Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Useless
'National Coalition to Save the Mall'

Useless Regarding the South Capitol Mall

an early 2007 email exchange with Judy Scott Feldman
regarding the SW portion of the South Capitol Mall:

Re: UPDATE: Feb. 13 Overbeck Lecture: The Past & Future of the National Mall

Monday, January 15, 2007 4:00 PM


To: "Judy S. Feldman"


What I mean is the *western* portion of NCPC's north-south 1992-2001 South Capitol Mall proposal.

I say western because the eastern portion is to be largely covered by the Nationals Stadium. (I do not see an effort to stop that project, as much as I would like to see such an effort.) Since the serious political obstacles are to the east (the stadium and the St Vincent's catholic church), I see the advice as to "go west".

As I understand it there are projects along the west side of SCS that would block the South Mall; should not there be a South Mall even where there is no conflict with the church and the stadium.

Douglas Willinger

----- Original Message ----
From: Judy S. Feldman <jfeldman@savethemall.org>
To: Douglas Willinger <dougwill2001@yahoo.com>
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2007 3:52:54 PM
Subject: Re: UPDATE: Feb. 13 Overbeck Lecture: The Past & Future of the National Mall


We've suggested an enhanced M Street connecting S. Capitol to Washington Channel and a bridge across to East Potomac Park. M Street would become a greenway and link through SW. Is this what you mean? Other ideas are welcome.


>What about the west side of the South Capitol Mall?
>That is, entirely west of South Capitol Street, and not to the east.
>How about something on saving a swath for a greenway strictly to the west, since the buildings to the south of the Marriot are envisioned to all be demolished.
>Douglas Willinger

Judy Scott Feldman, Ph.D.
National Coalition to Save Our Mall
301-340-3938/ 301-340-3947 (fax)

And this one:
Re: UPDATE: Mall Has Become a Monument to Political Negligence
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 2:15 PM


To: "Judy S. Feldman"

What about the "South Capitol Commons"? (the traffic oval).

From what I understand, it is only an option.

Likewise with the town square at the corner of SC and M Street? I can't find any details on Monument Reality's Ballpark District development.

The town square appears in the Nov 2003 SCS Urban Land Institute Report and NCPC's March 2005 SCS brochure.


--- "Judy S. Feldman" <jfeldman@savethemall.org>

> Hi Doug,
> Lots of things are on the table in our thinking...
> Judy
> >Dear NCSOM:
> >
> >What about the South Capitol Frederick Douglass
> Mall?
> >
> >What happened to that is a testimony to what's
> wrong
> >with our "leadership".
> >
> >Douglas Willinger
> >http://wwwfreespeechbeneathUSHS.blogspot.com
> --
> Judy Scott Feldman, Ph.D.
> Chairman
> National Coalition to Save Our Mall
> http://www.savethemall.org
> http://www.nationalmall.net
> 301-340-3938/ 301-340-3947 (fax)
> jfeldman@savethemall.org

From their organization's web site:


About Us

Board of Directors

Judy Scott Feldman, Ph.D.
Email: jfeldman@savethemall.org

Vice Chairmen
W. Kent Cooper, FAIA
George H.F. Oberlander, AICP

Lisa Benton-Short, Ph.D.

Susan G. Mulhall, C.P.A.

Charles I. Cassell, FAIA
George Idelson
Email: gidelson@verizon.net
Thomas C. Jensen, Esq.
George Peabody, Ph.D.

Director Emeritus
John R. Graves
Email: cpljohngraves@juno.com

National Coalition to Save Our Mall
P.O. Box 4709
Rockville, MD 20849

National Coalition to Save Our Mall, a 501(c)(3) citizens’ organization founded in 2000, works to protect and enhance the integrity of the National Mall. The National Coalition to Save Our Mall is an organized voice for the public as we wrestle with divided jurisdiction and is a public voice in Mall matters. Our Coalition advances its goals through public advocacy. We hold public forums and presentations to educate audiences and identify the Mall’s needs; provide testimony on Mall topics; maintain a website with relevant historical resources and current-issue information; and put out regular email updates on timely issues.

Our recent proposals for improving the Mall’s value to the nation and the city include Mall expansion—an idea that has found support in Congress, the media, and the public—to accommodate new museums and public uses [emphasis added] so the Mall can continue to evolve as a great national gathering place and vital urban park. The last time our nation prepared a comprehensive vision for the entire Mall was in 1902. Our Coalition has called for a congressionally chartered commission of prominent Americans to prepare a vision and framework plan for the Mall as a whole, updating the 1902 McMillan plan.

We welcome your participation. Please contact us for more information.

The National Mall is one of the country’s most symbolic landscapes, a major destination for visitors from the U.S. and around the world, and a major urban park for DC residents. Oversight of the Mall is divided among 6 government agencies and 8 Congressional committees.

Judy Scott Feldman, PhD, Chair and President
301-340-3938 jfeldman@savethemall.org

'To expand, again, in its Third Century'

Judy Feldman and her organization would not actively oppose the placement of the Nationals Ballpark Stadium that blocks the South Capitol Mall's eastern portion, even though they would be most active in opposing the WW2 Memorial.

Cover: U.S. NCPC's 1997
"Extending the Legacy: Planning America's Capital for the 21st Century"

South Capitol Mall at M Street

South Capitol Mall at the Anacostia River

This lack of activity was not due to them being un-informed, as I contacted her on numerous occasions attempting to get her and her organizations on board, including at the December 2005 Christmas Party of the Committee of 100 held at the Perry Belmont Mansion- headquarters of the Masonic Order of the Eastern Star.

Judy Feldman, along with other members of this organization are also members of the highly over-rated "Committee of 100 on the Federal City" ostensibly formed to promote better planning for Washington, D.C, founded in 1924 by Frederic Delano.

Frederic Delano was brother in law (married to the sister of the wife) of Edward Burling, railroad industry attorney who co-founded the powerhouse Washington, D.C. law firm Covington & Burling, an old ally of the Committee of 100, and the entity that represented Major League Baseball in locating the Nationals BallPark Stadium blocking the South Capitol Mall.

Committee of 100 Opposed Extending the Legacy

Non Responsive Washington, D.C. "E" Groups Like Cadavers

Non Informative "E" Groups

The Un Reporting 2003+

The Un Reporting 1996+

Why Was Not The Public Informed?

