Tricks and Treats of D.C.'s Architecture cont.d

The National Building Museum

Only a few blocks from Capitol Hill, in Penn Quarter, lays an example of an Italian Renaissance Revival, The National Building Museum. A sought-after spot for gala events, including many Presidential Inaugural Balls, and the site of multiple ghost sightings. Originally the National Pensions Building, it was renamed when converted into a museum in 1980.
  • There have been multiple reports of a soldier on horseback with his sword, identified as civil engineer and Army General Montgomery C. Meigs who designed the building in 1881.
  • Among the tops of the eight 75-foot Corinthian columns, ­ among the tallest interior columns in the world ,­ visitors claim to see swirling unrecognizable faces.

The White House

On October 13, 1792, construction of The White House began of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the late Georgian style. President John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams were the first to live in the Executive Mansion in 1800. In 1814, during James Madison’s presidency, the British burned the building. The building was immediately repaired and repainted and was called The White House from that point on. When Thomas Jefferson moved into the home in 1801, he, with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, expanded the building outward, creating two colonnades which were meant to conceal stables and storage.

  • Many presidents have felt a connection to past presidents while living at the White House, especially to President Lincoln. Lincoln's ghost has appeared most often in the area of the Lincoln Bedroom and second floor corridors. There have been reports of a pacing spirit, pensively posed with his hands clasped behind his back. Winston Churchill refused to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom after he witnessed the ghost of Abraham Lincoln walking the room. Footsteps and knocking in the night have been reported by both staff members and visitors. Mary Todd Lincoln, held several séances in the Green Room to try to contact her dead son, Willie. Following the murder of her husband, she sought contact with him and claimed she had succeeded.
  • White House members of staff have seen the spirit of Abigail Adams cleaning her laundry in the East Room.
  • When the wife of President Woodrow Wilson, First Lady Ellen Wilson, wanted to dig up the rose garden the spirit of former First Lady Dolley Madison supposedly told the workmen not to ruin the garden.
  • Some claim to hear Andrew Jackson laughing loudly in his former bed chambers, the Red Room
  • A menacing British soldier has been spotted trying to set a fire with a blazing torch, possibly the same soldier from The Capital building?
  • A version of the story of Washington's Demon Cat, place the phantom cat in the White House basement.

See videos about some of these encounters at the White House Web Site.

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