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The Pyramids of Washington DC
January 13, 2012 8:46 AM   Subscribe

According to the National Building Museum's new exhibit on unbuilt DC, there have been lots of proposed pyramids on the National Mall that were never built, including memorials for Washington and Lincoln. Also, a proposed National Sofa.

A handful of other resources on unbuilt cities: iPhone app for exploring unbuilt New York City; Boston's ghost cloverleaf (previously); unbuilt California suburb; futuristic Cincinnati; unbuilt Providence; might-have-been Toronto.
posted by nonane (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is neat, thanks for posting. I know what I'm doing next time I'm in DC ...
posted by carter at 9:19 AM on January 13, 2012


And London.
posted by carter at 9:21 AM on January 13, 2012


The National Building Museum is way more awesome than it might sound at first glance (and free!).
posted by hoyland at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


More interesting unbuilt things:

Never Never Land, Florida attractions that were planned but never built (part of the fascinating site Florida's Lost Attractions).

An Entire City Under Glass (Google books view of 1970s Pop Sci article), a planned city in Alaska dubbed Seward's Success. An amusing pairing with Seward's Folly.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:29 AM on January 13, 2012


Arg. Borked the Lost Attractions link. Here it is.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:30 AM on January 13, 2012


hoyland: "(and free!)."

Not anymore (But still very much worth a visit)
posted by schmod at 9:32 AM on January 13, 2012


Seemed from the proposals that ancient Egypt was trendy back when memorials for Washington and Lincoln were being proposed. We did get a giant stone obelisk in the end.

I think my favorite part of the exhibit was Dolphin America, the embassy-hotel for a better understanding between humans and dolphins. (From 1989, of course.) I think they are still trying to build it.

The most horrifying was the proposal that would have extended the Potomac basin and submerged that whole green Mall area where people gather and make trouble these days.
posted by zennie at 10:16 AM on January 13, 2012


The most horrifying was the proposal that would have extended the Potomac basin and submerged that whole green Mall area where people gather and make trouble these days.

The Mall was created out of filled Potomac basin. The tidal basin is all that is left of the tidal wetlands.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:49 AM on January 13, 2012


I'd forgotten that part, The 10th Regiment of Foot. Did they really fill in that far east of where the Washington Monument is now? I thought the proposal was to bring the water in further, but maybe I had it wrong. Either way, it wouldn't have helped things ecologically.
posted by zennie at 11:50 AM on January 13, 2012


Yes, that part of the Mall was the bed of Tiber Creek which now runs through secret underground tunnels (I've seen them!).
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:23 PM on January 13, 2012


Here's some maps showing the old Tiber creek bed. Note some of the old plans called for diverting the creek into canals!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:30 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awesome, thanks for the map link! I was just trying (and failing) to look those up.

Wait-- how-- why did you see the tunnel?
posted by zennie at 1:14 PM on January 13, 2012


Arguably, Pierre L'Enfant's original plan for DC was never built. Grand Avenues traces the evolution of the plan for DC from L'Enfant's original vision through the modified version created by Andrew Ellicott that was actually implemented. I recommend it -- it's an interesting history of both L'Enfant and DC.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:58 AM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If anyone goes (and I need to get over there myself), don't miss the museum shop!
posted by QIbHom at 10:32 AM on January 18, 2012


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