OT - Washington, DC

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No, this post is not going to be about the shootings there.
But, when I was listening to the news I decided to sit down at my computer and finally find out something that's perplexed me for years.
What is the difference, geographically speaking, between the city of Washington DC, and the District of Columbia?
When I Google "District of Columbia", I get a map of a square-ish looking chunk of ground on the border between Maryland and Virginia.
When I Google "Washington", I get a map of a square-ish looking chunk of ground on the border between Maryland and Virginia.
There is only one map for both the City of Washington DC and for the District of Columbia.
And, it occurs to me that the only way that could happen is if the entire District of Columbia was covered by city of Washington DC.
I always envisioned the District of Columbia to be an area with the city of Washington inside it, much like Winnipeg is a city inside the much larger province of Manitoba. In this case, we have what appears to be the whole District of Columbia covered by the city of Washington, DC.
So that just creates more questions for me... Does the city of washington extend past the borders of the District of Columbia, and if so, are there also the Cities of Washington, Maryland and Washington, Virginia which are part of the same city, but outside the District of Columbia?
If someone lives in the City of Washington, but outside of the borders of the District of Columbia, would their mailing address still be "Washington, DC"?
I was always confused by the fact that you guys have one map for both the City of Washington, DC and the District of Columbia, and I can't fit it in my head that the city is going to stop and suddenly turn into farmland right on the border of the District of Columbia.
Does anyone in here live near Washington?
--
nestork


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On Tue, 17 Sep 2013 01:37:55 +0200, nestork

You ask a lot of good questions. Unfortunately I don't know the answers but I, as well as all U.S. citizens, should.
As we all know that is but one of the many mysteries of that city, district, area, locale or whatever. The last five years have certainly seen an increasing frequency of the mysteries emanating from that region.
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Because they are one and the same, but with two "existences".
"DC" is the federal existence. The "City" is the municipal existence. The "City" is responsible for such things as painting lines on the roads, the sewers, the water, etc. All the feds do is ride into town on the Metro, tell you how to run your life, then eat fancy and excellent meals at the Capital Grill (charged to the taxpayer, of course).
DC's license plates say "Taxation Without Representation". That's an open municipal protest agains the fact that DC can't vote federally, meaning that DC has no representation in Congress and thus has no say in the federal taxes that are levied on DC residents.

Whoo. You've never been down there, have you? Very little farmland around DC.
--
Tegger

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Boy, I really should have paid more attention to my sentence structure in that past reply.
Obviously the City is NOT painting lines on the sewers and the water, but is instead responsible for the upkeep of those two things; and in addition is reponsible for painting lines on the roads, among many other mundane municipal matters.
--
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wrote:

Actually the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission operates the water and sewer for DC and the Maryland suburbs, somewhat seamlessly.
The road maintenance responsibility stops at the DC line.
I am actually old enough to remember small farms very close to the DC line on the Southeastern border in Oxon Hill. It was pretty rural out there in the 50s and people would hunt right off of 210 and Oxon Hill Rd and points east. There used to be an old Army anti aircraft battery right there until 54-55. Then it was just a big open field surrounded by woods that extended all the way to the river. (where the beltway is now).
They do call the area down town where all of the well known landmarks and most of the US government buildings are, the Federal Triangle. There was even some talk when they gave DC home rule that they would carve out that area and keep it under federal jurisdiction as the whole city was before 1968.
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No, I totally get the part that the city of Washington has both a municipal government (presumably it has a mayor and a city hall and city councillors) as well as a federal government (with the White House as the "head office" of the Federal Government). I was always just hung up on the geography.
OK, so if I understand this correctly, the following statements are all true:
1. Originally, the city of Washington was a urban center much smaller than the District of Columbia, but over the 200 years or whatever since the District of Columbia was established, the city of Washington has grown to cover the entire District of Columbia. This is why the map of the city of Washington is the same as the map of the District of Columbia.
2. The city of "Washington" exists only inside the perimeter of the District of Columbia border.
3. All urban development outside the perimeter of the District of Columbia are suburbs of the city of Washington either in Maryland or Virginia; such as Bethesda, Maryland where the famous military hospital is, or Arlington, Virginia where the famous military cemetary is.
That makes sense to me now.
I've never been further East than Toronto, Ontario, and I can count the number of major US cities I've been in on the fingers of one hand. (I'm not counting Grand Forks, North Dakota as a major city.) But, Washington and the District of Columbia were always confusing to me because maps would label the same chunk of land as being both Washington, D.C. and the District of Columbia, and the only way that could make sense was if the city covered the entire District, but I wasn't sure if it did or not, or that's what the map makers meant or not.
Thanks all.
--
nestork


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On Tue, 17 Sep 2013 05:43:07 +0200, nestork

No the District was defines in Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution (as a 10 mile square). The chunk that is missing in Virginia was separated in the Civil war.

True
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On Tue, 17 Sep 2013 00:54:20 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Are you sure? I can't see the federal goverment looking kindly on Virginia during or soon after the Civil War. I know that Congress did return that part of DC that was in Virginia, and looking in wikip, it says that happened in 1846.
Maybe you're thinking of West Virginia, that separated from Virgnia during the Civil War, because the majority of its people didnt' want to secede.
When Mayor Schaeffer was governor of Maryland, he said that the Maryland part of DC should go back to Maryland. This would have given DC folks a vote for the Md. senators and equal treatment in Congress**. DC should have jumped on it, because no one else from Md. is likely to agree to it, because it dilutes the votes of Marylanders for senators. (but he was a pretty powerful governor, who likely could have pushed it through the state legislature.) It really is unfair to DC folk.
**It would have given them votes in the electoral college for President, but they got that anyhow, by amending the Constitution I suppose, before or after Schaeffer was governor.

