District Factoids

Everyone likes a good factoid, right? Here are three about DC:

(1) DC is laid out on a tight grid system, but you’ll never come across J Street. It’s rumored that Pierre L’Enfant (who was first hired to lay out the city in the 1790s) left out J Street to slight the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay. The real reason is this:

[…] J Street was likely omitted simply because the letters I and J were often indistinguishable from each other (especially when handwritten), and in 18th century English they were still largely interchangeable. [H]aving both an “I” and a “J” street would have been redundant at best and confusing at worst, so “J” ended up as the odd man out.

2. DC has 12 sister cities. They are:

(3) There are no skyscrapers in DC. That’s because no building can stand taller than the Capitol.

After the construction of the twelve-story Cairo Apartment Building in 1899, Congress passed the Heights of Buildings Act, which declared that no building could be taller than the Capitol. Today the skyline remains low and sprawling, in keeping with Thomas Jefferson’s wishes to make Washington an “American Paris” with “low and convenient” buildings on “light and airy” streets. As a result, the Washington Monument remains the District’s tallest structure.

Store these tidbits someplace in your brain—you never know when a question on your nation’s capital will come up in Trivial Pursuit!

Sources: Snopes | Wikipedia


2 responses to “District Factoids

  1. Love the fun facts…I only hope I get to use them one day. No J street. Hmmm

  2. I figured you would appreciate them. 🙂

    The lack of J street threw me for awhile. Some how I (where I get off the metro most mornings) and K (where my office is) seemed so far away from each other in my head, but they’re really not.

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