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This is American Adventure a study of man in the new world what he believes and what he lives by. Written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton American Adventure is produced and recorded by the communication center of the University of North Carolina. Earl when Director Tonight's program is about the founding of Washington D.C. and there's quite a story to be told about it and about PR long fall. The French designer who planned it for a long fall is an unusual man. We will pick up his story when he is at a meeting called by George Washington at which he has to show the plans for the capital city. The hour long fall has come to the meeting after having given long thought to the task at hand but without any plans at all. This we know and all phone knows it and Washington and Jefferson and the others are soon to find it out I assure you a gentleman in the Major will present to us a beautiful unfinished plan come up and take the floor manager. Yes. And then gentlemen it's
it's quite an honor to be here but I didn't expect anyone else would. I do want to thank you Mr. President for doing cutaway model that are not at all. Suppose you spread your map out here on the top of the desk major and get on with it. Yes. I suppose you know did he do it. The battle mark and this is what creek here this is my city. Where is the new City Major I don't have it. Not on paper. You see it is a terribly complex problem to be done right. Do you have any idea about the plan for the city major what we have in my mind to Jeff so. Where is the Capitol Building to be placed. Deficit here which which could be a big broad countryside about to part two miles to the Potomac. Too much but a parking between a two mile park yes. And where were the president's policies go next to the Capitol no shit.
Does Another hear here about a mile or so away. But Major How can you get from one to another. But I am quite aware that a man can go from one place to another by carriage. But why should we go to the expense of building such a street. Well the two buildings can be placed together it is not a street it is an avenue and what is the difference. I plan so a street is a hundred and sixty feet wide whereas an avenue is wider. Mr. President with all due respect to those gentlemen I have never heard of such a plan. Now I saw Mr. Jefferson's proposed plan which was very beautiful and certainly reasonable. Let's be reasonable gentlemen trying to design the city gentry Jefferson drew that was a city wasn't in Malaysia. But but he's been known for centuries that you can mark off tweeds in one direction and cost him was going to not then have a city but there's no art to Jefferson. Would you care to comment. A five year old boy might make at the plant by actually down. You'll have to pardon me for laughing too Billy totally beautiful said you must play with the land in
the heels team delivers which is far worse and by simple use of the acid nature is deputy Julie beautiful city. It work of. Would you care to say anything. George I'm not a designer of cities as I just heard Major laugh on discuss that what was said about my plan Oh said somewhat more dramatically than action necessary. Yeah. Indeed apologetic pursued Jefferson my temple is so awesome as you are actually about using a level piece of ground one man not to be sure have so dramatic a city but a city a more practical and serviceable one that is also beautiful and reasonable expand Except that not all right now we have a chart which no nation has ever given itself the chance to build its capital city by plan rather than just by need it with enough to say that a city should be could be changed in at a time but it could not Mr. President because it would not it is now that we must see here by deeds Markey we will demonstrate
our feet and the future of this country. We will show you the Divell nation India would develop avenues and a link of our parks we will call to rise here in India in our data beginnings of a city too big for us to but but not too large for our grandchildren. Don't you see gentlemen I tell you we must Invision this nation as it is to be won or nations of the world. Yes even England and France and Spain will stand and salute her and say look what brave men have done. Look at. It isn't found yet. A nation. How can an American plan for listing great news gentleman rarely before I've heard another voice my own sentiments so beautifully. Thank you Mr. President. Thank you for your advice gentlemen. There are some other matters I must attend to. So excuse me please. I wish you luck mature. Thank you Mr. Jefferson. I think you were designing for us a beautiful city.
