Area Information &Things to Do
Richmond, Virginia*
Founded in 1737 at the furthest navigable point on the James River, RICHMOND remained a small outpost until just before the end of the colonial era, when independence-minded Virginians, realizing that their capital at Williamsburg was open to British attack, shifted it fifty miles further inland. The move to Richmond failed to offer much protection – the city was raided many times and twice put to the torch, once by troops under the command of Benedict Arnold.

Richmond subsequently flourished, its population reaching 100,000 by the time of the Civil War. When war broke out it was named the capital of the Confederacy, despite the fact that Virginia had voted two-to-one against secession from the Union just a month before. The massive Tredegar Iron Works, now a dedicated visitor center-cum-museum, became the main engine of the Confederate war machine. For four years the city was the focus of Southern defenses and Union attacks, but despite an almost constant state of siege – General McClellan came within six miles as early as 1862, and General Grant steamrolled remorselessly towards it through the last months of the war – it held on until the very end. It was less than a week after the fall of Richmond, on April 3, 1865, that General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox, a hundred miles west.

After the war, Richmond was devastated. Much of its downtown was burned, allegedly by fleeing Confederates who wanted to keep its stores of weapons, and its warehouses full of tobacco, out of the victors' hands. Rebuilding, however, was quick, and the city's economy has remained among the strongest in the South. Today's Richmond is a remarkably elegant city, with an extensive inventory of architecturally significant older buildings alongside its modern office towers.
Information by Rough Guides

Washington, D.C.*
That the marshy swamp where WASHINGTON DC now stands was chosen as the site of the capital of the newly independent United States of America says a lot about then-prevalent attitudes toward government. Washington, District of Columbia (the boundaries of the two are identical) – also known as "DC" and "The District" – can be unbearably hot and humid in summer, and bitterly cold in winter. Such an unpleasant climate, it was hoped, would discourage elected leaders from making government a full-time job. This disdain for politics is still apparent: DC is run as a virtual colony of Congress, where residents have just one, nonvoting representative and couldn't vote in presidential elections until the 23rd Amendment was passed in 1961.

Other than the federal government, tourism is DC's biggest industry. The city attracts almost twenty million visitors each year. Conveniently, most arrive in midsummer, when the lawmakers have gone home, so overcrowding is rarely a problem. The nation's showcase puts on quite a display for its guests, and admission to virtually all major attractions is free. The most famous sites are concentrated along the central Mall, including the White House, individual memorials to four of the greatest presidents, and the superb museums of the Smithsonian Institution. Downtown, however (broadly speaking the area immediately north of the Mall, between the White House and the Capitol), can seem very empty, even intimidating, at night, and you're more likely to spend your evenings in the hotels and restaurants of the city's more motherly neighborhoods, such as historic Georgetown, arty Dupont Circle and the funkier Adams –Morgan district.
Information by Rough Guides

Williamsburg, Virginia*
A year after mosquito-plagued Jamestown burned down, the colonial capital was moved inland to a small village known as the Middle Plantation, soon rechristened WILLIAMSBURG in honor of King William III. To reflect the increasing wealth of the colony, a grand city was laid out, centering upon a mile-long, hundred-foot-wide avenue. Suitable buildings were constructed, beginning with the capitol in 1704 and culminating in the opulent Governor's Palace in 1720. By the mid-1700s, tobacco-rich Virginia was the most prosperous of the American colonies, and Williamsburg was its largest city – though with some two thousand residents, not on the scale of Philadelphia, New York or Boston. Williamsburg remained the seat of colonial government, and emerged as one of the leading centers of revolutionary thought: at the College of William and Mary, George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and George Mason argued the finer points of law and democracy, while in the capitol, and in the many raucous taverns that surrounded it, firebrand politicians like Patrick Henry held forth on the iniquities of colonialism and organized the first resistance to British rule. When the Revolutionary War broke out, the government moved to the more secure Richmond, and Williamsburg slowly faded from view, all but unrecognized for its place in American history.
Information by Rough Guides

* These pages contain links to outside agencies supplying sightseeing information and links, and are not endorsed by the United Pentecostal Church International.


See you next year at
General Conference 2006
Columbus, Ohio

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