Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Monday, March 14, 2011

Do streets in Washington DC have hidden symbols in their pattern?

At sunrise, a jogger reaches the top of the 56 steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Photograph by Dan Westergren. National

I´m reading the novel The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown; not that I want to recommend the book, for me, it´s like a copy of The Da Vinci Code, but it´s fun when you don´t want to think hard on real life work. At least, I´ve learnt some interesting facts about the history of Washington DC and its architecture. Of course, I can´t forget the book is fiction, but it was my first time, for example, to learn about George Washington´s Aphoteosis.

The dome showing George Washington´s Aphoteosis.From
The George Washington´s Masonic Memorial. From

Trying to see what is fact an what is not, I´ve come across with an article by Brian Handwerk for National Geographic. There are a couple of questions, based on the intrigues in the book The Lost Symbol that are answered by two Masons and a historian of the ancient Christian order. Here, the excerpt about the streets:

An old map of Washington DC. Google images
Washington, D.C.'s Streets Form Giant Masonic Symbols
It's long been suggested that powerful Freemasons embedded Masonic symbols in the Washington, D.C., street plan designed mainly by Frenchman Pierre L'Enfant in 1791.
The Lost Symbol is expected to prominently feature "Masonic mapping," detecting pentagrams and other symbols by connecting the dots among landmarks. Pre-release clues released by author Dan Brown, for example, include GPS coordinates for Washington landmarks.
"Individually, Masons had a role in building the White House, in building and designing Washington, D.C.," said Mark Tabbert, director of collections at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. "And [small scale] Masonic symbols can be found throughout the city, as they can in most U.S. cities."
But there's no Masonic message in the city's street plan, Tabbert said. For starters, Pierre L'Enfant wasn't a Mason.
And, Tabbert asked, why would Masons go to the trouble of laying out a street grid to match their symbols?
"There has to be a [reason] for doing such a thing," said Tabbert, himself a Mason. "Dan Brown will find one, because he writes fiction. But there isn't one."
Read the full article:

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