The White House

DSC01787President John Adams, the first official resident of the White House, moved into the house in November 1800. The house was still not quite finished after nine years of construction. (It was a government contract, after all.) In 200 years, the house has endured arson (by British soldiers in 1815), one plane crash, numerous redecorations and renovations, far too many mediocre presidents, and the midnight soliloquies of Richard Nixon. The exterior, a significant example of Federal architecture, remains much as it was in 1800. The guided tours of the famous first-floor rooms show off more historic memorabilia than you will ever be able to absorb.

The White House Visitor Center is located at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 14th and 15th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Visitor Center is inside the north end of the Department of Commerce Building.

Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia

Independence National Historical Park, located in downtown (‘Center City’) Philadelphia, features two icons of American history. Independence Hall was originally the State House of the Pennsylvania colony. The Continental Congress first met there in 1774, and adopted the Declaration of Independence there in 1776. Later, the Confederation Congress and the Constitutional Convention also met in Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell, which was originally the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House, is housed in a special display center just down the street from Independence Hall.

Location Information and directions

Oklahoma City National Memorial, Murrah Office Building

Jim Hart, author of many posts on travelthepast, wrote these words before the 9/11 attach:

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard about three public events in my lifetime: the Kennedy assassination, the Challenger explosion, and the Oklahoma City bombing. (The fact that I was at my job in a federal building when I heard about Oklahoma City did, as they say, remarkably concentrate the mind.) Oklahoma City National Memorial is on the former site of the Murrah Federal Building, which was destroyed on April 19, 1995, in the worst terrorist act on American soil. The monument includes the Gates of Time (monumental twin gates framing the moment of destruction, 9:02 AM), a reflecting pool, and Rescuers’ Orchard with the “Survivor Tree” (a 70-year old Elm tree that survived the bombing).

I visited this site twice in 2002 on a business trip to Oklahoma City. I was so movedĀ I returned a few months later with my wife and children on a family vacation. So many of our national monuments and historic sites are places where lives have been lost. Maybe we turn them into “sacred spaces” so that we can remember that in every generation we need to work toward peace not only in the world but here in our own country.

Location Information and Directions

National Park Service Web Site
Office Web Site