The structure and detail illustrates the order that the founding fathers wanted to reflect within their city. The museums gave the District of Columbia class and sophistication. Finally, the accessibility of various points in the city may have attempted to illustrate the citizens' accessibility to their government.