Take a tour of DC and you will likely be treated to some interesting, fun and weird facts about DC. Some are true. Some are simply urban myths. Some have so many different explanations tied to them that it can only be left to you to decide.
Here are 10 surprising, odd and fun DC “facts” for you to consider (or just so you can impress people at parties):
- Who was the first President to live in the White House?
Many believe the answer is George Washington, but John Adams, the second President of the US, was actually the first to live in the White House. In fact, George Washington never even lived in DC. He first lived in New York and spent most of his presidency in Philadelphia, the temporary capital of the US while DC was under construction.
As many people know, DC is divided by streets that run north and south named by letters such as “M” and “U” Street, but conspicuously absent is J Street. Some say that the reason is because the letters J and I were too similar and could not be differentiated in typeset at the time, others say that the city designer at the time, Pierre L’Enfant, hated Supreme Court Justice John Jay so much at the time that he did not want a street named after him even if only in letter. There is also no X, Y and Z streets but this is most commonly attributed to the fact that there just wasn’t room for them at the end of the city.
- Why is there no J Street in DC?
The Washington Redskins actually play at FedEx field in Landover, Maryland.
- What is the only Washington, DC pro sports team that does not play in the city limits of DC?
John Quincy Adams, one of two Presidents to return to Congress after his Presidential term (Andrew jackson was the other), reportedly shouted “No” during a floor debate, collapsed in his office shortly afterwards, fell into a coma and died at the Capitol Building.
- Which President died at the Capitol Building?
The origin of the well-needed game break has many different explanations, one of which is reportedly that when President Taft stood up to stretch his legs during a Washington Senators game everyone thought he was leaving so they stood up to show respect
- The Seventh Inning Stretch originated in DC.
Unbelievably, this is true. DC averages about 39 inches per year, more than Seattle’s measly 37.
- DC gets more rain than Seattle.
The Cathedral adorned with a plethora of gargoyles includes one of Darth Vader. In the 1980s, the Cathedral held a National Competition and the third place winner designed the Vader-goyle. You will need binoculars to find Luke’s father as he is not easy to spot.
- A famous villain adorns the National Cathedral.
Speaking of the Cathedral, Woodrow Wilson is the only President buried in DC and he is entombed at the National Cathedral.
- There is only one President Buried in DC.
The story that a black ghost cat lives in the massive tunnels underneath the Capitol has been passed down for hundreds of years. There are actual cat paw prints on the steps of the old Supreme Court in the Capitol Building which no one seems able to explain. And, on nights before major tragic events, guards at the Capitol report seeing the black ghost cat.
- The Capitol is Haunted.
DC license plates are adorned with the phrase “Taxation Without Representation” because, although DC residents pay federal and state taxes, they do not have a voting member of Congress. In 1961, DC residents were granted 3 electoral votes for President and Vice-President but, to this day, they do not have voting representation in Congress.
- Why do DC license plates say “Taxation Without Representation?”
What's your favorite weird fact about DC? Share it with us in the comments below!