Washington’s birthday–a virtual tour of Mt. Vernon

Earlier this week I headed to Mt. Vernon. Not physically, but via Mt. Vernon’s Web site. I see lots and lots and lots of Web sites. Web site hopping is a great way to pass writing time. Mt. Vernon’s Web site is the Rolls Royce of sites. There is so much material that it’s easy to get lost in the wandering.

Details range from the reconstruction of a slave cabin to how to make Martha Washington’s Great Cake to every detail about George Washington’s house and gardens and his life, including before and after his presidency. In each section there are links that lead to more details. For example, when you go to the house and garden link there are other links to specific buildings. Each building has other links to more information. If you head to the Virtual Mansion Tour, you’ll find links to specific rooms in the main house. Each room of the house has more links. In the Large Dining Room, you can find out about the molding, the artwork, the furniture and the room’s purpose.

If you can’t make it to Mt. Vernon in person, spend some time at the Web site and you’ll think that you spent a week there. Besides that, you’ll know more about 17th and 18th century life in the U.S. than most people do. Did you know the Great Cake takes 40 eggs? I do now.

Each month there are special events. For Black History Month programs center around the contributions of the slaves who lived at Mt. Vernon and the lives they led. Here’s the page that details the history of slavery where George Washington was concerned.

The Wall Street District is Officially Historic

Every day I pay a bit of attention, not much, to what Wall Street is doing. I generally have a vague notion of what it means when I hear the Dow is up or down. Up is good. Down is bad. I think. Regardless of my fuzziness about finances, Wall Street’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places is something I can understand.

Consider this. Wall Street, the street not the district, was once a cow path the Dutch used when they first showed up in the 17th century to make a settlement next to the East River. Sometime in the district’s history, slaves were used to build a wall to keep out the Indians who were creating a ruckus by raiding. Once that was settled, and it was determined America was here to stay, this is where the Bill of Rights was adopted and George Washington was sworn in as the first president. If you head to Wall Street, besides listening for the sounds of fortunes being made or broken, look for the statue of Washington at the spot of his inauguration. Nearby, at 23 Wall St., J.P. Morgan’s old digs where he sat in his counting house counting out his money, so to speak, you can see evidence of the bomb that exploded there on September 16, 1920. Some people must not have been too happy with J.P. Morgan since the explosion was large enough that it killed 38 people and injured folks in the hundreds. There several other buildings of various styles that helped put this part of NYC on the historic places map.

For some more Wall Street information and details of America’s financial path, check out “Wall Street and Stock Market History” in A to Z Investments. Considering the state of the market this past week, I kind of think this photo by Alexander Marc Eckert on Flickr is apropos.