Maryland University Abandoned Washington DC by Thomas Kenning Homework I will upload the picture of the book you need to read once you take it. Just follow the requirements I give you and write the essay. Abandoned Washington D.C. Assignment Instructions
DUE: Friday, December 6th
History is all around you, including in your own backyard. In this assignment we will explore
historical “ruins” in D.C. itself and think about how some of the historical changes we’ve
discussed throughout the class have impacted your own community.
In Thomas Kenning’s Abandoned Washington D.C., the table of contents shows 13 chapters.
You will read the first 12 chapters. (“Washington, Abandoned Without End” is just a brief
Once you have read all the articles, pick any one article about one of the locations and think
about the following questions as you write your two page double-spaced reflection paper.
(Same format as your short papers — no headers –but you can include a creative title.)
Your paper should begin with one paragraph explaining the history of the ruin, before moving
onto addressing the questions below. (You don’t have to explicitly answer all of the questions
below, they’re meant more to guide your thinking.)
Questions to think about:
What historical forces acted upon this site to make it a “ruin” today?
Based on what you’ve learned so far in this course, does what happened to the site you’re
writing about remind you of any other instances in American history? Make the
connection to something we’ve learned in this course.
● Do you think what happened to this site are a positive or a negative development?
Feel free to include your personal opinion (especially if you know of the place or live near it,)
but this is a reflection paper, not an opinion paper. Keep it academic, your personal opinion
should be kept at a minimum. Your paper should be a proper essay where you blend all of the
above elements together. Don’t just summarize the article you read or present a series of
bullet-point answers to the questions.
THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS OR EXTENSIONS TO THIS FINAL EXAM – if you do
not submit it by Friday, December 6th at 8:10am, your exam grade will be 0.
he weight of history bears down upon the earth, the foundations of our present
sinking deeper below the surface with each passing year. Our memories are a
modified, imperfect form of the past, fractured and changed by the passage of time.
Maybe some of our landmarks should be handed down in the same condition.
This book documents my modest efforts to explore disused, abandoned, and decaying
structures in the Washington, DC metro area.
There’s a thrill to be found in venturing to places we’re not supposed to be. I’d be
lying if I said that wasn’t part of what draws me to urban exploration.
Seeking another side to the city that I call homea mirror DC unimagined by the tourist
throngs and rarely glimpsed even by native Washingtonians I began to document the
sites that fill these pages in the summer of 2011. DC is small, so I did, and still do, most
of this adventuring on bike or on foot. To this day, whenever I need a quiet minute and
a bit of perspective, I make my rounds.
So there are some adventure stories between these covers, as well as my favorite
photos of abandoned DC. But maybe more to the point, I love urban exploration
because it offers us the opportunity to meditate on some very fundamental questions
about who we are—what it means to live in a city, all bunched up and sharing space
with lots of other people, for example. How do we remember the past through its
remnants in the cityscape around us? What kind of urban spaces do we aspire to
inhabit in the future? More than a catalogue or even a guide, this volume is meant to
be a meditation, examining the patterns of life, past and present, which undergird life
in our nation’s capital.
This isn’t a guidebook, you will probably notice. For better or worse, a few of the sites
featured in these pages are currently under redevelopment as part of DC’s current real
estate boom. Of the sites that remain in what we might call a state of nature, most, like
the capitol columns, are marked clearly on tourist maps. Others, like the crumbling
edifice of the portico once supported by those columns, are a little trickier to reach, as
strictly speaking, they are off limits to the public.
By way of encouragement to those determined to do their own exploration, know that
there are enough pieces of the puzzle out there that each and every one of these ruins
can be found without too much difficulty. I wouldn’t want to spoil that riddle for anyone
else, nor would I care to see these sites overrun by casual thrill seekers who might upset
their blissful obscurity. Sadly, a steady flow of vandals and other questionable characters
is already taking its toll at the former Forest Haven Mental Health Center, where there
are now routine patrols by security guards.
If you do go visit these or any other decaying sites, remember that what you are doing
is often of questionable legality and safety. I urge you to be careful, be respectful, take
nothing but photos, and above all, tread lightly-leave things as you found them so that
the next explorer can share that same thrill of discovery. While you are out there, open
your eyes, open your ears, and open your mind you’ll be surprised at how stimulating
some crumbling stone, broken glass, and rotting wood can be.
May your explorations take you to the furthest reaches of yourself.
Aqueduct Bridge Abutment 9
East Portico of the US Capitol Building 22
Forest Glen Seminary 36
Forest Haven Mental Health Center 60
Holy Rood Cemetery 82
Klingle Road 97
McMillan Sand Filtration Site 113
New York Avenue
Ontario Theatre 152
Tidewater Lock 162
United Brick Corporation 170
Washington & Great Falls Electric Falls Electric Railway 179
Washington, Abandoned Without End 190
About the Author 192
AQUEDUCT BRIDGE ABUTMENT
he American landscape is littered with the detritus of failed commercial venture.
Those who dream of becoming rich but who miss the mark, of making it with that
one big idea that just doesn’t catch fire, rarely have the wherewithal to clean up
after themselves. The business of bygone Washington, DC lingers on in the form of vacant
storefronts, idled industry, and in the abutment of the Aqueduct Bridge. Like a corpse
stripped clean to pure white bone, it is enigmatic and therefore beautiful. Denuded of
its historic functionality, it is a mystery to modern eyes, like the most whimsical design
for a scenic riverfront park that you could ever dream.
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