South Capitol Mall Sell Out - Frederic Delano 'Family'

Nationals BallPark Stadium Committee of 100 2002 Response

Who Got Involved

SW Portion of South Capitol Mall Still Doable

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Un Fulfilling Legacy

From: H-Net Staff <hbooks@mail.h-net.msu.edu>

Luca Molinari, Andrea Canepari, eds. The Italian Legacy in
Washington D.C.: Architecture, Design, Art, and Culture. Milan
Skira, 2007. 213 pp. Illustrations. $70.00 (cloth), ISBN

Reviewed by Mimi Godfrey
Published on H-DC (November, 2008)
Commissioned by David F. Krugler

Unfulfilling Legacy

This is a handsomely produced, thought-provoking volume, full of fascinating detail and lushly photographed--but one that will ultimately frustrate all but the most forgiving readers. Coedited by Luca Molinari, a practicing architect and professor of architecture at the University of Naples, and Andrea Canepari, First Secretary at
the Italian Embassy in Washington, it aims, in Molinaris words, to [give] recognizable form to some three centuries of American history as it has taken material form in large and small works that have shaped Washingtons physical and intellectual landscape (p.21). Arguing that Washingtons architecture illustrates the fruitful joining of Italian Classicism and American Pragmatism, the editors and contributors seek not only to document this interaction, but also to highlight the ongoing artistic and cultural relationships between Italy and the American capital (p. 21).

These ambitious goals would be difficult to achieve in any volume, but especially so here, given the parameters set by the books editors. Unlike many other American cities, Washington has never had a large population of Italian American immigrants or Italian nationals, and large numbers of Italians did not immigrate to the United States until the turn of the last century. (Full disclosure: this reviewer is half Italian-American, and has taken several Italian-language classes at Casa Italiana, one of the local cultural institutions briefly discussed in _The Italian Legacy_.) The many
contributions of Italians and Italian immigrants constitute a rich thread that brightens Washingtons history--but it is a thread, nonetheless.

The book labors mightily to prove its points, but its organization and emphases are initially difficult to ascertain. _The Italian Legacy_ alternates between wide-ranging articles (and some interviews) by Italian and American authors from a variety of
backgrounds, interspersed with photographic essays by distinguished architectural photographer Maxwell MacKenzie. Livio Sacchi and Mario Valmarana explore the weight of Palladian ideas and design on early American architecture, particularly on the designs of Thomas Jefferson; Margherita Azzi Visentini documents Italian elements in domestic buildings and gardens after the colonial period to the present. David Alan Brown and Maygene Daniels detail the Italian presence at the National Gallery of Art, covering not only John Russell Popes Classical design, but also the museums significant Renaissance holdings, largely the result of early donations by Andrew Mellon, Joseph Widener, and Samuel H. Kress. Classicist John E. Ziolkowski discusses Roman influences on the citys planning; Barbara A. Wolanin, office of the Architect of the Capitol, traces Italian design in the U.S. Capitol, especially in the
frescoes of Constantino Brumidi (180580), recently restored to eye-popping splendor. Ennio Caretto, correspondent with _Corriere della Sera_, lovingly traces the Italianness of the Washington area (p. 172), touching on such extraordinary men as Filippo Mazzei, who started an experimental farm in Virginia, wrote in support of the Revolution, and raised money for the new nations war chest; and Count Luigi Palma di Cesnola, Civil War hero, American consul to Cyrus, and an enthusiastic amateur archaeologist who became the first director of the Metropolitan Museum. (His collection of Cyprus artifacts now resides at Harvard University.) Caretto also
discusses more ordinary Italians and Italian Americans--the artists, stone cutters, and construction workers whose handiwork may be seen every day in Washingtons churches, public buildings, and Metro system. And he reminds us of the little-known, and shameful, episode of Italian internment during the Second World War, when some 600,000 Italians and Italian Americans were classified as enemy aliens, and
hundreds were interned in camps. (Caretto, echoing other estimates, believes as many as 3,300 Italian nationals and Italian Americans were interned.)

The photo essays highlight themes and topics from the articles, with beautiful layouts on Monticello and the James Barbour house in Virginia, also planned by Jefferson and now in ruins; the Italian-designed Watergate complex; the new Italian Chancery in
northwest Washington; John Russell Popes Jefferson Memorial; and Brumidis Capitol frescoes. A cluster of photo essays closes out the volume, featuring Holy Rosary Church and Casa Italiana, the center of Washingtons small Italian and Italian American communities; Villa Firenze, the Kalorama residence of the Italian
ambassador; and the equestrian statues sculpted by James Fraser, presented by Italy to the United States as a gift after the Second World War.

It is instructive to look at the offerings making up the core of the book--interviews with Giuseppe Cecchi, developer of the Watergate; Piero Sartogo, Roman architect and designer of the Italian Chancery; and Leo A. Daly, the Chancerys executive architect and engineer. An essay entitled Furnishing the Italian Chancery as a National Design Collection, by Nathalie Grenon, a designer employed by the
Roman firm Studio S.A.A., is included, illustrated with many pictures of her own creations. Thus, the books true emphasis, despite its dutiful attention to the historical, is on several of the volumes corporate sponsors (helpfully acknowledged at the front of the book, with their logos). Hence, we can understand the prominence given to Jeffersons plans for the Barbour villa, which sits on the grounds of corporate sponsor Barboursville Vineyards, while Jeffersons other important project besides Monticello, the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, is given a single paragraph of discussion and no illustrations. Likewise, the contribution of Italian stoneworkers to
the Washington National Cathedral--the subject of an award-winning documentary and a book by Smithsonian folklorist Marjorie Hunt--is mentioned only briefly and is a curious omission. At one level, this emphasis is only practical; and after all, the designs of today will be the historical heritage of the future. But the end result is that
the editors efforts to write, in essence, the history of Italys influence in Washington feel strained and scattered.

Moreover, this lovely volume suffers on several points of design and production. One important failing is in tone. The academics writing the historical essays seem to address an audience deeply familiar with Palladian architectural theory, and indeed with the history of architecture generally. Their contributions were apparently
translated into English from the Italian (a Milanese translator is credited on the copyright page, but it is not specified which essays he worked on, or what the degree of his involvement was). As a result, these contributions, particularly Visentinis, sometimes display an awkwardness of diction or phrasing which I attribute to
their original composition in a language other than English. By comparison, the essays by Wolanin, Caretto, and Brown and Daniels are models of clarity and focus, reading much more smoothly, and supplying brief definitions of terms or events when needed.

Thorough copyediting and continuity of design were needed here as well. Punctuation veers between Italian and American English conventions, and there is much variation in the rendering of dates. Given the technical nature of the material, a glossary and
bibliography might have aided the general reader. A comprehensive list of contributors at the back of the volume would also have been useful--some contributors have no affiliation listed.

Documentation is equally scattershot: some articles use endnotes, some have lists of works cited, some have no documentation at all. Endnotes are inconsistent in citation style or are incomplete. Given the desire of some authors to document sources, the editors might have opted to eliminate all notes in favor of a list of works cited for each essay, or imposed a simple form of citation such as MLA style, with a comprehensive bibliography at the end of the book.

