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District of Columbia Earth Symbols

District of Columbia State MineralWe don’t know exactly what the District of Columbia’s official dinosaur looked like, but a home made of Potomac bluestone would be a welcome refuge from one. In the background is the famous Lockkeeper’s House.

Believe it or not, D.C. has an official dinosaur. Brace yourself for its name: Capitalsaurus.

Like so many politicians, Capitalsaurus is very secretive and deceptive. It’s actually known from a single bone, a vertebrae.

The bone was found during sewer work in 1898. One hundred years later, some students at Watkins and Smothers Elementary School lobbied the D.C. Council to dub the bone Capitalsaurus and declare it the official dinosaur. Capitalsaurus is thought to be a carnosaur, probably closely related to Allosaurus, Utah’s official fossil.

D.C. also has an official rock, Potomac bluestone.

Nearby quarries provided Washington, D.C. with building stone from the Piedmont’s Sykesville Formation. Potomac bluestone was used in the foundations of the White House, the Capitol and Washington Monument. It was also used in the construction of the Old Stone House in Georgetown. Built in 1765, Old Stone House is Washington’s last pre-Revolutionary colonial building on its original foundation. It is therefore the oldest unchanged building in Washington, D.C.

Potomac bluestone was also used in the construction of the Lockkeeper’s House. Built in 1837, it is the oldest building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The 350-square-foot house served the canal lock keeper, who collected tolls, recorded commerce, maintained the canal, and managed traffic.

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