It was on this day in 1790 that President George Washington signed the Residence Act, which directed him to choose a site on the Potomac River as the permanent capital of the United States.
The site, once home to the Nacotchtank or Anacostan people, is now where you’ll find the White House, the US Capitol, world-famous monuments and memorials, great food and unique communities.
And, also, Earth’s largest library.
That would be the Library of Congress, which was originally intended to, as the name suggests, provide resources to U.S. lawmakers.
And, so, its first home was inside the Capitol itself.
Unfortunately, when British troops set fire to the Capitol during the War of 1812, the Library lost a lot of its collection.
Former President Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library to the government to restock it.
The Library’s main challenge over the years hasn’t been fire, though; it’s been finding enough space.
The area in the Capitol set aside for books was so full that at one point somebody apparently suggested that Congress set up a whole new set of shelves inside the Capitol dome!
Instead, the Library of Congress got its own building, then another, then another.
Today it has millions of square feet of space to house materials.
Which is probably good, because today it’s home to even more than huge numbers of books.
The Library holds millions of prints, photographs and posters, sound recordings, films, the papers of 23 presidents, maps, phone books, the largest comic book collection in the world, and it’s also archiving every tweet ever.
It’s home to a book that’s 1/25″ tall by 1/25″ wide, and another that’s five feet by seven feet.
And while only lawmakers and their staffs can check things out, much of the collection is available to the public, as long as you don’t mind waiting while the staff goes through that huge collection to find what you requested.
If you’re looking to buy real estate these days, well, good luck to you.
The market is very tight; people are trying to find deals wherever they can.
A real estate listing for open land in Ontario had a price of $99,000, though with one big consideration.
The land, the listing said, is “presently under water but could have endless possibilities in the future.”
Fascinating Facts (Library of Congress)