Problems remain in the presentation of visual information as well. Many archival images (maps, diagrams, and some photographs) have been reduced to the point of illegibility. Captions tend to be inconsistent in format and quite laconic; images are not always credited; most pictures of buildings do not identify the direction
(north, south, etc.) from which the camera was focused. The contributions of Maxwell MacKenzie (whose name is rendered throughout, incorrectly, as Max McKenzie) must be surmised when photographs are not otherwise identified. And some of those
gorgeously produced photographs are oddly repetitive: there are several similar views of the Barbour plantation and Monticello, for example, and almost identical shots of the Jefferson Memorial at night--one a full-page spread, and one laid out over two pages. Text for the photo essays is uncredited, although one photo essay, on
Monticello, reproduces text from Livio Sacchis chapter Jefferson and Co.: The Influence of the Italian Architectural Culture in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. A full-page photograph of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Matthew, attributed to Archivio Skira, is misidentified as St. Marks (pp. 174-175). Besides correcting these errors, a comprehensive list of images at the back of the volume, with credits, would have been useful; images should also have been numbered and cross-referenced with the text.

The readership for this volume remains unclear to me. Certainly, _The Italian Legacy_ will be a source of genuine pride for members of the Italian diplomatic community and for those designers and architects who were involved in the most recent projects discussed here--the new Italian Chancery, the Watergate complex. The corporate sponsors can also be well satisfied with this testimony to the warm business and cultural relationships existing between Italy and the United States.
Students of architecture and design will find much here in the interviews with Cecchi, Sartogo, and Daly and in the essays by Grenon and Paolo Scrivano (on postwar Italian industrial design) to illumine the creative process and the realities of urban planning. However, historians, cultural critics, and students of Washingtoniana will
find this volume only whets their interest. Perhaps most seriously, the general reader will be dazzled by the visual beauties of this collection, but ill-served by its content.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Matthew Gilmore
list co-editor, web editor
http://www.h-net.org/~dclist/ [list website]
http://www.h-net.org/lists/subscribe.cgi?list=H-DC [subscribe to

Remember to check
for past list messages.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jesuitical Matthew Gilmore

The Contemporary RCC Attitudes Towards Blogs

Who would object?

Almost everyone that I have discussed this issue with thinks it is very reasonable to relocate St. Vincent de Paul Church a few hundred feet east to sit next to a new South Capitol Mall, (especially in contrast to moving Washington D.C.’s oldest extant synagogue 4 blocks to place it next to an on ramp onto an open depressed freeway.)

But I met at least one who would object.

Mathew Gilmore.

He formerly worked at the Washingtonian Division of the D.C. Martin Luther King Library, where we made each other’s acquaintance in 1997-98 with my research of Washington D.C.’s truncated freeway network. (I would become part of a panel Freeways in Washington that was held as a part of the October 1998 conference of the DC Historical Society). Gilmore and I met in the audiences of a number of Washington DC planning related events, including at such places as the National Building Museum.

St Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church
Washington, D.C.
at the northeast corner of the intersection of
South Capitol and M Streets

At the December 2005 event at the Cochran Gallery, Gilmore engaged in a conversation about the matter of the St. Vincent de Paul Church/NCPC’s South Capitol Mall concept conflict. He brought up the example of the Smithsonian Institute building which sticks into the Mall. But would not that look funny, since the Smithsonian only sticks a bit into the Mall? It does not extend so far as to interrupt the West Mall to leave only enough width essentially for a West Capitol Street. What about the symmetricy too? If so, what new buildings would get constructed to face St. Vincent de Paul Church from the west I asked why not simply shift the location of St. Vincent de Paul Church a few hundred feet east to continue to sit at the northeast corner of South Capitol and M? His answer was something like “no way”, and he would absolutely refuse to even begin to say why.

Afterwards I thought the following. Perhaps a compromise was not pursued because it may have been seen as highlighting the issue: imagine all the future references about how the South Capitol Mall was designed to be interrupted by St. Vincent de Paul Church. Of course that would not explain away the existence of the South Capitol Mall proposal that appeared in NCPC’s Extending the Legacy. However, far fewer people will have seen some 10, 20, 30 40 … year old government planning document then the physical reality seen everyday. And far, far fewer people will know about that once proposed South Capitol Mall with it being conveniently unmentioned in books articles and other mass media publications and releases. That’s the beauty of blogs. They provide a venue for people to write about the things that others dare not.

However this is something that I doubt that Mathew Gilmore would agree with, given his conduct as moderator of HNet. I figured, why not let the people of the list know about what was going on with the planning of the South Capitol Street corridor, particularly the "Mall" for South Capitol that was promoted by the U.S. National Capital Planning Commission "Extending the Legacy" program, yet unreported by the lamestream news media and the "environmentalist" organizations. So I sent to his his a notification of my web site about this matter for dissemination through the list serve (as such contains a good number of people from Washington, D.C.- including those interested in the history of the city's planning).

He sent me a reply that blogs were not good and that his History list serve has a policy of not citing blogs as a rule. Say what? A simple search of the MG H list reveals this was NOT so, as Gilmore included earlier blog cites from Richard Layman’s Urban Places Urban Spaces. According to Gilmore:

Blogs are “ephemeral”

The parallel are past release of new technologies for conveying The Word. Such as the printed – typeset – press, and such things as the Gutenberg Bible. According to William Durant’s historical volume: The Reformation:

In 1456 Gutenberg, with borrowed funds, set up another press. From this he issued, in that year or the next, what has been generally considered his first type-printed book, the famous and beautiful “Gutenberg Bible” a majestic folio of 1,282 large double-columned pages. In 1462 Mainz was sacked by the troops of Adolf of Nassau; the printers fled, scattering the new art through Germany. By 1463 there were printers in Strasbourg, Cologne, Basel, Augsburg, Nuremberg, and Ulm. Guttenberg, one of the fugitives, settled in Eltville, where he resumed his printing. He struggled painfully through one financial crisis after another, until Adolf gave him (1465) a benefice yielding a protective income. Some three years later he died.

Doubtless his use of movable type would have been developed by others had he never been born; it was an obvious demand of the times; this is true of most inventions. A letter written in 1470 by Guillaume Fichet of Paris suggests how enthusiastically the invention was welcomed: “There has been discovered in Germany a wonderful new method for the production of books, and those who have mastered the art are taking it from Mainz out onto the world … The light of this discovery will spread from Germany to all parts of the earth.” But not all welcomed it. Copyists protested that printing would destroy their means of livelihood; aristocrats opposed it as a mechanical vulgarization, and feared that it would lower the value of their manuscript libraries; statesmen and clergy distrusted it as a possible vehicle of subversive ideas.

(Durant p 159)

Mathew Gilmore’s stated attitude to me towards blogs and indeed the very issue of the conflict between St. Vincent de Paul Church and NCPC’s concept for a South Capitol Mall spurred would make me think. Why would someone into history adopt such a parochial rule that would be laughed at in hindsight? And why would someone take such a stance strictly against moving this church a few hundred feet east to accommodate the new park land keeping its historic positioning at South Capitol’s intersection on M Street SE, as if a traffic clogged 6 or 8 lane surface street with traffic lights and narrow sidewalks provides a more dignified setting then a park. Especially when Roman Catholic hierarchy has no problems demolishing church structures over the wished of the parishioners (and I have yet to see or hear any protesters demanding that St. Vincent de Paul Church should not be moved at all).

