Project Background

In 2003 the Imaging Research Center (IRC) at UMBC was approached to re-create virtually the area around Capitol Hill, Washington DC in 1814 for an upcoming PBS style documentary on architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. This re-creation proved more challenging than anticipated due to the lack of reliable visual source material. Dan Bailey, Director of the IRC and Professor of Visual Arts, has worked with architectural historians, cartographers, engineers, and ecologists to assess the often unreliable eye-witness accounts of nineteenth century dreamers, and to recreate a “best guess” glimpse of the early city. A preliminary result of this research was exhibited as part of the Walters Art Museum’s Maps: Finding Our Place in the World. Subsequently the Washington Post featured the project in an article, The Beginning of the Road, for its Sunday Magazine. The research is on-going and now encompasses re-creating virtually all of the Washington DC area from 1790 through 1820.

For a more in-depth look at the project, there is a 6 minute video and 2 articles: Beginning of the Road and Visualizing Early Washington DC.

The project has received partial funding from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

Robert W. Deutsch Foundation