The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.

The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C.

by David Ovason


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Today, there are more than twenty complete zodiacs in Washington, D.C., each one pointing to an extraordinary mystery. David Ovason, who has studied these astrological devices for ten years, now reveals why they have been placed in such abundance in the center of our nation's capital and explains their interconnections. His richly illustrated text tells the story of how Washington, from its foundation in 1791, was linked with the zodiac, with the meaning of certain stars, and with a hidden cosmological symbolism that he uncovers here for the first time.

Fascinating and thoroughly researched, The Secret Architecture of Our Nation 's Capital is an engrossing book that raises provocative questions and otters complex insights into the meanings behind the mysterious symbols in Washington.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060953683
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/26/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 591,515
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

David Ovason has spent more than a decade researching the architecture and zodiacs of Washington, D.C. He teaches astrology and has studied the life and writings of Nostradamus for more than forty years. He is the author of several books, including The Secrets of Nostradamus and Nostradamus: Prophecies for America. Mr. Ovason lives and works in England.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Come let me lead thee o'er this second Rome ...
This embryo capital, where Fancy sees
Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees;
Which second-sighted seers, ev'n now, adorn,
With shrines unbuilt and heroes yet unborn ...

(Thomas Moore, "To Thomas Hume, from the City of Washington," 1804, in The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, 1853, vol. II, p. 296)

The shrouding mists have gone, and with them the frogs and the mud turtles, yet their presence still lives on in the name. Foggy Bottom is the area where the western reaches of Washington, D.C., used to meet with the Potomac River to the southeast of Rock Creek. In modern times, it includes the once-infamous Watergate Complex, and its evocative name has survived in a Metro station, south of Washington Circle.

If you were to walk or drive from this Metro, down to the Watergate Complex and on to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, even as far as the western edge of Constitution Avenue, you would be unlikely to discover the reason for the name Foggy Bottom. The drainage engineers, the landfill experts and the architects of the late 19th century have done their work well, turning pestilential mudflats into habitable land.

Foggy Bottom was originally called Hamburg by a Dutch gunmaker named Jacob Funk, who had settled the area in the mid-18th century with grandiose plans for its development. However, Nature proved intractable, and the plans he had drawn up for a township came to nothing of real substance. The place remained almost uninhabited because of its deafening frog choruses and cough-inducing mists:settlers were deterred, and only duck hunters and fishermen found the mudflats of use. Incredibly, when, almost 100 years later, in 1859, a gasworks was built in the area, the few householders of Foggy Bottom were delighted: they imagined that the gas fumes would disinfect the muddy land, and somehow make the fogs kinder on their throats.

Although officially Hamburg, it was called Funkstown by the early residents for a considerable time, yet it was scarcely even a village, and certainly not a town. Only a few wood-frame buildings and even fewer brick houses are recorded at Foggy Bottom, as late as 1800. Surprisingly, a pair of red-brick, two-story houses have survived from this time, to the southwest of George Washington University. These were built originally by John Lenthall (who was in charge of the construction of the U.S. Capitol) on 19th Street. At that time, they must have been near the northern edge of the ancient Foggy Bottom. In the 1970s they were moved, brick by brick, to their present location on 21st Street, and in spite of this enforced reconstruction are sometimes said to be among the oldest surviving dwellings in Washington, D.C.

About 1800, a large glassmaking factory -- essentially for the windows of the new city buildings -- was constructed on the southern edge of Foggy Bottom from bricks kilned in Holland. This factory was located on the square sold as lot 89 in the sales map of 1792 (I have marked this position in black on the map below) which had been drawn up at the behest of George Washington to attract capital and speculators to the new federal district. For a while, the site proved to be an excellent one for a factory, as it faced directly on the Potomac and offered useful wharfage for unloading glassmaking materials.