Such attitudes, and the fact that he is always dressed in black, as at Washington, D.C. events, and of course his photo on the HNet site, and that black is the mark of the clothing that mark of various Roman Catholic Church institutional orders, leads me to ask: does Mathew Gilmore belong to any such organization? Is he a Jesuit?

That is an organization with the mission of serving the Roman Catholic Church; that’s its best known mission. Less known is that this includes undermining protestant and independent thought? This is the sort of shit that would explain why our educational system blinks when it would come to teach the history of Europe throughout the 2 centuries leading up to our own 1776-1783 American war for independence: that is the Reformation and the Counter-reformation.

The Jesuits have a tradition of concern regarding the spread of the written word; from pp 923-924 of William Durant's The Reformation:

At various times the popes ordered the burning of the Talmud or other Jewish books. Wycliffe and later Protestant translations of the Bible were forbidden, as containing anti-Catholic prefaces, notes, and emendations.. Printing heightened the anxiety of the church to keep he members uncorrupted by false doctrines. The Fifth Council of the Lateran (1516) ordered that henceforth, no books should be printed without ecclesiastical examination and consent. Secular authorities issued their own prohibitions on unlicensed publications: the Venetian Senate in 1508, the Diet of Worms ad the edicts of Charles V and Francis I in 1521, the Parliament of Paris in 1542; and in 1543 Charles V extended the ecclesiastical control of publications to Spanish America. The first general index of condemned books was issued by the Sorbonne in 1544; the first Italian list by the Inquisition in 1545.

In 1559 Paul IV published the first papal Index auctorum et librorum prohibitorum (List of things Prohibited). It named forty-eight heretical editions of the Bible, and put sixty-one printers and publishers under the ban. No book that had been published since 1519 without bearing the names of the author and the printer a and the place and date of publication was to be read by any Catholics; and hereafter no book was to be read that had not ordained an ecclesiastical imprimatur – “let it be printed.” Booksellers and scholars complained that these measures would handicap and ruin them, but Paul insisted on full obedience. In Rome, Bologna, Naples, Milan, Florence, and Venice thousands of books were burned – 10,000 in Venice in a day. After Pauls’ death leading churchman criticized his measures as too drastic and indiscriminant. The Council of Trent rejected his Index, and issued a more orderly proscription, the “Tridentine Index” of 1564. A special Congregation of the Index was formed in 1571 to revise and republish the list periodically.
p 924

The censorship of books was laxly enforced until Paul IV entrusted it to the Inquisition (1555). That institution, first established in 1217 [at the time of the suppression and massacres of the Catharians], had lapsed in power and repute under the lenience of the Renaissance popes. But when the final attempt at reconciliation with the Protestants had failed at Ratisboon, and Protestant doctrines appeared in Italy itself, even among the clergy, and entire towns like Lucca and Modena threatened to go Protestant, Cardinal Giovanni Caraffa, Ignatius Loyola and Charles V joined in urging the restoration of the Inquisition. Paul III yielded (1542), appointed Caraffa and five other cardinals to reorganize the institution and empowered them to delegate their authority to specific ecclesiastics throughout ‘Christendom’. Caraffa proceeded with his accustomed severity, set up headquarters and a prison, and laid down rules for his subordinates.

1. When the faith is in question, there must be no delay, but on the slightest suspicion rigorous measures must be taken with all speed,

2. No consideration is to be shown to any prince or prelate, however high his station.

3. Extreme severity is rather to be exercised against those who attempt to shield themselves under the protection of any potentate. Only he who makes plenary confession should be treated with gentleness and fatherly compassion.

4. No man must debase himself by showing toleration toward heretics of any kind, above all towards Calvinists.

Paul II and Marcellus II restrained Caraffa’s ardor, and reserved the right of pardon on appeal. Julius III was too lackadaisical to interfere with Caraffa, and several heretics were burned in Rome during his pontificate. In 1550 the new Inquisition ordered the trial of any Catholic clergyman who did not preach against Protestantism. When Caraffa himself became Paul IV, the institution was set in full motion, and under his “superhuman rigor,” said Cardinal Seripando, “the Inquisition acquired such a reputation that from no other judgment seat upon earth were more horrible and fearful sentences to be expected.’ …

Is this supposed to be good?

What business does someone favoring censorship have being a gatekeeper of historical information?

And we wonder why so many people are uneducated about the reformation, the counter reformation, and of course the continuing counter reformation.

Friday, October 03, 2008

My Temple Should Relocate

Washington, D.C.'s oldest Jewish Synagogue moved several blocks in 1969 to accommodate WMATA subway construction
and placed next to I-395

Regarding the Sept. 15 Metro article "Temple Traffic a Mixed Blessing," about parking problems for residents around the Rajdhani Temple in Chantilly:


I worship at this Hindu temple, and I have been involved in altercations with rude, dismissive drivers when I asked them not to park on the grass in a neighboring yard. It is great that the temple has grown, but the board and worshipers are missing an important lesson of Hinduism: tolerance and acknowledgment.

If your religious pursuit disrupts another's peace, you have learned nothing. The temple must move and implement better planning.

All this talk about the idols becoming "enlivened" through the process of "prana pratishta" is misguided. Hindu history is replete with examples of idols and temples being painstakingly disassembled and hidden during the many Muslim invasions and then being reassembled once the threat had passed. There are also examples of irrigation projects resulting in the moving of temples to new locations, so deities becoming "rooted to the spot" is just a matter of mind-set.





I agree with Rupashree Hicks.

I am a Hindu and a frequent visitor at the Rajdhani Temple. I love the serenity of the temple and find it calming to have darshan.

But, it is important that we are good neighbors. An alternative location, away from residential localities (I was actually surpised that zoning laws permitted a temple in the midst of the residential neighborhood). About moving the idols of the temple to a new spot, I am sure Hindu Dharma and Agama Shashtras will provide an answer to that.

9/28/2008 3:58:18 PM

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calexo wrote:

India's national highway systems, dams, irrigation canals have relocated many places of worship of several religions including those of Hinduism. It is silly to use any religious tenet to stand in the way of maintaining communal peace and harmony. Yes, all places of worship when they become nuisances to neighbors' preservation of peace and tranquility, ought to relocate.

9/26/2008 12:55:27 PM

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ramakrishnahosur wrote:

I agree with the comments of Rupashree Mjali Hicks. Many temples were submerged when dams were built and these are historic and sacred temples that went under.Temples have been relocated and worship started all over again at the new spot

9/26/2008 8:08:57 AM

Contrast that with the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church officials regarding the St Vincent de Paul Church not being moved to accommodate the South Capitol Mall.





Sunday, September 14, 2008

Appearances of Power

Ruminations Following
The Committee of 100’s December 12, 2005 Christmas Party

I attended a Christmas party they held, Monday December 12, 2005, that was open to the public. Despite receiving no reply to my requests regarding the Nationals Stadium/South Capitol Mall conflict, I received a timely response about this party from Committee of 100’s Barbara Zartman.