Oh I hope so I assure you we share your dream of a great nation but the greatness of the nation is judged not by her cities nor by the buildings of her government but by the degree of freedom given her people from their government and from their neighbors. My vision is not so much of a nation as it is a man not of America so much as it is of the American free even to be wrong. Free to disagree free to condemn his government if he wishes. Neighbor if you dare. No that is a dream as great as your city might put it out to determine the extent of government Mr Jefferson. But only two pennies to the which will be flexible enough to serve whatever size government you vote I understand it and I wish you luck and as you think you said. It was not long before the plan. Has completed the work began on the capital city and the people of Georgetown and the surrounding area looked with amazement as the men began clearing
constitutes an avenue with other avenues for development. Massachusetts the Carolinas Maryland Georgia and the rest of the states of the great 13. And some of the people were impressed by the tremendous expenses and the plan to fulfill. Others were unimpressed. Mud hole that's what he's in Macon got so many mud holes you can't drive away going through in less than three hours a village a magnificent distance is that's what it is monumental town of houses without streets and streets without houses. So I saw this Frenchman sitting there on his horse watching him and Claire and I want up to him and I said Pardon me sir. And I pointed to some workers a couple hundred feet away and said Could you tell me if this here Avenue is going to be longer and from here to them man or is at the end of it. Well his eyebrows got heavier and his eyes got smaller like a devil he was and then he had calm like that ain't that lank Monsoor. That's the width that's the width he said. Down a couple hundred yards away and that's still it. They say there is to be a wide avenue that goes from the president palace to the gap but
they're building an avenue over a mile long and you can see one building from the other. They call this a Pennsylvania Avenue and it will doubtless become the avenue of St.. Except that it is in good Siebel that tidy nation can ever afford the tremendous expense of paving is not a log stretch of roadway carriage traffic would be impossible in the wooded. Font. Please be reasonable with them trying to be reasonable. Weeks you have consistently refused to cooperate with this commission I have not refused to go out. We are after all the legal commission appointed by the press about the president work under the zine and Billy city basted and I k under under heaven the busy did I k I will tell you bluntly L'Enfant that in the future you will cooperate with us reasonably and honestly you will certainly be removed even in spite of President Washington.
You don't like my work it is not a question of liking or disliking I understand it is a question of size if not not necessarily but of organization. The president's advisers have said they'd like my city but Dan did not come to you and say it is too big or too expensive even willful must be controlled. To assert that there has been no criticism of the proportions of this it is well is to deny what the whole world is they would cut my tv down to death. What about this waterfall Anyway long from last fall I know of no waterfall I hear you land a waterfall out in that kelp pastor you're clearing before the Capitol building past the date palm. It's a cow pasture if I ever saw one hawk. Well all I know is that cows are grazing out there and there's room for a thousand and a waterfall you mention it is not a waterfall It is a custom it is on fire and we are not interested in words but in fact figures prices reasons. Now there's a cascade I understand has to be 150 feet long and forty feet high. Is that true. Idiots. Now just in case somebody might
ask one of us commissioners what in the devil with a building such a cascade for. And where in the devil we're together this vast amount of water. Would you mind telling us it had to be a focal point laid a few blocks south of the Capitol building and it wanted to be brought in from the source is a tieback creek. Now I hope all of us have memorized that answer because I'm sure we'll have need of it than that in the coming days. You say this cascade is not to be in front of the Capitol building. It has to be at the intersection of North Carolina and New Jersey Avenue and make a note of that somebody. Well now that's five major. There might be one more question that will be asked how much is this cascade going to call. I do not know most here but do think it would be possible to construct a capital city which did not have such a cascade. Yes miss you but not for discounting. I anticipated that feeling on your part is dead. All over all it doesn't all the lots are to be sold come Friday. Well they all marked off for the auction. Yes when you attend the sale. Yes you will bring a copy of the plan with you. To show
to the people who are buying a lot we can expect them to buy a pig in a poke. I do not know DS did his pig in a poke but I do know what I have said that no group should seed is planted to Compass have been mailed to all sections of this country. But it only interested me have shown this to by choice not that is my position position of this commission is that you would attend the say. And there you will show the bias your plan so that the bias can tell where these lots are located in relation to the president's palace the Capitol various cascade waterfalls pastures parks avenues a question statues canals plaques and much. There is nothing else. GENTLEMAN Good afternoon. Of all he and someone temperamental impossible imbeciles. Where in the world did George Washington locate him. One feature of the phone plan was that from the Capitol building you might look down Pennsylvania Avenue and
see the president's palace which of course we today call the White House. Halfway between the two at the point of several springs Wilson planned to build five impressive so it's all very well. But unfortunately Daniel Carroll of being sure the Pennsylvania Avenue would never developed to any extent proceeded to build his house the place of these springs on a foundation which had been laid before the federal city was started for him but completing the house was an advisable. But then there were Carroll and his wife wanted a new brick home they built it and when the phone sent word for them to tear it down they rather pointedly refused so they were not to have done them so indicated that that was their general feeling at the moment. But if you tear it down I don't know Pierre. Just tell me what to do when the laborers get the avenue clear down to the house. Just tell me that. What would you do to Hathaway treat I would be astonished if he has a treat you do
not cut it down if you say so I suppose I would take to have to end it all. All right Pierre and the commission as they must not know until we are in no way I would be out of town and write him a letter. We've got it made. Yes be sure of what you'd have done to how to have good carpenters who would do a little damage to the material as possible. But tat it down it does now. But the commissioners were notified of lawfulness plans and hardly had the workmen begun tearing down the Carroll home when the commissioners stopped the operation. Yeah many miles away purchasing a quarry from which the white stone for the Capitol and president's house would come third soon enough official and with his Continental langar fully aroused he wore out one of the best horses in America getting back to the sprawling capital city. He reined up in front of the Carroll house and Marshall his workman.
