Despotism Tempered by Assassination
Visitors to Washington saw a changed capitol at the end of the Civil War, from the dome newly installed to the space newly expanded. Contemporaries might have thought it only fitting: government power had advanced by giant strides in wartime, and those who wielded it needed palaces suited to their new importance.
Those tourists preferring the obscure attractions, however, might have spied another symbol of how significant doings in the capital had become. Across the way from Willard's Hotel on Fourteenth Street stood the "rookeries" of Newspaper Row, where the representatives of a nation's press did business well past mid- night. 1 The outward appearance of those dingy suites of offices might be nondescript, but that a Newspaper Row existed at all showed how important Washington had become as a source for news.
It also said plenty about how important the reporter's job had become. Even before the war had ended, some of the brightest (and, to military authorities, the most troublesome) reporters had shifted from battlefield accounts to Washington reporting: "Mack" of the Cincinnati Commercial