Washington, D.C. was the pre-War capital city of the United States and part of the Columbia Commonwealth, along with the states of Virginia and Maryland. After the Great War, the city's radioactive ruins and surrounding areas were named the Capital Wasteland.
When English people first came to the area, there was a Native American village on the spot called Nakochtank. This name survives in the name of the Anacostia River. This river was known for the healing properties of its pure water, and it is recorded that the Emperor Powhatan, who lived in what is now Richmond, Virginia, made the trip all the way to Nakochtank once for this reason. Today this river is one of the most polluted in the world.
The 1789 United States Constitution said that a capital city would be created in a district, but did not say where it should be. James Madison and others thought it should be far away from other states and cities. This way, it would be independent and not controlled by any state. In 1790, a compromise was reached and capital was placed between Virginia and Maryland. The exact location was selected by President George Washington. The land was a square, ten miles long on each side, and split by the Potomac River, which separated the two states. Half of the district was in Maryland and the other half was in Virginia, and the two states gave this land to the government. In 1791, it was named Washington, the District of Columbia to honor the first president. Columbia was another name for North America.
Washington, D.C. was planned before it was built. Pierre L'Enfant drew a plan for the city that said where all the streets, parks, and important buildings would be. Unlike most U.S. cities, D.C. has many roundabouts or traffic circles. The city was supposed to have long and wide avenues, and many open spaces for monuments and parks. The National Mall, a large park that connected the Capitol building to the Washington Monument, was one of the most important parts of L'Enfant's plan.
The Mall is the location between the Museum of Technology, Museum of History, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol Building. The Capitol Building and Lincoln Memorial are on the far ends, the Washington Monument near the center, and the Museums are on the sides. If you go straight down the middle of the Mall, expect to be attacked by dozens of super mutants, and by the Capitol Building expect more super mutants, Talon Company mercs, and an Enclave camp if you are far enough into the game.
The obelisk that is the Washington Monument now has a wall made of concrete surrounding it and is occupied by the Brotherhood of Steel. The monument's sandstone and marble has fallen off at many places and reveal its internal metal structure. The bronze statue of George Washington has disappeared from the lobby, nowhere to be found. It also houses the Galaxy News Radio dish at the building's top.
The Capitol BuildingEdit
Before the Great War, the United States Capitol Building housed the legislative branch of the government of the United States. It is located in Washington, D.C., on top of Capitol Hill at the east end of the Mall. The other side of the Capitol opens onto Seward Square. When discovered by the Lone Wanderer, it is a battle site between super mutants, Talon Company and later, the Enclave.
The Lincoln Memorial stands in ruins at the heart of D.C.; the seated statue of Lincoln is missing its head (it is located in the Temple of the Union). Sand bags are scattered around the memorial, which are used as cover by slavers and possibly runaway slaves if a quest is completed. The head may be restored after following a quest given by Hannibal Hamlin who leads a small unit of escaped slaves that are trying to create a haven for other runaway slaves.
The National Archives is a pre-War building that housed an agency that was charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records. The building is relatively undamaged, but the documents and records have mostly been destroyed or ruined. It has also become home to super mutants, centaurs, and robots; one of which has a personality. The super mutants have placed many traps around to keep out unwanted visitors.
Museum of HistoryEdit
The Museum of History seems to have largely escaped most pillaging other than the structural damage of general decay and trash can fires. Old posters for the space exhibit at the Museum of Technology still hang. A woolly mammoth statue sits in the center untouched by time or the Great War. Due to the decaying ruins, three of the four exhibits entryways are blocked, including the WWII, the Anchorage Reclamation and the Resource Wars, leaving only the Abraham Lincoln exhibit fully intact. Further inside the museum, the player can find the Underworld museum exhibit, which has been converted into a city of non-feral ghouls. However, if you explore any other parts of the Museum, you will find Lincoln's artifacts, such as the Lincoln Memorial poster, Lincoln's repeater and dozens of feral ghouls.
Museum of TechnologyEdit
A dilapidated shell of it's former glory, the Museum of Technology lies in ruin. The Wright brothers' Flier has fallen, it's wings broken, and a faded old Vault-Tec banner hangs nearby. A monument to man's pride and achievement, set amid the result that is currently occupied by super mutants. The Virgo II Lander remains, containing the needed communications relay dish, several Stealth Boys, and plaques about several missing artifacts. There is also an exhibit, recreation, of a Vault-Tec vault, labeled vault 106.
The Pentagon, as feared, was largely destroyed. However, its sub-levels remained intact and contained enough pre-War technology and weaponry to keep Brotherhood of Steel forces going indefinitely. But there was something else as well, Liberty Prime - a technological marvel that, if restored, could help the Brotherhood rebuild a strength and reputation that had been declining steadily for years.
The Jefferson Memorial was converted to a water filtering facility with very large water pipes obstructing the main entrance. A smaller side entrance to the gift shop is open toward the west. This is used as a base for Project Purity, which seeks to provide clean water to the entire Capital Wasteland. It is the focal point of many of the main quests, particularly Take it Back!.
The White House is also a location on the map, though it is nothing more than a massive irradiated crater at this point. It appears to have been hit directly by a nuclear bomb. A Fat Man and three mini nukes are located in it, and there are several level-dependent ghouls that inhabit the crater.
Arlington Cemetery is most of what remains of the Arlington district, including Arlington National Cemetery. To the south is Mama Dolce's food industry and in the center there is the Arlington House. Before the bombs fell, many of the country's war heroes were buried beneath this soil. Now, it is an empty spot on the map, mostly devoid of life. The Arlington/Wasteland Metro, located south of Wilhelm's Wharf, opens to Arlington Cemetery.
