Max Morris owned Frank’s Department Store at 712 Fourth Street SW, as well as the hardware store next door. It was a few years after World War II; the economy was humming along, and the neighborhood was bustling. So Morris was understandably puzzled when the government decided to use the then-untested law of “eminent domain” to take both of his properties, tear them down, and give them to a private developer for “redevelopment.” Morris sued, lost, and appealed to the Supreme Court. (When Morris died, his stepson, Samuel Berman, took up the case.) Eventually, the Supreme Court upheld the city’s right to seize the two stores, a decision that, in just a few years, led to 99% of the buildings in Southwest being razed to the ground. … WHEN THE DISTRICT QUASI-LEGALLY SEIZED & DEMOLISHED AN ENTIRE QUADRANT OF THE CITY, BECAUSE…REASONS?
After Victor Gruen fled war-torn Europe in 1938, he landed in New York with eight dollars in his pocket. Within 15 years, he’d completely reinvented American commerce. How? He not only invented the mall, he pioneered the whole suite of psychological tricks that retailers use to trick you into browsing and buying more. Next time you go to Whole Foods for a half gallon of milk and end up spending eighty dollars on cheese and sparkling grape juice, blame Victor Gruen. … THIS SOCIALIST WW2 REFUGEE IS THE REASON YOU BUY TOO MUCH STUFF AT WHOLE FOODS
DC is the memorial city. The name’s not inscribed on our coins or written anywhere of importance, but ask almost anyone; it’s common knowledge. Our lawns are overcome with odes to fallen soldiers, nods to great generals, and lasting pieces of art depicting heroes of times gone past. If you’ve been on the DC scene for a while, you might even take a stroll past the Lincoln Memorial or the Vietnam Wall for granted. But, if you take the time peer up into the eyes of America’s roots or run your hands along the Wall and take in the atrocities of where we have been and what we have lost, we might come to the agreement that the statue-esque aspects of this city are in the end, quite inspiring. And DC’s memorial game is far from over. In fact, some might say our city is just getting started. … DC DEVELOPMENT(S): THE DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER MEMORIAL
The Washington Post published a pretty amazing story earlier this summer telling the insane tale of a forgotten memorial for six Nazi spies who were captured and extralegally executed back during World War 2. (Though let’s also note the Post was in no way the first one on the story.) But the article casually drops and then quickly moves on from one of the juiciest tidbits in the whole story; that there are six Nazis buried in unmarked graves somewhere in the District. So where are they? (You know this blogpost has a 50/50 chance to be optioned as a Nicholas Cage vehicle, right?) … WHERE IN DC ARE THE UNMARKED NAZI SPY GRAVES?