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Washington, D.C.

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Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. The City of Washington was originally a separate municipality within the Territory of Columbia until an act of Congress in 1871 effectively merged the City and the Territory into a single entity called the District of Columbia. <googlemap style="margin:25px;float:right" version="0.9" lat="38.905729" lon="-76.994247" zoom="12" type="map" width="450" selector="no" overview="yes" controls="large"> </googlemap>

Points of interest

Opened in 1835, the National Theatre on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, three blocks from The White House, hosted performances of many magic acts.

Chase's Theater, opened in 1912, hosted many vaudeville magicians.

Al's Magic Shop, started by selling gifts and novelties, in 1936 then added some magic tricks from S.S. Adams Company. The store would eventually evolve into a Magic Shop run by Al Cohen. It closed its doors on April 12, 2004.

Genii magazines headquarters is in Washington D.C.

Library of Congress stores collections from many prominent magicians, including Houdini's.

Harry Baker's Fun Shop, 924, 17th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. opened in 1946. It so happened that at the time, Harry Blackstone was appearing with his magnificent show at the National Theater in Washington and one of the first clerks the store had was the Great Blackstone.[1]. By 1955, the Baker Magic and Novelty Company was located at 1735 "L" Street, N. W.

Magic clubs include the SAM assembly number 23 and IBM ring 50.


  • In March, 1879, the Harry Kellar had booked into Ford's Opera House in Washington, D.C., only to find that Robert Heller had "burned up the spot" with his show a few weeks before. Kellar, needing to do something to attract people decided to give a Sunday evening lecture on spiritualism which was a great success [2]
  • November 5, 1889 - Robert Nickle collapsed after a show at the Globe Theater in Washington, D.C. from a combination of heart failure, tuberculosis and alcoholism. He was picked up unconscious in the streets of Washington and carried to a hospital where he died. Nickle was later buried in a potter's field somewhere nearby.
  • January 6, 1906 - Houdini escape from a United States Jail cell in Washington, D. C, where Charles J. Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfleld, was once confined. He released all the other inmates of murderers' row cells, and transferring each to another cell than the one they were originally in. [3] (The Washington Asylum and Jail was located along the Anacostia River just south of today's D.C. General Hospital.)
  • September, 1906 - Houdini's series of novel vanishing stunts on the stage began in Washington, D.C. when he spirited himself out of a zinc-lined piano box made by William Knabe and Company. [4]
  • April 20,1916 - about 100,000 people (the single largest assemblage of people in that city's history outside of a presidential inauguration) made their way in front of the Munsey Building in downtown Washington, D.C. on Pennsylvania Avenue between Thirteenth and Fifteenth to watch Houdini perform his straitjacket escape upside down, one hundred feet in the air.[5] (The Munsey Trust Building was a high-rise building, adjacent to the National Theatre (Washington, D.C.). The building rose to 171 feet (52 m) containing 13 floors. It was demolished in 1982 and their now stands a 16-story National Place Building.)
  • May 30,31, and June 1, 1935 - The seventh annual conference of the S.A.M. was held at the Wardman Park Hotel.
  • 1958 - Blackstone played supplied the magic for and played the part of a magician in "Starward Ark", a two-act comedy-melodrama that opened at the Shubert Theatre in Washington, D.C. the day after Christmas, 1958. It folded after three performances.


Russell Swann was born here in 1901, Al Leech in 1918.

Robert Heller moved to Washington, D.C. to become a music teacher at one time.

Father Cyprian went to graduate school in Washington, D.C.

Theodore T. Golden was a noted Washington D.C. Lawyer and President of the Society of American Magicians from 1937 to 1938.

Imro Fox made his debut as a magician in Washington, D. C in 1880, after serving as chef in several hotels.[6]

Charon (Le Roy McCafferty) began his career as a magician in Washington, D. C, where he was a popular club and society entertainer for a number of years.[7]

Amateur magician, Will H. Chandlee of Washington, D. C. was the inventor of "The Vanishing Ray" and "The Yoge's Mirror".[8]

The Zancigs took up permanent residence in Washington, D. C. around 1915 and Agnes Zancig was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.[9]

Charles S. Eby, of Washington, D. C, was a conjurer and elocutionist.


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  1. Harry Baker's Magic Shop, Genii 1952 August
  2. Houdini The Man Who Walked Through Walls by William Lindsay Gresham (1959)
  3. Mahatma, February 1906
  4. Houdini His Life-Story by Harold Kellock (1928)
  5. Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman (2006)
  6. History of Conjuring and Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1928)
  7. History of Conjuring and Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1928)
  8. History of Conjuring and Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1928)
  9. Sphinx (April, 1916)