John Judge’s Tour of D.C.
If you didn’t get an historic tour of Washington D.C. from John Judge then you certainly missed out on not only some interesting but neglected historic sites in our nation’s capitol, you missed some of his penetrating and insightful perspective of what happened there.
Usually driving around in John’s old beat up grey Oldsmobile, with him behind the wheel, I think film maker Randy Benson may have filmed him while they were driving around DC, so maybe there is something saved on celluloid, but these are the Top 30 DC historic sites that I remember that are on John Judge’s Assassins Tour of Washington.
They are listed in the order in which you would encounter them if driving into town from John’s house in Anacosta, - aka the COPA Bunker, which is just across the river from Capitol Hill, SE
1) Quaker Meeting House – South East Capitol Hill – William Penn House – where some of the early COPA organizational meetings were held, and around the corner and down the street from
2) The Hawk and the Dove – a 1960s era bar and grill that has maintained its motif through many wars and still in the same family. The whole two block long strip is pretty cool, with a half dozen good bars and restaurants from the cheap neighborhood dive – the Tune Inn, next door to the Hawk and Dove – an Italian-Thai bar where the American Free Press crowd meet, the Pour House sports bar and a coffee house – all with sidewalk café tables, a good book store and the Hunan Chinese where John and I dined often.
3) The Forestal Building – a quick drive by, which he points out – has sealed windows you can’t open, fittingly naked after the former Navy? – who killed himself by jumping out of a window of the Bethesda Naval Hosptial.
4) Just behind the Captiol and past the Supreme Court building is the Mott House – a convenient staging area for meetings run by good friends, across the street from the
5) A block away is the Teamsters HQ and the American Legion post where the Warren Commission often met and a few blocks from
6) Then there’s Union Station where you can park for free in the parking garage if you eat in any of the restaurants or go to a movie, which we often did.
7) The Dubliner and Kelly’s Irish Times are across the street from Union Station – to the Southwest – where I would often go after arriving by train and where John would pick me up or join me, sometimes in the summer at the sidewalk cafe.
8) Comfort Inn Chinatown. Driving west towards the White House, you pass through China Town, where an early important COPA organizational conference was held at the Comfort Inn.
9) Then there’s a unique little neighborhood that we called the Bus Stop, because its where most of the school buses stop. There’s the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) – Hard Rock Café – the JE Hover Building – Fords Theater – the Spy Museum and further down the street is the Secret Service not-so-secret annex. That’s the neighborhood where the old AARC was located, and the area originally targeted for the Hidden History Museum and Assassination Research Center.'
10) Not on any other historic tour of Washington – John Judge is the only one who always makes a stop by back door of what he calls the “Hinkley Hilton,” where John Hinkley shot President Reagan.
11) After drive bys of the MLK memorial and
12) Vietnam Veterans Memorial, its heading southwest you pass the
13) JFK Center for the Performing Arts and after a few blocks is
14) Dupont Circle – where the Assassination Information Bureau once had an office, where the Chilean ambassador was killed in a car bomb by crazy Cubans and where John John Judge often enjoyed dining at an old, historic Italian restaurant or a late night meal at Words --- where he was somewhat of a celebrity for having appeared in a TV segment with Ali G – the Jewish-Arab comedian and film maker.
15) Nearby there’s the location of what once was Blackie’s Steakhouse – which, when we were there, was still haunted by some unpopular Vice Presidents who used to sneak in the side door, Col. Jose Rivera and Blackie, a decorated World War II combat vet. Blackie’s is where we dined on a few occasions and where we discovered a little shrine to JFK that Backie maintained in one of the back dining rooms.
16) In Georgetown there’s a stop at the canal path were Mary Pinchot Meyer was murdered, (a still unresolved case), and a drive by one of
17) JFK’s former residence – a distinguished colonial row house at 1528 – 31st Street NW – a neighborhood where you can also drive by the residences of local Georgetown Social Set.
18) Past the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory – note Collins Contract, and check out the security today – how many cameras can you count on the front lawn? Then there’s
19) American University – the JFK Monument – and a Thai restaurant often frequented when in that neighborhood.
20) Further Northeast is Bethesda Naval Hospital –
21) Cobbs Creek – Sheraton – where Earl Warren resided in a special apartment and where a number of important COPA conferences were held.
22) A short hop along the beltway is the Archives II – in College Park, Maryland. - Back south along the beltway – there’s some close but rural historic sites
23) Arlington National Cemetery – JFK Grave – Grave of the Unknowns – RFK Grave –
24) CIA HQ – off in the distance, you can have your photo taken by the highway sign as David Atlee Phillips did.
25) NSA – HQ – Collins Radio cover – security guard found dead –
26) Hickory Hill – JFK – RFK residence in McClean, Va.
27) Back in town there’s the Ronald Reagan Building – where we attended an inaugural ball – tickets compliments of Jersey Joe Piscapo, and nearby
28) Old Ebbett Hotel Bar – which is popular with SS and was John O’Neill’s hangout when in Washington.
29) Willard Hotel bar - the round wood bar where President Grant would visit nightly for his after dinner coniac and cigar, which Mrs. Grant wouldn’t allow him to smoke in the White House. Once it became known that Grant frequented the place, those who wanted a favor from the president would gather in the lobby and wait for the President to arrive at the bar, and thus the term “lobbyist” was coined. It is also said to be where Francis Scott Key wrote some of his poems, including the national anthem, and where Martin Luther King put the finishing touches to his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech. There was also an Oswald sighting on the sidewalk in front of the Willard Hotel, where Oswald ostensibly handed out Cuban leftist literature a block from the White House.
30) The National Press Club – just down the street – about a block from the Willard and the White House – the NPC was pretty much a convenient base of operations whenever something was going on. And where a celebration of John Judge’s life is scheduled to occur.