Returns with 45 Free Walking Tours, September 29 Washington, DC (August 28, 2007) – WalkingTown, DC Fall Edition, a day of 45 free walking tours on Saturday, September 29, invites residents and visitors to uncover DC’s history and hear about plans for its future. The event offers an opportunity to follow professional guides and community leaders as they tell historic tales, point out architectural gems, and discuss current issues, all of which highlight the lively neighborhoods and rich heritage of Washington.
The WalkingTown, DC tour schedule is available, complete with meeting places, times, and tour lengths, at www.WalkingTownDC.org (call 202-661-7581 for more information or to request a brochure). Participants can browse the schedule, pick their favorite tours, and simply join the group at the specified time and place. Only a few require advance reservations, and every tour is free.
“Tourism is a pillar of Washington, DC’s economy. Local businesses and local jobs are dependent on the dollars brought to the area by tourists,” remarked Councilmember Kwame R. Brown, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “We pride ourselves on our cultural diversity and programs like Walking Town, DC offer visitors and residents an in-depth look at our heritage. We should do everything we can to encourage people to visit our great Capital.”
“WalkingTown is a terrific way to learn about the city’s diverse past – but also about its future,” says Linda Harper, Cultural Tourism DC executive director. “A number of tours highlight areas like Poplar Point, Shaw, and the newly named Capitol Riverfront, which are experiencing fundamental change. These will offer a new twist on hot topics like urban planning and community revitalization.”
Tours with this focus include:
DC EcoTour – Green Buildings (10 am – 1 pm, reservations required at 202-686-9813 or www.WholenessforHumanity.com): Tour LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified green buildings and learn how to reduce energy consumption and climate
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change emissions. Stop in at the National Geographic Society, United Nations Environment Program, and end with a free lunch at carbon-neutral Java Green café.Led by Greg Drury, executive director, Wholeness for Humanity.
Capitol Riverfront (10:30 am – 12 noon): Between the Anacostia River and the US Capitol Building, alongside construction of the Nationals’ ballpark, a new cityscape is emerging based on a unique history: the Capitol Riverfront. Explore The Yards, the Washington Canal and the new environmentally sustainable Canal Park. The tour ends with a boat ride along the river. Led by Michael Stevens, executive director, Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.
Barracks Row Revitalization Tour(3 – 4:30 pm): Winding down Eighth Street, SE, to the historic Marine Barracks and Navy Yard Gate, this tour showcases old buildings filled once again with vibrant shops and taverns. Learn about this revitalized historic corridor and stick around for the Barracks Row Oktoberfest. Led by Bill McLeod, former executive director, Barracks Row Main Street.
In addition, the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development presents tours in neighborhoods undergoing significant revitalization efforts. Down by the River: Walk the Anacostia Waterfront and Poplar Point focuseson the site of a new 70-acre waterfront park and residential and retail development, and Exploring the Hill East covers the campus of former DC General Hospital. “There are a million stories in Washington, and some of the best ones are in our neighborhoods,” said Neil Albert, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “Cultural Tourism DC has put together a slate of tours that will appeal to first-time visitors and life-long residents alike.”
History lovers can look for tours that offer new insight into Washington’s past:
Congressional Cemetery (1 – 1:45 pm): Begin outside the historic wrought iron gates and step back into the earliest days of the Federal City with the tombs of city founders such as William Prout, Griffith Combs, George Blagden, and Andrew McCormick.
Temperance Tour (1 – 4 pm): Visit sites related to the anti-alcohol movement that led to Prohibition. Start at the Cogswell Temperance Fountain, created by a California dentist who protested alcohol in the nation’s capital, and end with a toast of Prohibition at nearby Brickskeller bar. Participants should bring a Metro card. Led by Garrett Peck, author of The Prohibition Hangover.
Lincoln Assassination (7 – 8:45 pm): Shrouded in mystery, intrigue, and conspiracy, the assassination of the 16th president has fascinated Americans for 142 years. Relive a night that changed the history of a nation forever.
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Other WalkingTown highlights are:
Scandals, Scoundrels & Scallywags: The Seamier Side of Georgetown (9:30 – 11 am): 1870s Georgetown wasn’t known for its boutiques and restaurants. Join tour guide Bill Brown, portraying Police Officer Ernest W. Brown, as he walks his beat and recalls crimes, accidents, and homicides in lower Georgetown.
Get Back to your Roots: US National Arboretum (10 am – 12 noon): Take a hike through woods, meadows, and world-class gardens. Discover the history and botanical flora of the Arboretum on this two-hour, five-mile hike through its 446 acres. Led by Lynn Batdorf, US National Arboretum curator.
Washington Waterfront (4:30 – 6 pm): Southwest has been home to a diverse community of wealthy speculators, free blacks, and European immigrants. Learn the fascinating story of how urban renewal brought wholesale change in the mid-20th century and how the neighborhood reinvented itself.
The website, www.WalkingTownDC.org, offers suggestions for making the most of the weekend. Some general guidelines:
Participants are welcome to join as many tours as they like.
Tours are of varying length, and attendees should plan their schedule accordingly.
Both professional and amateur, less experienced guides lead tours (check each tour listing for details). Tours should be selected with this in mind.
Some tours are very popular and are expected to draw significant crowds.
Participants should consider taking Metrobus, Metrorail or Circulator to tours. Most tours are easily accessible through public transportation.
The use of alcoholic beverages is not permitted.
Dogs are not allowed on tours.
WalkingTown, DC will be held again next spring on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2008.
WalkingTown, DC is sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development, BB&T, Bell Architects, and DC Circulator. Media sponsors are WAMU-FM and www.dcist.com. Special thanks to Washington Walks and Metro.
Cultural Tourism DC is a nonprofit coalition of 185 arts, heritage, cultural, and community organizations throughout the capital. With partners in tourism, hospitality, government and business, Cultural Tourism DC promotes local culture and heritage as a tool for economic development. For more information, visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org or call 202-661-7581.