Cities and towns


The 1990 Census showed that some important demographic changes were taking place. Here are some results of the Census.
Re-ranking cities

1990 Census 1980 Census
1. New York City (1)
2. Los Angeles (3)
3. Chicago (2)
4. Houston (5)
5. Philadelphia (4)
6. San Diego (8)
7. Dallas (7)
8. Phoenix (9)
9. Detroit (6)
10. San Antonio (11)

The trend is clear. New York City remained the nation's largest — about 7 million, but the Census said it lost almost 40,000 residents.

Among the USA's next biggest — Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia — only the Sun Belt cities grew.

The USA's fastest growing city in the top 50 was Fresno, California, a farm town turned high tech. It grew by 61 % and has more than 350,000 residents.

The Census figures show that the once sleeping giants of the South and West are the new power cities now. These figures also confirm the shift of the USA's money from the North and East. And they underscore the importance of Sun Belt cities seldom heard from 20 years ago, handing them more federal dollars, a larger voice in Washington and — even more than before — the power to sway presidential elections.


The city of Washington was designed in the late eighteenth century. It is co-extensive with the District of Columbia. When George Washington was elected President of the United States, there was no permanent capital to house the government. Since members of Congress could not agree as to where the capital should be located, it was decided to choose a special place for the new capital. The State of Maryland agreed to allot a wild and marshy area on the Potomac River. The region was called the District of Columbia, after Christopher Columbus, and the capital was called Washington, after George. Washington.

Work on the new capital began in 1791. The man who designed the city was Major Pierre-Charles L'Enfant. His grand geometric plan envisioned stately buildings as the city's core and a grassy, park-like mall with uninterrupted vistas west from the Capitol Building to the Potomac River.

Yet, even by the turn of the twentieth century, Washington showed little of the grandeur of this vision. In the crowded area north of the Mall, factories and mills rubbed shoulders with stores, hotels, restaurants, and row houses. The Mall itself had been broken into segments and landscaped with winding carriage roads and varied plantings that destroyed its symmetry. For a time the Mall was also a transportation center, with railroad tracks crossing at Sixth Street that created an eyesore and safety hazard.

In 1901, as citizens sought to beautify urban areas throughout the United States, the Senate Park Commission (commonly known as the McMillan Commission after its chairman, Senator James McMillan) developed an influential new plan for Washington. This plan aimed to return the city to the formality envisioned in the late eighteenth century and to invest it with a grandeur reflecting the nation's new sense of wealth and stature.

The Mall was to become a wide, formal lawn flanked by rows of trees, against a backdrop of classical buildings, many with domes. At the foot of Capitol Hill, a "Union Square" was to be built with mounted statues of Civil War generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, facing down the Mall.

The McMillam Commission had anticipated the need for a complex of government office building, and with the government's growth during World War I, the need was urgent by the 1920s. It was the financier and art collector Andrew Mellon (1855-1937) who soon became deeply involved in the city's architecture. As Secretary of Treasury, he was responsible for the realization of the so called Federal Triangular Project. The core of the project was to reconstruct the large triangular area north of the Mall between Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues, from Sixth to Fifteenth Street and to build offices for the government.

To ensure that the project would reflect the dignity and importance of the Federal Government, Mellon established a "Board of Architectural Consultants", which ultimately included John Russell Pope, one of America's most prominent architects. Pope's contribution to the Federal Triangular Project was enormous. Thanks to Pope's plan, Washington today is among the most beautiful cities in the world.


The Capitol

Located on Capitol Hill, the seat of American legislature dominates the City of Washington. Through the halls of this magnificent structure have passed the leading figures in American history.

The Capitol is the tallest edifice in Washington: no other building is allowed to be taller than the Capitol. It stands 88 feet above the level of the Potomac River and covers approximately 4 acres. Its length from north to south is 751 feet 4 inches; its width, including approaches, is 350 feet; and its height above the base line on the east front to the top of the Statue of Freedom is 287 feet 5 inches.

Construction of the US Capitol began in 1793. The original plan for the building was drawn by Dr. William Thornton. President John Adams addressed the first joint session of Congress in the Senate Chamber on November 22, 1800.

