Urban Legends & Historic Lore of Washington, D.C.

Staff Recommendation
  • Urban Legends & Historic Lore DC coverDid you know the Old Stone House on M Street in Georgetown was George Washington's surveying headquarters in 1791?
  • Were you aware that the city is built on a swamp?
  • What do the hoofs mean on equestrian statues around the city?
  • Have you heard that while Abraham Lincoln was touring Fort Stevens in 1864, a young Oliver Wendell Holmes ordered the President to duck down in very unflattering terms?

We've all heard variations on these stories.

Just one question: are they true?

D.C. tour guide and author Robert S. Pohl delves into these tales of historic lore and many others in his new book Urban Legends & Historic Lore of Washington, D.C. Pohl takes readers around hometown and official D.C. as he debunks the myths and lore surrounding the buildings, people, sports teams, and monuments of the city. There is even one section devoted to the area of Virginia located right across the Potomac.

Although the myths about D.C. make for great storytelling, the truth behind the myths is just as fascinating. In each case, Pohl opens with the legend, explains how it came to be and how much is factual, or not, about it. Each of these tales is concisely told, and the book reads quickly. Most of these I had read about; a few were new to me. Having read the book, I better understand the story behind Washington, D. C. legends and lore.

Whether you're a long-time resident, newcomer to the city, or simply curious, this book is an enjoyable read.

 -- Elisa Babel, Adult Librarian