So today, since it was finally not stupidly humid, I went for another six-mile run in the District of Columbia.
This time, I parked on Hains Point and ran east over the Washington Channel, then down onto Maine Avenue. I followed this along the river to historic Fort McNair, an active military post since 1791 (third oldest military post in America) and now home to one of the military’s premier educational centers, the National Defense University.
I ran up to the main gate at 3rd and P streets, NW and asked if I could enter and run on post. After they checked my credentials, I was granted access and allowed to run on this beautiful campus where most of the impeccably-maintained buildings are over a hundred years old.
Fort McNair was originally provided for as a defensive point when the District of Columbia was platted out by Pierre L'Enfant. It was first known as the Washington Arsenal and used to manufacture armaments and cartridges, and while it played no role in any fighting, it was nonetheless the center of two notable incidents in it's early days.
The first came in 1814 when the damnable British invaded and set about to destroy our Capitol. The arsenal had been hurriedly evacuated, and a large stock of gunpowder that could not be hauled off in time was hidden in a nearby well. An overly-curious (or careless) Brit tossed a match down the well and the resulting explosion killed 30 men and some officers and wounded a bunch more. (Cue Nelson Muntz: "HA-HA!")
The second was similar in nature but considerably more tragic as the victims were 21 women working in the cartridge factory on June 17, 1864. They were killed when an open spark touched off some munitions and demolished the building. President Abraham Lincoln himself took a place in their funeral procession, which numbered over 150 carriages as it wound through the District.
A prison was also established here, and the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination were locked up there prior to their executions, including Mary Surratt, the first woman ever executed by federal order.
Also noteworthy is the fact that he post was also home to a hospital where Major Walter Reed did much of his work on malaria. The District's surrounding swamps were reportedly perfect for his study.
Lots of history here, and a beautiful campus that's virtually free of automobiles. I like it.
I then ran back north along the channel, looking at all of the nice boats in the marina there. I could not, of course, help but notice the number of live-aboard boats that had beautiful women lounging around on them. Obviously I'm doing something wrong here. Why don't I own a nice boat where Lagniappe can bask in the sun all day, joined by my pet redhead when she's done with the cooking and cleaning and such? I'm clearly in the wrong line of work.