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I should add that DC has no one in the Senate but does have a "non-voting" elected member of the House of Representatives,, usually Eleanor Holmes Norton.
When the Democrats control the House, she gets a vote in whatever committees she belongs to, and the House itself usually sits as a "committee of the whole", in which she also gets a vote. it's legal and I think it's fair.
When the Republicans control the House, she gets nothing.
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On 9/16/2013 10:43 PM, nestork wrote:

That misconception is probably my fault for sloppy writing...
Sorry I used "founded"; while typing I forgot to make it clear about the District being established as part of the (then new) Constitution just presuming that was known when, of course, the whole point is that you being Canadian don't/didn't necessarily know that otoyh. I just meant that initially there wasn't enough City to come close to covering the full 10-mi sq area as there was no settlement there prior to the establishment of the District--some of the earliest pictures of the place are pretty entertaining with mud streets and all surrounding the building going on.
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4ax.com:

The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA, also has many of Lee's possessions from when he was the South's military commander. The White House of the Confederacy is right next door. I highly recommend both those places, if you're as historically-interested as I am.
Not in DC, but very close to it in Fairfax, VA -- a "must see" as far as I'm concerned -- is the NRA museum; they've done a superb job of presenting firearms in a historical context; it's easily the equal of any of the Smithsonian establishments.
--
Tegger

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On 09/17/2013 06:18 PM, Tegger wrote:

I used to live a long walk from there but never visited. Seems that when in mixed company and wanting to go do touristy stuff that that only appeals to those with Y chromosomes. Probably ought to do that someday before I move away.
Farther away from DC but still doable if you have a car is the Udvar-Hazy center, if you have any interest in aircraft at all.
nate
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Oren: Yeah that last map of Washington and the District of Columbia was what I imagined it was like. A city located within a larger District. I just wasn't aware that since the District of Columbia was established, the City had grown to fill the whole District. But I know that now.
If I ever visited Washington, I'd probably go to the Smithsonian Museum. it's a museum of everything. It's one of the world's best museums, if not the best based on the size and diversity of it's collection. But, why would I go to Washington when I could go to Florida, California or Hawaii?
--
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To see where all your money went?
. Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
On 9/17/2013 8:48 PM, nestork wrote:

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MuseumS, plural. The Smithsonian has many buildings, all of them great.
I don't know if the National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian complex, but you can skip that one (I swear the animals get better grub than the people).

'Cause the Smithsonian buildings are absolutely great. Insanely great. And DC has loads of superb restaurants. Then there are the attractions in VA, such as Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Virginia Beach, the stuff in Richmond I mentioned before. Plus I find the place physically beautiful, especially as you go further south.
You can go to ALL the places you mention, and I have. Several times. They all have different attractions for the tourist, so why not partake of them all?
--
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On 9/16/2013 6:37 PM, nestork wrote: ...

None.
...

Indeed, it is the latter, not the former, now. Obviously, way back when it was founded that wasn't so but is now and has been for quite some time.

No, no, and no. Outside of Washington, DC, one is in either the state of MD or VA (south of the Potomac) and there are a zillion suburban communities of that many names -- larger ones are heard of like Silver Spring, College Park, Bethesda, MD or Arlington, or Alexandria, VA, but most of them nobody outside the area knows what they are any more than anybody anywhere removed from Montreal or Toronto knows the names of their suburbs, either.

No, they'll have a mailing address of, say, Bethesda, MD w/ their own ZIP code, etc., etc., etc, ...

It's not (at least much) farmland for miles away in all directions but metropolitan area but only the DC environs are actually Washington, DC, in actual fact; the rest are in the DC metro area but are their own little (or not so little) places.
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On 9/16/2013 7:54 PM, dpb wrote:

ADDENDUM
While geographically the two entities of DC, the city and the district, coincide there are two actual political entities.
And, while there are all these place names around the District, there are also named neighborhoods/districts within the District itself -- Bellevue, Congress Heights, Brookland, ..., which at one time were more or less separate themselves before the whole area got covered up and paved over.
Never fortunately had to live there; in a former life used to have to go and testify before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for employer on licensing issues for commercial power reactors and thereby spent far more time there than would have otherwise done. Much interesting to visit but absolute hell to get out of on a Friday afternoon to get home back in Lynchburg (VA) by anything approaching a decent hour.
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On Tue, 17 Sep 2013 01:37:55 +0200, nestork

Not possible.

Georgetown, Maryland existed before the District was created. I think that was the only town in what is now the District. (Can't say "incorporated town" because I think there are only 1 or 2 or 3 incorporated towns in the whole state.

If you go north of DC, it's all on the way to being developed for commuter housing, plus the things that go with that. It's going to be one long city from DC to Boston along I-95. But if you go west or east of the district I'd guess 30 miles, there is farmland.

I live about 35 miles from the Capitol. North. Just NW of Baltimore.
There used to be a farm a tenth of a mile from me, when I moved here 30 years ago. They grew corn. Later they grew hay. and later they died and their kids finally sold their little farm just before the economy crashed. Supposed to build expensive townhouses for the last several years, but haven't. The kids gave the barn to a museum and the house is still there.
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On 09/16/2013 07:37 PM, nestork wrote:

They're the same (the City of Washington and the District of Columbia)... and I stay out of it whenever I can.
All of DC is on the MD side of the Potomac River - Arlington, VA used to be part of DC but was ceded back to VA in the 1800s. If you look at a map and follow the border of DC to the rest of MD, then cross the river and follow the border of Arlington County, it forms a square tilted a little bit.
nate
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wrote:

DC also owns the river with Virginia starting at the bank. That brings up an interesting situation. The center of the Wilson bridge (I-95 south of town) actually belongs to DC and the ends are Maryland and Virginia. It is the southern point of that diamond.
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