I want you to take defended you out of the house and sit under the trees and and I want to carpenters and masons to go to work at once to take off the roof and bring down the sour. And it's a commission I do not like it let them go to Philadelphia and talk to President Washington. So the man went to work tearing down the Carroll house. Good American labors had never torn down a house. It's a fact is not many houses that ever been torn down in this whole continent except. Good Masons are awkward and taking a part of solid masonry wall. And carpenters moved slowly when taking molding from around the fireplace. But down came the house down to the foundation. Down to the cellar where the wind would have kept cool in summer. Tears of joy to the lot. But was clearly drawn between the commissioners. And. Truong. Said Mr. L'Enfant. Q
I quoted from my office to state Mr. L'Enfant that the commission is displeased with your recent action in one of the deposit at Washington and I made clear that my own wherever your letter we hope that you were aware of President Washington's out of the use stating that your actions are to be under the control of this commission. Is that your only comment. I have here some plans for the winter work and the L'Enfant Are there any more houses that are standing in the way of your plan. The House of Nutley young must come down. It did tweet perhaps seven years also would be time enough. We must write Mr. Young and relieve his mind about this. I have already written him. You have written him. Who are you to write it. Well I said you know I commissioned my commission should write him not you. I have to plan here for the winter work Major with this attitude there isn't going to be any winter work the activities of the Federal City are approaching a standstill. This commission is going to have authority over you. If we must stop
work on the federal city entirely we are going to have authority over you. A few weeks later as tension continued long men were discharged and L'Enfant overseer was in prison for breaking the new rules of the commission. The work on the federal city was stopped. President Washington has called a special meeting of his advisors Mr. Lovell. He told me to talk to you and report back with the work stopped laborers discharged construction at an absolute standstill and you when the commissioner is writing letters about each other I never did in personalities Mr. Lee. Be that as it may I'm here to state that the president feels this entire matter can and must be worked out but no reconciliation can be reached if you refuse to work under the commission as law of Congress directs you must do commission. But under the commission these commissioners will not be removed I promise you.
Surely your grievances are not so great great they are beyond great when you take my plan without my permission and give it to a surveyor to make changes. A man who knows nothing about cities they take my plan into this and when they have tweeted me copies of it around the world under survey I had his name put on a design rather than me without question Major that is a serious grievance. Perhaps a personal apology and reward it is not my main great event it is a very great grievance but not integrated. Then please what is the greatest. I was bored the next day to get back in time for the cabinet meeting. I do not know my main reason I beg your pardon I said I have no idea how to tell you but I do appear before the cabinet and say gentlemen. What am I to say I don't know it is difficult to explain even to myself but it comes to this. I am asked to design a city. I do something beautiful evolved in my mind I can put it all on paper. I see it evolving not as a finished work
and even such things that I see you will not go on paper without becoming words the index's figure you understand but in my mind I see the beginnings of a beautiful city sold in this country to look at my city planet to see nothing of beauty to see only only word sketches Lions budget indexes and if they do away with now will he be too much for our money. The changing figures on paper but actually they are changing the features of my city. I printed out a pretty it is it becomes clear and then I say no you cannot do this and this is why I may not be authorized by Congress and it comes time for me to speak in a bottle but I cannot you understand. Not in the slightest You see I am a markedly clear nobody. That is Major I think you may be saying something but what I cannot expect any better. But what are you explaining. After all most of the commission's criticism comes down to your disregard for their authority not of this.
