Capital Cities

The capital of the United States of America is, of course, Washington, D.C.--named after George Washington. But it is different than most large cities. It is not part of a state, but instead is part of a district that is tucked between Maryland and Virginia. It is also called the District of Columbia, and that portion of its name comes from Christopher Columbus. The location of the area next to the Potomac River was a major consideration in choosing the site. President Washington felt that the nation's capital needed to have close proximity to a major river system in order to transport people and goods. Washington, D.C. became our national capital on December 1, 1800. Prior to that time Philadelphia had served as the capital and New York for a short time before that. John Adams was the first president to reside in Washington, D.C.

Salt Lake City is the capital of our state of Utah. It was founded on the Jordan River near the Great Salt Lake. Its capitol building was built in 1914.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about our capital cities.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about our capital cities.

The Old Executive Office Building
The Old Executive Office Building is located next door to the White House. It was built from 1871 to 1888 to house the growing staffs of the State, War, and Navy Departments.
Salt Lake City
Spend time in our own state capital.
States and Capitals
Travel to the capital of every state. 
Territorial Statehouse State Park
Fillmore in Millard county was Utah's first territorial capital. You can still visit Utah's first territorial statehouse in Fillmore. It's now a state museum.
Visit Utah and learn everything you every wanted to know about our state and capital.
The White House
Take a virtual tour of the White House. Visit the Green Room, the East Room, the Map Room, and many others. Learn about the historical significance of each room, the events that took place there, how they are used now, and how the look of the rooms has changed over time.
Washington D.C. Sightseeing Map
Use this map to visit historic places in Washington D.C. It's interesting to see the location of these historic buildings in relation to each other. The Supreme Court and the Library of Congress are just east of the Capitol Building. The Potomac River is west of the Capitol and the White House is northwest of the Capitol.

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People To See

Benjamin Banneker
Learn about this African American who helped in surveying Washington D.C.
First Lady of Utah
Meet Utah's Governor and First Lady.
Utah's Governor
Official website of Utah's Governor. Contains priorities, news, staff, cabinet as well as contact information plus links to other Utah websites.

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Things To Do

FunBrain - Where Is That?
Participate in an online learning activity where you identify states and their capitals. Is the capital of North Dakota Bismark or Pierre?
Learn the State Capitals
Match the capital to the state. What state belongs to the capital city of Concord?
Santa Fe
Learn about the oldest city in the United States that is also a capital. Santa Fe began as a collection of Pueblo Indian villages in the 11th century. Then Spanish citizens settled there in the early 1600s.
State and Local Government on the Net
Find links to the local governments of each state.
Utah's Historic Governor's Mansion
Find out how the Kearn's mansion became the official residence for governors of Utah. It is located on South Temple Street in Utah's capital, Salt Lake City.

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Teacher Resources

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  • Ayres, Becky. Salt Lake City. Minneapolis, Minn.: Dillon Press, c1990.
  • Debnam, Betty. A Kid's Guide to the White House. Kansas City, MO: Andrews and McMeel, c1997.
  • Guzzetti, Paula. The White House. Parsippany, N.J.: Dillon Press, c1996.
  • Maroon, Fred J. The United States Capitol. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Distributor, Workman Pub., 1993.
  • Quiri, Patricia Ryon. The White House. New York: F. Watts, c1996.
  • Santella, Andrew. The Capitol. Chicago: Childrens Press, c1995.
  • Wilson, Jon. The White House: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c1999.