All interiors of the building were burned by the British in 1814. The Capitol was reoccupied in 1819. The present Senate and House wings were begun in 1851, but the building was not finished until 1867. Since then, numerous changes have been made.

The Washington National Monument

The Washington National Monument is a tapering shaft or obelisk of white marble, 555 feet five and one-eighth inches high.

In 1833 the Washington National Monument Society was organized "for the purpose of erecting a great National Memorial to Washington". Fifteen years later the cornerstone was laid.

After many difficulties and delays, the building was opened to the public in 1888. An elevator takes visitors to the 500-foot level. Return is by elevator as well but if one wishes, he can walk down the 898 steps, from which the 190 memorial stones donated by local, State, and foreign governments can be seen.

The Lincoln Memorial

In 1867, two years after Abraham Lincoln's death, Congress organized the Lincoln Memorial Association to plan a monument to his memory.

Work finally started on February 12, 1914. Henry Bacon was the architect, and Daniel Chester French sculpted the great marble statue of Lincoln.

Carved on the walls are Lincoln's Gettysburg and Second Inaugural Addresses.

The Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson, besides being President of the United States, was also a gifted amateur architect, political thinker, and founder of the University of Virginia. This memorial, dedicated on April 13, 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jefferson's birth, was designed by the architectural firm of John Russell Pope in the simple classical style admired by Jefferson.

Inside the memorial is a 19-foot bronze statue of Jefferson sculpted by Rudulph Evans. Excerpts from four of Jefferson's writings are carved on the interior walls.

Surrounding the Memorial are cherry trees that the City of Tokyo presented to the City of Washington in 1912.

The Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery was established on June 15, 1864, on land originally the estate of George Washington.

Prominent among the many memorials in this national cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknowns, and among the unknown dead are 2,111 who died on the battlefields in the Civil War.

Many famous Americans were buried here. On November 25, 1963, Arlington Cemetery became the burial ground of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The polished black granite walls are inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing in the Vietnam War.

Names of the service men and women are inscribed "in the order they were taken from us". Alphabetical directories at the memorial help visitors find specific names by panel and line number.

A flag-staff and bronze statue of three servicemen stand at the entrance plaza.


New York, N. Y., is the post office designation of the largest metropolis in the United States. Officially it is the City of New York, and popularly it is called New York City.

The City of New York is situated at the mouth of the Hudson River, sometimes called the North River. The five boroughs comprising the city are: Manhattan, on the Manhattan Island between the Hudson and East Rivers; the Bronx, on the southernmost part of the mainland; Queens and Brooklyn, on Long Island, separated from Manhattan by East River; and Richmond on Staten Island in New York Bay.

The City credits Verrazano as first viewing in 1524 the place, where New York now stands. Henry Hudson found Manhattan on September 11, 1609. The first houses were built in lower Manhattan in 1613. On May 6, 1626, Peter Minuit, director general of New Netherland, as the Dutch called the colony, paid the Indians 60 guilders for Manhattan, commonly translated as $24, actually $39. When the settlement had around 200 people, it was named New Amsterdam.

In 1653 they erected a wall to protect their settlement from which Wall Street takes its name.

On September 8, 1664, British troops occupied New Amsterdam without resistance, overthrew the Dutch government, and called the place New York. Seven years later the Dutch recaptured the city and called it New Orange, but in 1674 the city was in the hands of the British again who returned the name New York.

The City of New York has always been in the center of political events. It witnessed the American Revolution; the Declaration of Independence was read to the American troops here on July 9, 1776, in the presence of George Washington. It was here on April 30, 1789, that Washington took the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall.

Thanks to its geographical position and historical past, New York has grown into a big financial, commercial, and industrial center with the heart in the Borough of Manhattan. America's business and culture are in Manhattan. The Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Harlem, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Broadway — all these World famous sights are in Manhattan. What unites them is probably a small street, only a few blocks long, which is the financial center of the whole United States — Wall Street. It provides the nation with centralized credit and banking facilities. It is a sales place for securities; it is also one of the biggest money capitals of the world. Economic and financial power of the United States is concentrated in the buildings of Wall Street; in the Stock Exchange, one of the world's greatest; in the banks, among them the oldest in the city, the Bank of New York, founded in 1784.