Get to Know Your International Conference Host City:
Eight Facts About Washington, DC

Washington, DC, is a city filled with unique history and culture that ATS 2023 International Conference attendees should plan to explore while in town. While it is mainly known for being the nation’s capital, there is likely much about Washington, DC, that conference attendees have yet to discover.

The first ATS International Conference was held in Washington, DC, in 1905.
Washington, DC, was the original home of the ATS International Conference, hosting five of the first six conferences from 1905–1910. (Chicago was the host city in 1908.) This will be the 15th time the International Conference has been held in Washington, DC, making it the most frequented host city for the ATS. The most recent conference here was in 2017.

Washington, DC, wasn’t founded until 1790.
Maryland and Virginia agreed to give up portions of their lands to make way for the new “district,” designed to be distinct from all other states and territories in the United States at the time. President George Washington chose the site along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. The first president hired Pierre Charles L’Enfant to design the young nation’s capital, and L’Enfant’s vision was reminiscent of his native Paris. He devised a grid system with the Capitol building at its center. Ironically, Washington is the only United States president who never lived in the White House.

The city was nearly destroyed during the War of 1812.
During the conflict, Great Britain’s enemy forces invaded and burned most of the city to the ground, including the newly completed White House, the Capitol, and the Library of Congress. Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s third president, replenished the library’s collection by selling off his entire library for $23,950 in 1815.

The city increased in size as a result of the Civil War.
Slaves owned in Washington, DC, were emancipated on April 16, 1862, nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation, and the city became a hub for freed slaves. After the war, it remained a home to a significant and vibrant Black population, including abolitionist Frederick Douglass. An army was established to protect the capital during the war, and the federal government grew around this administration.

The Washington Monument used to be the tallest building in the world.
Completed in 1884, the monument stands just over 555 feet tall. It held the title of the largest structure in the world until the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris in 1889. However, according to, the monument is still the world’s tallest freestanding stone structure.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.
Every reader’s dream, the Library of Congress houses more than 173 million items. The library was founded in 1800, making it the oldest federal cultural institution in the U.S. Each working day, it receives approximately 15,000 items and adds more than 10,000 to its collections. Materials are acquired through copyright deposits, gifts, purchases, other government agencies, cataloging publications, and exchanges with domestic and foreign libraries. Approximately half of the library’s book and serial collections are in languages other than English. More than 450 languages are represented.

The area’s signature cherry blossom trees were originally a gift from Japan.
The first cherry blossom trees arrived in Washington, DC, in 1910. However, they had to be destroyed due to an invasion of insects. The plants had been gifted from Tokyo to be placed along the Potomac River. In 1912, more than 3,000 new cherry trees were sent to the city by Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to celebrate the alliance between the United States and Japan. These arrived successfully and were planted around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park.

Washington, DC, residents didn’t receive the right to vote in presidential elections until 1961.
Since Washington, DC, is not a state, it has no voting representatives in Congress. For years, residents could not take part in elections. The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution gave the district the electoral votes to participate, limited to the number of electors of the least-populated state.

Don’t Miss ATS 2024 Highlights: On Demand

Don’t forget that ATS 2024 Highlights: On Demand are available to all conference registrants! On Demand will give you access to the Opening Ceremony, Plenary Session, Keynote Series, Clinical Year in Review, Adult Clinical Core Curriculum, and so much more. The topics will cover ILD, asthma, health equity, and CF, to name just a few. On Demand content will be accessible to all ATS 2024 full conference and On Demand registrants until March 2025.