One day in 2014, soon after David Plotz left his job as editor of the online magazine Slate, he took his then 13-year-old daughter, Noa, on a bike ride through Anacostia. Noticing how many places he saw named for forts, and how few actual forts he saw, Plotz returned home to Woodley Park.
There, he looked at a map of DC that showed the city ringed with current and former redoubts, many of them Civil War defenses. A few days later, he dragged his family through Rock Creek Park to Fort DeRussy, a garrison that the forest had all but taken back. It was a reminder, Plotz says, that “Washington has surprises—but it takes an act of will to allow yourself to see them.”