Today we went back into Washington, D.C. to continue our trolley tour adventures. Old Town Trolley Tours basically runs two lines one does the downtown loop (which has a shuttle to Arlington National Cemetery) and the other does what they refer to as uptown and Georgetown. Today we did the uptown loop.
The uptown loop has fewer stops than the downtown loop. The major stops are for the National Zoo, the National Cathedral, Georgetown and the White House. We figured we did not have time to do the National Zoo on this trip, so our first stop was for the National Cathedral. The 1792 plan for the Federal City drawn up by L’Efant set aside land for a great church for national purposes. In 1893 the United States Congress charted the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia to build the Cathedral with a number of stipulations. These included stipulations that no public or national church funds would be used to build or maintain the Cathedral and that all faiths would be welcome to use the chapels within the Cathedral. The Cathedral is the sixth largest in the world and the second largest in the United States. Construction began in 1907 and did not complete until 1990.
The Cathedral is truly amazing with tall arched ceiling and many beautiful stained glass windows. Being the nations’ Cathedral there are many influences of United States history within the building. A number of the stained glass windows depict historical scenes. The Space Window even contains a piece of moon rock in the stained glass. The organ at the Cathedral is made up of 10647 pipes and we were lucky to be there on a day when demonstrate the playing of three songs on it. The Cathedral has hosted many notable events including state funerals for four Presidents (Wilson, Eisenhower, Regan, and Ford), and was the last place that the Reverend Dr. King delivered his final Sunday sermon of his life a few days before being killed.
From the Cathedral we boarded the tour trolley and went to Georgetown by way of part of Embassy Row. Once we got to Georgetown we partook of we think might be the best hamburgers we have ever had. After the fine lunch we stopped to tour the Old Stone House. The Old Stone House is well – an old stone house. It is the oldest standing building in Washington, D.C. and is the last pre-Revolutionary Colonial building on its original foundation. Unlike the rest of the memorials to national leaders and significant events, the Old Stone House celebrates the lives of the ordinary American. The Old Stone House was completed in 1765 and withstood the forces of development and commercialization (although it was a used car dealership for a number of years before the National Park Service purchased the property).
After Georgetown it was back on the Trolley to see a few more Embassies on our way to look thru the iron fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Our Trolley Driver told us that if we mistakenly went to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE we would dine with Ronald McDonald.