By one of those curious coincidences with which the history of Washington, D.C., is punctuated, this is exactly the site where, nearly 200 years later, a bronze statue of the mathematical genius Einstein was erected, outside the National Academy of Sciences (plate 1). The great man is shown contemplating a star-spangled marble horoscope for April 22, 1979, which is spread out at his feet: he is casually resting his right foot on the stars of two cosmic giants -- Boötes and Hercules. As we shall see, this is probably the largest marble horoscope in the world,

The surprising link forged between Foggy Bottom and the stars does not end with Einstein. Behind his statue, in the National Academy of Sciences building, are 12 signs of the zodiac, along with their corresponding symbols, which have been built into the structure of the metal doors (plate 2). In the adjacent building to the east -- the Federal Reserve Board Building -- are two other zodiacs, cut by the great glass designers Steuben, as decorative flanges for lightbulbs (plate 3 and figure 12). These zodiacs -- the marble floor of the Einstein statue, the metal doors of the Academy and the glass light fixtures of the Federal Reserve -- are just 4 of the 20 or so zodiacs in central Washington, D.C.

At a later point, I shall examine each of these zodiacs more closely, but even at this stage we must stop and ask the obvious question: why do we find zodiacs in the formerly unhealthy stretches of Foggy Bottom, where frogs croaked night and day, and where young boys would hunt for mud turtles?

Today, the air around Einstein is fresh and wholesome, and even the River Potomac has disappeared. The silting of the waters, and the extensive landfills of the late 19th century, explain why the Potomac wharfage has been moved, and why, from the windows of the Academy, one looks onto a greensward extension of the Mall, landscaped with trees and dotted with a variety of war memorials, including that of the Vietnam Veterans. In many ways, this extension of Foggy Bottom, born of the waters of the Potomac, has witnessed greater change than almost any other part of Washington, D.C.

It would be pleasant to think that Einstein would know that behind him there had once been a site called Observatory Hill. Had perhaps the earlier inhabitants -- first the Algonquins, and later the early settlers from Elizabethan England -- studied the stars from this rise? The reality is probably more prosaic...

The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital. Copyright © by David Ovason. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital1
Black-and-White Figures467

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Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital: The Masons and the Building of Washington, D. C. 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well researched, fascinating exploration of America's Founding Freemasons and their infatuation with astrological symbolism.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book provides an inspiring look into the design and building of our nation's capital. I read it, re-read it, studied it, outlined it and researched it because it invoked that much interest out of me about Washington, DC and the leaders of our country. What was most fascinating to me was that the initial founders of this great city started a plan that couldn't be stopped and was carried forward by many people who were not even involved in the initial plans. That is a plan that has sufficient energy to draw the necessary resources to ensure the evolution of that plan. We could all learn from this book!
difreda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you've ever read a doctoral dissertation - and like it - you're going to love this book - Otherwise run away - Bravely! No this is not for the hat-in -the -cat crowd. Or the spoonerism thereof. Why read it? Because it reveals some very profound secrets - not conspiracy theories - but real secrets that put more flesh on the dry bones of our nation's capital. It's more than you think! I will never go to DC (and I live in the environs) without looking at the sculptural symbols and understanding why they are there, who put them there and why one day in August brings the whole picture into focus. Frankly I hated the reading of the book and loved the information. If you are interested in history of this nation give this book a look, then go to DC in August and watch the sunset. You will never see things the same again!
Katahdin85 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A must read to understand the Sacred Geometry and symbolism our Founding fathers used in the laying out of Washington DC. A great book top take with you on a walking tour of DC. I lived there for years and never noticed things until this book pointed them out. Eye-opening!!!!
carptrash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was, for me, very dense but very exciting reading. I argued with the author 9in my mind) abuot some points and loved most of the rest. I liked that the masons were not presented as "the bad guys".It sees to me that author Dan Brown mined this book for a lot of his details for "The Lost Symbol" - which is my current read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If u need me ill be at SL
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Astrologer David Ovason has written a very well researched book on the Zodiacs embroidered in the public architecture of Washington, D.C. Official Freemasonry is loath to admit any Masonic involvement in the occult architecture of Washington, D.C., but this particular book has been favored with a foreword by C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33o, Sovereign Grand Commander, The Supreme Council, 33o (Mother Council of the World), Southern Jurisdiction of the U.S. Mr. Kleinknecht is arguably the most important public Freemason in the world. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the secret, but true, nature of Freemasonry. Its publication at this time is part of the alchemical 'Revelation of the Method' at the dawn of the New Age.