British scientist James Smithson left a fortune to the country he soadmired but had never visited. His gift founded the Smithsonian Institution andbuilt the Smithsonian Castle. Today, the castle’s distinct Romanesque facadeglows warmly agains......more
British scientist James Smithson left a fortune to the country he soadmired but had never visited. His gift founded the Smithsonian Institution andbuilt the Smithsonian Castle. Today, the castle’s distinct Romanesque facadeglows warmly against the cool marble that dominates the National Mall. Yet thestory of the stones is just as remarkable as that of the building that theygrace. It was a boom-bust ride for the Seneca Quarry—the source of the redsandstone. The quarry saw its first developer die, filed for bankruptcy twice,suffered through floods and contributed to a national scandal that embarrassedthe Grant presidency and helped bring down the Freedman’s Bank. This is theuntold history of the quarry owners and emancipated slaves who toiled there andthe many people who work to this day to save Seneca. Join author Garrett Peckas he traces the unlikely story of the Smithsonian Castle and the SenecaQuarry.
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