New York City was the first capital of the United States once the Constitution was ratified. George Washington took the oath of office to become the first President of the United States from the balcony of the old City Hall.
One of the issues the President had to deal with was a permanent location for the country’s seat of government. As part of a compromise, it was decided that the capital would move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1791 for ten years and then to a suitable permanent location on the Potomac River. Washington chose an area that included land from the states of Maryland and Virginia. At this time the area was primarily farm and marsh lands. Congress was scheduled to meet in the new capital on the first Monday in December 1800.
Pierre Charles L’Enfant was hired to design the “Federal City.” On June 11, 1800, the capital of the United States had a permanent home in Washington, D.C.