Here, I informed the Committee of 100 members by handing out notices about my web site “The Future of South Capitol Street”

Illustration: Barbara Zartman, Perry Belmont mansion

This party was held at a Beaux Arts mansion located in a well to do area on a triangle of land along New Hampshire Avenue a few blocks northeast of DuPont Circle
The Perry Belmont Mansion is one of Washington’s finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture. Designed by French architect Eugene Sanson [started in 1906] and completed in 1909, the house remains today much as it was when originally constructed and still contains many of the Belmonts furniture and objects d’art. Mr. Belmont was the grandson of Commodore Perry who negotiated the 1854 Treaty of Amity, which opened the ports of Japan for commerce. During the sixteen years that Jessie and Perry Belmont, who had served as US Ambassador to Spain, occupied the house, dignitaries from around the world were entertained there. The landmarked house was purchased in 1935 by the Order of the Eastern Star for use as its international headquarters. It serves also as the private residence of the Right Worthy Grand Secretary. The Order’s careful stewardship provides Washington with a remarkable example of its built heritage.

Formerly the Perry Belmont Mansion, it was started in 1906 and completed in 1909, at the then-extravagant cost $1.5 million. Perry and Jessie Belmont built the mansion for the specific purpose of entertaining not only notables of Washington, but also dignitaries from all over the world. The building was only used during the Washington party season (about two months each year) and special events. It was designed by Eugene Sanson, a famous French architect who had designed many grand homes and chateaus in Europe. He was renowned for his use of light and space, and for his beautiful staircases. Long before the acquisition of the building by the General Grand Chapter in 1935, it was a site of elegance, gracious and grand hospitality, of distinguished diplomats, world-renowned guests and romance.

The Belmonts entertained lavishly and had a staff of approximately 34 servants. They used the house from 1909 to 1925. It was then closed and put on the market for sale with the stipulation that it could not be altered for 20 years after purchase. The mansion stood empty and unused until 1935, when the General Grand Chapter purchased it. Mr. Belmont, being a Mason and happy to be selling it to someone who would take care of it, sold it to The General Grand Chapter for $100,000. As part of our agreement with Mr. Belmont, The General Grand Chapter law states the Right Worthy Grand Secretary must live in the Temple. So the building is still a working private residence as well as our headquarters. Many furnishings, including several Tiffany vases, 37 oil paintings, Louis the 14th and 15th furniture, china and oriental rugs were included with the purchase of the Temple and are still on display for our members and their guests to enjoy on tours. Chandeliers throughout are gold gilt and hung with hand-carved rock crystal drops – some with amethyst as well. There are eleven fireplaces, most with hand-carved marble mantles. All the marble in the house was brought from Italy, all the wood from Germany and all the metal fixtures from France.

That mansion, and Temple, is the Washington, D.C. International Headquarters of the Order of the Eastern Star: an organization of female relatives of Masons, and is adorned in three places with lit images of a Masonic pentagram – 5 pointed with 2 top points and 1 bottom point akin to that largely formed by the L’Enfant street grid near and north of the White House -- framed with the letters A L F A T. Note that a pentagram is identical in shape to the five-pointed star that is seen on numerous flags; it is called a pentagram because of its orientation.

The Order of the Eastern Star

This raised my eyebrows. Inside in the lobby, I would ask: “this sounds like secret societies” and receive the response: “no, rather societies with secrets.” OK. We will probably not know what’s being said inside, as true with inside about anything else; but the Order’s name and its pentagrams are clearly on display outside.

Rather, the secret is where and how any group extends its influence in the world secretively, seen but unseen. This location for the Committee of 100’s Christmas party suggests some connection or connections between the Committee of 100 and temporally organized (institutional) speculative Masonry. It’s unknown to this blogger if membership in such organized Masonry is mandatory for membership within the Committee of 100, or the extent or any details of any such connections and/or influence. It could suggest that the Committee of 100 is controlled by temporally organized speculative Masonry. In any event, since this is an order of wives and daughters of such Masons, it may be that this includes wives and daughters of such Masons who are members of the Committee of 100.

Inside, and upstairs around a buffet table, I was able to distribute copies of the home page of my South Capitol Street web site with its table of contents beneath the pair of stamps created to “commemorate” the radical changes to the South Capitol gateway planning at

Illustration: un-official 'commemoration'
of official South Capitol Street Gateway planning: 1997-2005

There, within this mansion of marble, around a table filled with good food and alcohol, I met a cross section of relatively tight lipped people seeming constrained by some invisible force. None of the above dozens of Committee of 100 members that I met at this Christmas party mentioned the Committee of 100’s opposition to Extending the Legacy, such as the 1996 letter to President Clinton.

It was as if these people knew that the Committee of 100 took a position that they were ashamed of. And from what I have a feeling, was a position achieved not through open discussion or spontaneous acclamation.

Nor is it a position touted on their web site. I have yet to find even a mention.

Perhaps this was some Committee of 100 rule against members discussing certain things publicly?

Or perhaps some other force, perhaps responsible for the general lack of public discussion and debate.

Perhaps that was something akin to at least 2 out of the three following things about the elections to the Order of the Eastern Star, written by Jessie M. Ayers, a Past Grand Worthy Matron, and a member of Miriam Chapter No. 4, Order of the Eastern Star, Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter, Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, who served as Grand Worthy matron in 1989, and was Grand Historian of the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter from 1971-1991:

Election to the degrees must be unanimous, without debate, and secret. [emphasis added]

Such reminds me a bit of experiences in our representative democracy, such as this with the Alexandria City Council and this at the U.S. National Capital Planning Commission with the sell out of the Washington Street Urban Deck.

Illustration: Masonic Tower- highest structure in Alexandria, Virginia

Washington, D.C.’s Union Station

To me, disappointment in official planning is symbolized with the dividing line at the rear of Washington, D.C.’s Union Station.

In front it is beautiful. To the rear it is ugly and divisive.

Why must that remain so?

Why not spread the monumental core beauty to do something about those open railyards?

Frederic Delano’s organizations were ostensibly set up to advance the monumental planning of Washington DC. for reasons readily apparent.

Though embarking upon that within and beyond the scope of the McMillan Commission, within with the Jefferson Memorial and beyond with the East Capitol Mall, these organizations would arguably assume another role: not that of extending the legacy, but rather truncating it for reasons other than those publicized. Both the East Capitol Mall – proposed from the late 1920s until the late 1950s or early 1960s -- and the concurrent era highway plans would be aborted to save residential neighborhoods- as testified by the still existing neighborhoods preserved between Constitution and Independence Avenues east of the Capitol, or along the routes of the un-built 1955 route for the Inner Loop. Yet these organizations would also reverse course when these reasons were not present, resting upon history telling that would be purposely vague history- much like the "reporting" on Extending the Legacy .

