How the Civil War Changed Washington, D.C. examines
The exhibition touches on the changes in social mores, in the built environment, in the population, and its ethnic breakdown, and new spatial uses of elements such as the Civil War forts constructed around the city many of which later were turned into parks. The exhibit tracks the transformation of Washington, D.C. from a sleepy southern town before the Civil War of about 75,080 people to a thriving metropolis after the war with a population that has increased 75% to 131,700. The transformation of a plot of land called “The Ridge” in southeast Washington, D.C. purchased by ex-slave Josiah Henson is also featured. Today, Henson Ridge has been transformed into a development of townhouses for mixed income families. Also included in the exhibit are the transformation of Giesboro, a 19th century plantation, into a U.S. military base; the development of Washington’s public transportation system; the expansion of hospitals; and the expansion of residential areas after the war.

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