Anchorage War MemorialEdit
The Anchorage War Memorial is a war memorial commemorating the battle of Anchorage, Alaska.
- Anacostia district:
- Arlington Cemetery district:
- Bailey's Crossroads district: Operation: Anchorage (add-on)
- Chevy Chase district:
- Dupont Circle district:
- Falls Church district:
- Georgetown district:
- L'Enfant district:
- Mason District:
- Pennsylvania Avenue district:
- Potomac River:
- Seward Square district:
- Takoma Park district:
- The Mall district:
- Vernon Square district:
- Note: Unmarked locations are denoted in italics.
Andale is touted by its residents as "the greatest town in Virginia." However, the town holds a very dark secret. Four families survived the nuclear war and remained in Andale, but eventually took to cannibalism after their food supplies ran out. Since then, the murder and consumption of outsiders, along with inbreeding between the Andale families, have become a tradition passed down from generation to generation. It is most likely because of this tradition, that Willy Wilson says that the Home Owners Association does not let random people move into the town, due to the dark nature of its current citizens.
The Bethesda Ruins are located northwest of Washington, D.C. It is inhabited by raiders and ghouls, and is divided into three sections: Bethesda offices west, Bethesda offices east and Bethesda underworks.
Prior to the Great War of 2077, Bethesda was a major town in the DC area. There was Metro and City Liner service to this city. North of Bethesda is an old monorail train. As the west-east highway ends in the city, another highway traveling north, passes through the area. The city has a local park, named after the largest employer in this city, where baseball was played.
Canterbury Commons is a trading post and a small town located on the eastern edge of the Capital Wasteland, which in the year 2277, is currently suffering from a full blown battle between two "super humans". It is inhabited by five wastelanders and can be found north of Washington, D.C., north of Vault 108, and southeast of the Temple of the Union.
Fairfax ruins is a small town in the Capital Wasteland, located south of Vault 101, east of Fort Independence, and north of Andale.
The ruins consist of the main street, several alleys and destroyed houses. There are upwards of twelve well armed raiders in the vicinity, on the street and in the tunnels beneath. North of the main road running through the center of the town east to west, is the entrance to the Fairfax Metro station.
Friendship Heights is a large apartment complex/metro station located on the northern outskirts of Washington, D.C.. It grants access to Tenleytown/Friendship station (and via the metro, to Galaxy News Radio).
The ruins of Springvale town are located west of Washington, D.C. in the Capital Wasteland. Springvale school, Megaton and Vault 101 are nearby to the ruins, and are the closest notable locations. In the 2060s, Vault-Tec began construction on a Vault, later named Vault 101, in the hills west of this town. In the days leading up to the Great War of 2077, families in Springvale petition for spots in the Vault. At least one family, the Gomez family, was accepted, and one family was not.
In 2241, Vault 101 sends an expedition into the Capital Wasteland. The scout leader notes that Springvale is deserted except for giant ants. In the same report, she notes that the roads are badly damaged. This expedition successfully established contact with the citizens of Megaton.
Eventually raiders established themselves in the nearby Springvale School where they prey on caravans and wastelanders, and attempt to dig an underground entrance into the Vault in order to raid it.
After the battle between forces of the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel at the Jefferson Memorial, the Apostles of the Holy Light establish the Holy Light Monastery in Springvale. This monastery is located in the cellar of one of the houses. This house is southwest of the Red Rocket gas station.
The DC Metro system is an expansive subway system that engulfs both the city itself and the surrounding areas. Most of the Metro has been reduced to rubble on account of the nuclear bombardment. However, those stations that were notably deeper in the ground, or farther away from the the city itself, seem to have remained more or less intact compared to most stations. This allows some resilient groups of people, such as The Family, to carve a meek life in the underground. Stations found in Washington, D.C. are as follows:
- Anacostia Crossing station
- Arlington utility
- Arlington/Falls Church Metro
- Arlington/Wasteland Metro
- Bailey's Crossroads Metro Operation: Anchorage (add-on)
- Collapsed car tunnel
- DCTA tunnel 014-B Potomac
- Dry sewer
- Dupont Circle station
- Falls Church/Mason Dst Metro
- Farragut West station
- Flooded metro
- Foggy Bottom station
- Franklin Metro utility
- Freedom Street station
- Friendship Heights
- Georgetown/The Mall Metro
- Hazmat disposal site L5
- Irradiated metro
- Metro Central
- Metro Junction
- Museum station
- Penn. Ave/Georgetown Metro
- Penn. Ave/Seward Sq. Metro
- Penn. Ave/The Mall Metro
- Presidential metro Broken Steel
- Sewer (metro)
- Sunken sewer
- Tenleytown/Friendship station
- Tepid sewers
- Vernon East/Takoma Park
- Note: These locations are found only in Washington, D.C. and its immediate environs. See Fallout 3 locations for a full list of metro stations.
- Washington, D.C. is one of the major locations in Fallout 3.
- Washington, D.C. is mentioned in Fallout: New Vegas by the ghoul companion Raul Tejada and by the title of the D.C. Journal of Internal Medicine.
- Washington, D.C. is mentioned in Fallout 4 and its add-ons Automatron and Far Harbor. The National Mall also appears in the Atomic Command Pip-Boy game.
- Senator Todd Peterson was mentioned as having been trapped in Washington, D.C. during the war in Van Buren.