Building the Jefferson Memorial would effectively complete the City Beautiful of the McMillan Commission planning, while new Malls along East and South Capitol would extend it.

Not building the East Capitol Mall would preserve neighborhoods of 1000s of dwellings.

Not building the South Capitol Mall would serve to preserve a single building along South Capitol Street- the St Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic at the intersection with M Street. It would also dubiously “preserve” neighborhoods nearby those nearby which are nonetheless shown removed and replaced with denser development.

Highway planning greatly reduced impacts over the years, thereby minimizing neighborhood savings while sacrificing their potential traffic effectiveness for a funds transfer to sped WMATA construction by a few months, with no compensation of increased capacity- e.g. 4 track rather then only 2 track segments, since the WMATA system was planned to coexist with the freeways.

Neighborhood preservation was served in DC by replacing the 1959 plan with the 1962 plan, and the 1965 and later plans for the cross town I-66 K Street Tunnel.

Neighborhood preservation was not necessarily served in Bethesda MD with canceling the NW freeway given that most of downtown Bethesda was torn down and replaced with denser transit oriented development.

By 1971, the freeway system design reduced displacement from perhaps 20,000 to roughly 1,100, mainly for the segment connecting the Center Leg/ 3rd Street Tunnel (600+), plus 172 for the northern segment of the East Leg, and 148 for the westerly connection to the K Street Tunnel. (As I see it, the 600+ figure is reducible to roughly 34 with superior geometry). For the North Central Freeway, this was a drop from 2,300-4,000 of the 1963-64 study, to 59 for the I-95 PEPCO route considered in 1971 and 1973.

The popularization of the idea of simply canceling the Washington, D.C. freeway system to further fund WMATA came largely in response to the planning that came after the effective cancellation of the Northwest Freeway.




The Kennedy Administration’s basic concept was of a B&O “Y” route North Central – Northeast Freeway employing DC’s sole northern radial industrial transportation corridor conveniently located about midway between the Potomac River and Maryland’s eastern Beltway, as a replacement for the 3 separate freeways of the 1959 plan; Kennedy's plan was politically undermined by a planning report released October 1964 with NCF routes on an upwards of 37 possible alignments, NONE tightly along the railroad as the Kennedy Administration prescribed; instead a “recommended route” -- #11 “Railroad East- Sligo – with its longer less direct deviation through TP MD destroying 471 houses, would poison public sentiment, and despite the subsequent 1966 report for B&O low level route, was continually brought up as being officially preferred by government officials until the late 1960s as cheaper. Such actions fueled such strictly anti freeway attitudes popularizing the idea of cancelling the highway in order to transfer their funds to mass transit projects, neglecting that the 1960s planning included both freeways and the WMATA rail system, that the officially proposed freeway system underwent significant design to reduce impacts- most significantly with cross town I-66 replacing the open trench and elevated along Florida Avenues and between U and T Streets with the K Street Tunnel espoused by NCPC’s Elizabeth Rowe before opposing it and all the other un-built proposed freeways following the 1973 OPEC oil embargo with a perspective strictly equating auto use with petro use, leading to the abandonment of the private auto by the 1990s.

Ignoring design changes in favor of emotional pitches became sufficiently dominant to get people within Washington, D.C. to allow their freeway funds to be transferred for mass transit segments outside the District and beyond the Beltway while becoming so excited about “transit” to thus not ask why the WMATA Red line through a full tunnel in NW, would be built with only a few hundred feet of such, being built relatively cheaply by being on the surface or elevated upon a berm, maintaining and expanding the existing railroad – established cir. 1863 – with no talk of lowering this railroad and covering at least some portions, nor even finishing this railroad’s concrete wall – required by this transit line’s added width to the railroad – in the Takoma DC area. This sort of distraction would apparently surface to have rewarded the local activists with a lack of any formal guarantee for the green space preservation at the Takoma WMATA station, with apparently no one objecting to the Committee of 100’s transfer of DC freeway funds away rather then to additional transit capacity such as more 4 track segments.

This strict mentality here results in a Washington, D.C. with no grade separated vehicular highway connection from the general north within the entire Capital Beltway axis from Route 50 at 3 o’clock, counter clock wise and into Virginia to the GW Parkway and to I-66 at 9 o’clock, neither allowing trucks, which are allowed on I-395 at 7 o’clock. This shifts traffic to the SE Maryland portion of the Capital Beltway, including its Woodrow Wilson Bridge crossing of the Potomac River. It likewise shifts traffic to I-295 through the least affluent areas of D.C., eventually running alongside the Anacostia River. It leaves NE bisected by a significant surface railway.Not building the “Y” route North Central Freeway undermines national security.

In conjunction with the lagging interest of the planning organizations at covering the Anacostia Freeway, it serves as a textbook example of environmental racism.

Indeed, such is so with the 2 radials of the WMATA Red Line, with its NW segment fully tunneled, and with its NE segment upon a surface railroad.

With both the Committee of 100 and the USNCPC were touted as advancing the classical planning of the L’Enfant and McMillan commission planning, what thus compelled the Committee of 100 to abandon its support of reasonable highway design concepts for greatly minimizing footprint needs, such as building inside the Beltway Virginia I-66 via the existing Rote 50 corridor rebuild to full freeway specifications, and building the DC Center Leg via cut and cover tunnels beneath 2nd and 3rd Streets, in favor of schemes to have all vehicular traffic pass by residential driveways by making do with the surface streets (wasting times and increasing vehicular-pedestrian conflicts yet passed off as being pedestrian friendly), such as what NCPC did in 1968 with its outright cancellation of the NC/NE Freeway.

Interstate Traffic from the North

With respect to interstate traffic moving into the metropolitan area from the north on I-70S and I-95, vehicles with destinations beyond the District clearly should be diverted around the beltway. Interstate traffic with destinations within the District has options that are obviously as satisfactory as such traffic finds in any metropolitan system. The interstate system -- as a city to city system -- gives no assurance of freeway access to the heart of the central city. Both I-70S and I-95 traffic can move down the same arterial street network used by the commuters, and presumably a large part of this interstate traffic will be at non-peak hours.

I-95 traffic can be channeled over a short jog on the beltway to the Baltimore Washington Parkway for a penetration into the District over that route. Three options would be provided for this interstate traffic with downtown destinations -- via Kenilworth Freeway, via the proposed new Anacostia Parkway, and via New York Avenue (which is being improved as a major entrance into the Nation's capital from the east). Additional capacities to handle this I-95 traffic, of course, will of course be needed on the beltway and the Baltimore Washington Parkway. (An alternative would be a new highway in Maryland that would bring I-95 directly into the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at or near the Kenilworth interchange.)

