Historic Hydrants in Washington, D.C.

National Air and Space Museum
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Hydrant 12: The National Air and Space Museum

From the"American Darling Valve" in front of this popular museum, you can catch glimpses of the Wright Brothers' historic airplane and a couple of other exhibits visible through the huge glass entrance.

Walk This Way
Now for the last long stretch-walk east across Fourth Street SW. On your right is the future site of the Museum of the American Indian. The Capitol is ahead of you. Past Third Street SW, you and the pooch can breeze by the United States Botanic Gardens, the oldest in the country. But if you need to sit a spell, cross over Independence Avenue at First Street SW and find a bench in the pleasant Bartholdi Garden outside the conservatory, which closed in 1997 for a three-year reconstruction. Then head uphill along Independence Avenue, past the Rayburn House Office Building on the right and across South Capitol Street.

Last Stop: The Capitol West Front

Again, all the hydrant action around the Capitol is underground. Enough hydrants already: From this high vantage point, look across the National Mall below you. What Jefferson saw when he strolled to his inauguration was a mucky, muddy, mosquito-infested swampland. At the base of the hill where the Botanic Gardens are now was an alder swamp bordered by tall woods. Today this is one of the finest urban panoramic views you'll ever see-and evidence of how far this country and city has come in 200 years. Now pat the pup on the head for a walk well done. The tour is over.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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