- To the End of the Civil War Era (1860-1879)
This section of the book shows that the city was in great need of improvements to its infrastructure following the Civil War. The government reorganized and invested in growth and development of roads, buildings, utilities and landscaping.
- The New Washington to the Gilded Age (1880-1920)
During this period Washington continued to grow in population and politicians settled in the city. New neighborhoods were created, many with impressive mansions near the White House, Judiciary Square and the Capitol. In the early 1900s the public began demonstrating for political and social causes.
- Isolationism to War (1921-1949)
During the era of the Depression and World War II, the nation's capital matured and the residential areas of the city spread out. Embassies and statues of international figures were built. The African American population increased and neighborhoods became segregated. Also during these years, the public increasingly participated in public protests and federal agencies were created as a part of Roosevelt's New Deal.
- Postwar Growth and Decline (1950-1970)
After World War II many Washington, DC residents moved out to the suburbs and the outer edges of the city. Racial desegregation became controversial and race riots took place in the late 1960s leading to the decline in the old downtown area of the city.
The image on the cover of shows a member of the Capital Bicycle Club riding down the steps of the Capitol Building in 1884.