The Commission believes that these facilities can adequately provide for interstate traffic from the north with central area destinations. The construction of a freeway to the north (in addition to the string of major surface streets) in order to accommodate interstate traffic would simply open up another arterial gateway for the suburban commuter. This the Commission rejects as both unnecessary and undesirable. (pp. 31-32)

It certainly served a more emotional rather then logical agenda, as a useful distraction from growing budgets for war, and does so continually the ECTC morphed into a NCTC which held national conferences on the problems of urban freeways and automobiles in general 1969-1973, disbanding with Maryland’s July 16, 1973 cancellation of the PEPCO I-95 connector effectively ending anticipation of a B&O route within D.C., as if the oil crisis was meaningless for a group set up with an expanded mission. Hence, the politics of D.C.’s freeways serves matters have little or nothing to do with those included in slogans.

And it ensures that no highway would not only through Archibold-Glover Park alongside Georgetown University, or pointing at at with a Three Sisters Bridge, but that they would not go anywhere near Catholic University of America, nor near or through the property of the Order of the Eastern Star home on New Hampshire Avenue just northeast of the B&O railroad near the Maryland line.

The I-395 Center Leg would be truncated alongside Georgetown University Law Center.

Washington, D.C. Freeway System: 1970s

Illustration: From Scott Kozel's www.roadstothefuture.com

Illustrations: I-95 routes

Washington, D.C. remains divided by surface rail- interest lags in covering railroad, though sometimes proposed for are near and south of Michigan Avenue idea was only considered for area to north alongside CUA in the 1966 NCF supplementary study, disappearing from the 1971 plan.

That something is powerful enough to pull the strings with regards to Extending the Legacy is evident not only with how the South Mall was unreported through consistent widespread mis-wording -- always a boulevard or gateway but not explicitly a greenway-- but also with the disappearance of another one of its projected extensions of the legacy with a depressing and coving of the rail yards emanating northward from behind Union Station; according to Richard Layman, this idea was promoted by NCPC consultant Tony Simon, AICP; it would be pulled.

Who ordered its removal?

Apparently someone at the top of the pyramid detests the shape of a comet poised at the “head” of the entity represented by the street grid?


It does appear that they will cover the area with buildings- whatever it takes to mute the monumental thrust of the Union Station - Grand Arc axis.

Considering the St Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church’s influence and the dynamics of the South Capitol Mall’s across the board non-reporting, I wonder about this plausible Vatican-Masonic alliance at play in this drama, with a Committee of 100 controlled/constrained by some entity of organized Masonry, which in turn is controlled by some entity from the Roman Catholic Church?

At South Capitol and M Streets SE

They are linked- explaining alliance dynamics of a St. Vincent de Paul Church that effectively blocked the South Capitol Mall as a Roman Catholic Church, being conceivably defended at all costs not only by the archdiocese of Washington and the Vatican, but also Masonry regarding any decisions as to its future.

Both are undeniably long involved in the planning of Washington, D.C., marked by such writings as “Rulers of Evil” by Tupper Saussy, and “The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.", by David Ovason

Both are undeniably sufficiently big to pull this off, as something big influenced the media coverage, ordering its reporting to avoid words as greenway, linear park, promenade or mall, but rather boulevard, and with the stadium, pushed through via the Jesuit connected head of D.C.’s Sports and Entertainment Commission with that law firm since 1981 located at 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, Covington and Burling.

Given the Masonic order’s various uses of the compass and square – architectural tools – one can reasonably ask what can be said that has been mainly left unsaid about Masonic order influence in Washington D.C. and area planning today? It’s established that those belonging to Masonic orders have contributed significantly with the planning, most notably George Washington, and U.S. Senator McMillan who gave his name to the McMillan Commission, which extended the National Mall westward past the Washington Monument via new landfill for 500 feet giving us the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.

So what about the “Committee of 100 on the Federal City” a private organization, along with the U.S. National Capitol Planning Commission?

Both were founded by Frederic A. Delano, member of the first board of the Federal Reserve, uncle to 32nd U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and brother in law (by being married to sisters from the same family) to Ed Burling, a Chicago railroad industry firm, who came to Washington, D.C. to join Georgetown Law professor, ex- U.S. Congressman Frank Harry Covington, to found Covington & Burling.

Of this Frederic Delano family, these three entities have played their significant role in the planning of Washington, D.C., both individually and in concert- the latter marked by numerous appearances of an alliance including the two private entities: the Committee of 100 and Covington & Burling, and often including the Jesuit Order run Georgetown University Law Center (Law School).

Was perhaps the South Capitol Mall an issue discussed here with C. Fred Kleinknecht’s meeting with the Vatican?


“Similarly, Fred took unprecedented steps to heal misunderstandings between Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic Church. Through personal conferences with high Vatican officials in Rome and in Washington, he set the cornerstone for building cordial relations between the two great institutions."

C. Fred Kleinknecht was Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of the U.S. for 18 years; he retired in 2003. A book "Valley of the Craftsman" about Masons, including the time of Kleinknecht's service, has a chapter titled PILLARS OF CHARITY 243 Extending the Legacy 1985-2001.

NCPC 2001 "Memorials and Museums"

2001 was the year of the final appearance in an U.S. NCPC publication of the full South Capitol Mall concept that had been championed by the 1990s "Extending the Legacy"program.

Cover: U.S. NCPC's 1997
"Extending the Legacy: Planning America's Capital for the 21st Century"
with un-named South Capitol Mall

Extending the Legacy South Capitol Mall
Angled Roadways

What they are doing instead

Rather then move this church 250 feet east

Relocated St Vincent de Paul Church next to South Capitol Mall

Washington, D.C.'s oldest Jewish Synagogue moved several blocks in 1969 to accommodate WMATA subway construction
and placed next to I-395

NCPC 2001 "Memorials and Museums"
close up
showing church like building suggestive of the idea of a few hundred foot relocation of St Vincent de Paul Church

Alas the Roman Catholic Church is nowhere near as civic-minded.


Kleinknecht wrote the forward to David Ovason's The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.

“As above, so below.” These words, attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, lie at the heart of the Western esoteric tradition. In brief, they mean that the universe and all it contains is reflected in some manner not only on Earth, but also in man ad his works. The chief quest of all ages has been man’s attempt to understand the mystery of existence and to find his place in it. He keenly observed the movement of the stars, as we read in Genesis 1:14, “for signs, and for seasons.” Not only have the stars guided the traveler on the earth and seas, but their constellations are archetypes that have been viewed as guides for the lives of men and nations.

In this fascinating and well-researched book, David Ovason presents the remarkable thesis that Washington, D.C., is a city of the stars. He demonstrates that there are over 30 zodiacs in the city, and that the majority of them are orientated in a meaningful way. Even more astonishing is to learn that these zodiacs were designed to point to the actual heavens- this marrying the Capital City with the stars. This discovery parallels the recent finding in Egypt that the three Great Pyramids correspond with the three stars in Orion’s belt, while the Nile River occupies the same relative position as the Milky Way. [emphasis added] It is still debated whether this was intentional, yet the correlation is undeniable. Similarly, the assignment, position and meaning of Washington, D.C.’s zodiacs bespeak a relationship between heaven and earth.