My father always said to me use a big canvas not paint except only began there have been paintings on small canvases which are rather good it seems to me so I have no doubt that they killed most Frenchmen his paintings and all of his enemies which mean what even his paintings were Fiesta were powerful they were confident they were victorious. Even Tibet had with the history books had been lost my father pleaded and victorious in defeat. Love disappears in the face I wonder if we could come back to the subject my dear. I have heard critics come to my father and say look you know we're not all that good you know he whispered and I thought it would be a pointed stepladder petang he sold it on a big canvas and he would peer down at him and say we will be what we envision a major long phone I would like to hear more about your famous father but at another time. What can I tell Mr washing you might say began first an opportunity to say in a
city what his father said in battle that this nation can be ported in vision. I had to go back to see George Washington Thomas Jefferson Alexander Hamilton and the other founders of this nation and tell them that you are worried that the United States can become whatever it envisioned you were addressing through me the final authorities on the vision of the United States. Now sir please tell me what you have to say about the commission. Tell me what the tide. I am absolutely clear. But I'm not understood. I have tried to explain myself and I have this he only empty and I've explained myself to myself when I was a kid to me long ago. I have to do all I can say you know I have heard all that I want to hear about this matter is that your word for General Washington. Believe me he is not a man to be played. He wants you to stay and your president has either not officiated by destruction of my work. Let him find someone else to love this city for him to see mudhole does something other than they are
to city your state will be loading soon. A letter from Tom Jefferson cleared up the entire matter. By dismissing parallels. Actually there was no other possible court. Soon the political turmoil would try to reason. With the plan of PLO full was full on the lips. Some changes have been made down through the years many of which are now seen to be mistakes. But still Washington is built around the plan of lawful and he's buried now in Arlington Cemetery where he can look out over the city he designed. This man of the new world. This artist who saw everything on the rock who painted only on the big canvas who symbolized in a plan the greatness of the coming nation. And as you stand beside his grave as perhaps you will some day you will look out and see the
monument that commemorates. Lying stretching on the banks of the Potomac on one of the largest of canvassers. You will see the village monumental the town of my. Just. Beautiful city in America. Watch. American Adventure is written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton and is produced by the communications center of the University of North Carolina. Earl when director the series is made possible by grants in aid from the Educational Television and Radio Center
an organization established by the Ford Foundation and paint the big canvas the part of Pierre L'Enfant was played by Charles Hadley earlier and was Washington Jon Benet's was the chairman of the commissioners and Bill Waddell was Washington's assistant Mr. Lear cast members in all American adventure programs our students professors and townspeople of the University of North Carolina community and American Adventure is produced and recorded on the campus at Chapel Hill. Tonight's program originated from WPT in Raleigh North Carolina. You're. Right.
The line of service consultants for American adventure they do not always agree on the content or
merit of the scripts but the series is indebted to them for their criticisms and suggestions. They are Dr Bernard Boyd chairman of the Department of Religion Dr John Gill and professor of anthropology Dr Fletcher Greene chairman of the Department of History. Dr Everett W. Hall chairman of the Department of Philosophy Dr Frank W. haft professor of law Dr Clifford Lyons dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Howard Odom John Wood of the Department of Sociology Dr. William petite assistant professor of philosophy and Dr. Clemens Saumur professor of art history American Inventor is based on a proposal prepared by Robert Jenkins. In Pink The Big Canvas. Charles Hadley it was long gone. The entire cast was composed of students faculty members and townspeople of the University of North Carolina community American adventurous produced and recorded on the campus at Chapel Hill. This is the in a B network.
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American adventure
Paint the big canvas
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A study of visionary planning. The story of Pierre L'Enfant, designer of Washington, D.C.
Series Description
This series studies the values and characteristics of notable figures from America's early years. It is written by John M. Ehle and directed by John S. Clayton.
Founding Fathers of the United States.
Media type
Actor: Hadley, Charles
Director: Clayton, John S.
Host: Kasell, Carl.
Producing Organization: University of North Carolina
Writer: Ehle, John, 1925-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 5024 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “American adventure; Paint the big canvas,” 1956-05-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “American adventure; Paint the big canvas.” 1956-05-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: American adventure; Paint the big canvas. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from