By Holly J. Morris
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — What if you threw an inauguration and every president — dead ones included — came? There would be a lot of grousing (“My hair did NOT look like that”) and some hurt feelings (“THAT’s my legacy?”). To ease these bruised egos, we found locations at which to honor each commander in chief, even the lousy ones.
1. George Washington
Unlike the earthquake-stricken Washington Monument, the George Washington Masonic Memorial is open. Plus: GW memorabilia (he was a Mason from age 20, so there’s lots), a replica Ark of the Covenant, adequate views from the tower, and a shop full of arcane souvenirs.
George Washington Masonic Memorial: 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria; 703-683-2007.
2. John Adams
Our second president has no D.C. memorial! One’s in the works, but such things take decades. For now, visit the Jefferson Memorial. The pediment depicts T.J. and the four men appointed to help him draft the Declaration of Independence; Adams is on Jefferson’s left, looking prissy.
Jefferson Memorial: 900 Ohio Drive SW.
3. Thomas Jefferson
After tsk’ing at Adams’ poor treatment, might as well go inside the Jefferson Memorial. More to tsk at: The architects doctored the quote from the Declaration of Independence so it would fit the space. The nerve! The uncut Declaration is on view at the National Archives.
National Archives: 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-357-5000.
4. James Madison
The president and his wife, celebrated hottie Dolley, decamped to Octagon House after the White House was burned in 1814. Stand outside (it’s closed until Feb. 4) and listen to one of the four audio tours available at Theoctagon.org. You’ll learn why the hexagonal structure was so egregiously mislabeled and why the British didn’t set it on fire. Legend suggests a tunnel ran between Octagon House and the White House, which doesn’t seem particularly useful: “Hey, Dolley, let’s secretly go see the smoking carcass of our former home.”