Recent scholarship, such as Steven C. Bullock’s Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840 (University of North Carolina Press, 1996), demonstrates the undeniable influence Freemasonry exerted on the American system of government and lifestyle. Aware of these influences, David Ovalson discovered what may be Masonic influences in the architecture and the layout of the city. He does not assert that all of his correspondences or discovered secrets were laid down by Masons, but there is some support for his argument in documents preserved by Masons, but there is support for his arguments preserved in the Achieves and Library of the Supreme Council, 33rd degree, Southern Jurisdiction. As in other Scottish Rite Blue Lodge (“Symbolic” or “Craft”) rituals, Albert Pike’s Book of the Lodge contains recommendations for decorating the lodge ceilings with constellations and planets. The star map, which is painted on the ceiling, is replete with Masonic symbolism that was influenced by French designs in the early 19th century.

The astonishing thing is that Pike’s ceiling design reflects precisely the same mysteries observed by David Ovason in this book. These mysteries relate to the constellation Virgo. Pike’s map is entirely schematic- which is to say that it does not reflect the actual position of the stars in the heavens. (Leo could in no way be represented as following Ursa Majoris, for example). Even so, Pike is very clear in allocating his symbolic placing of planets and stars. For example he places the full Moon between the constellations Scorpio and Virgo. This means that the full Moon between the constellations Libra, and the star Spica is just above the lunar crescent.

What does that mean to us? The star Spica happens to be the one that David Ovalson has shown to be the symbolically linked with both Washington, D.C. and the United States as a whole. As the reader will learn, Ovason also suggests that this star may be the origin of the five-pointed star that adorns the American flag. He also suggests that Spica may have been the origin of the Blazing (or Flaming) Star of Freemasonry.

Certainly, it would be far fetched to draw too many conclusions for a schematic map, but it is evident that Pike visualized his star map as marking the setting of Virgi, along with the constellation of Bootes, to the north. This is precisely the cosmic setting that David Ovason suggests represents the secret star plan of Washington, D.C.. While Pike engineered a schematic time for his star map, Ovalson shows that it relates to a number of days centering upon August 10 of each year. The significance of this and other “mysteries” is fully explored in this work. In view of the meanings that may be traced in Albert Pike’s map, we can only wonder if he observed the same correspondences of the city, noted by Ovalson, yet for reasons of his own never divulged them.

In any case, David Ovason presents us with a fascinating work that will be sure to captivate and entertain readers interested in architecture, esotericism, Freemasonry, and our nation’s capital. His thesis may be controversial, but it is well thought out and presented.

Ovason says some interesting things about the constellation map with regards to the celestial triangle of the Capitol, the White Hose and the Washington Monument, and hence, the Federal Triangle:

The interesting thing is that this stellar triangle was evidently intended to remain invisible. It is a stellar figure that we know is there, yet which remains hidden from our sight. Below on the earth, its equivalent form, the Federal Triangle, is plainly visible, with Pennsylvania Avenue as its longest side. Since the Constitution Avenue line of the Federal Triangle represents the ecliptic, the implication is that Pennsylvania Avenue was intended by L’Enfant and Ellicott as a sacred route, with its celestial equivalent as invisible pathway in the skies.

Perhaps it is clear now why the symbol makers and architects of Washington, D.C. concentrated their efforts on zodiacal symbols which reflect so deeply the arcane nature of the stellar Virgin? Perhaps it is clear now why the idea of an earthly triangle – encapsulated in the phrase Federal Triangle – should reflect this stellar form on the earth plane?

From the very beginning, the city was intended to celebrate the mystery of Virgo – of the Egyptian Isis, the Grecian Ceres and the Christian Virgin. This truth – and this truth alone – explains the structure of the city, and the enormous power of its stellar symbolism. Washington, D.C., is far more then a city of zodiacs – it’s a city which was built to celebrate a massive cosmic symbolism, expressed in stars. Its the main buildings – Capitol, White House and Washington Monument – mark on the Earth the annual renewal of that magical pyrotechnic display in the skys, which occurs on the days around August 10. (page 344)

From whatever direction one approaches the history of Washington, D.C., the processional avenue of L’Enfant seems always to find its way into the story, and the tale is usually linked with Masons. If we glance at the history of the capital from the viewpoint of, say, sculpture, we find a seamless fabric which joins together generations of artists through almost two centuries. And, this is a fabric woven in the vicinity of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Today, the Old Post Office is set back from Pennsylvania Avenue, oriented to the squares drawn on the original map along D Street, as though some planner had forgotten about what L’Enfant had indicated on his map. Across the road is the beaux arts building that once housed the most influential newspapers in the city, the Washington Evening Star, its fa├žade still looking down onto the statute of Benjamin Franklin, who occupies the triangular-shaped declivity in Pennsylvania Avenue. It is entirely fitting that this building, so intimately linked with a setting star, should look onto one of the most influential of early American Masons, one who had knowledge of the stars and was a keen astronomer. The sculpture, commissioned of Jacques Jouvenal as a gift to the city by the newspaper proprietor Stilson Hutchins, was designed to look onto Pennsylvania Avenue from 10th Street [note. It sits on the south-eastern corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street], because in those days the avenue was flanked by printers and newspapers: within a stones throw was the largest litho printer in the United States. Now the printers and newspaper have fled in the wake of threatened and actual development, leaving Franklin, displaced from his original symbolism, raising his right hand as though astonished in their disappearance. Nonetheless, there seems to be a destiny even in accidents, and this placing of a Mason on one side, and a building named after an evening star, is propitious.

The Evening Star departed its famous building in 1955, leaving only its stellar name in metallic and lapidary inscriptions overlooking the Pennsylvania frontage. The reception hall of the newspaper has been revamped in modern times, but it is possible that a meaningful symbolism has survived from earlier days. In its marble floor is a huge sunburst, or starburst pattern. The five splendid radiants throw their beams out toward this magical avenue, as though he were part of the profound secret of Washington, D.C. [emphasis added] (pp 311-312)

Does the state of Franklin, on its pedestal below the campanile, hold up its hand in amazement of this solar wonder? (page 344)

This is the same Benjamin Franklin statute that faces diagonally across the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 12th Street NW to the Covington & Burling building at 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Ovason discusses The Evening Star building that sits to Ben’s right (3’o clock); but he altogether ignores the identity of that which he faces.

If one were to draw a line from the door of the lobby of The Evening Star to this Franklin statute, its mirror line goes towards the northeast rear corner of this Covington & Burling building. His upheld hand points into this building, as do his eyes.

From my perspective of being perhaps the only person writing about the betrayal of the South Capitol Mall, this juxtaposition is quite ironic, given the Covington & Burling law firm’s role in the Nationals stadium deal since at least as early as 2002, on behalf of Major League Baseball in negotiations with lawyers representing the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and its Chairman, Mark Touhey.

Definitely buy and read “The Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.

Video of intersection from Save the Capital City