Yesterday (November 26, 2023), I posted my newest deep-dive video on my YouTube channel, "Watergate: A Geographic History." It has proven extremely successful even less than 24 hours out and may go on to be my most popular video. As is now customary on this blog, I thought I'd do an article about it and the making of it. This one may be a little shorter than usual. After working intensively on the video for several weeks--and for 12-14 hours a day in the final days--you can forgive me for being a little tired of Watergate, Richard Nixon and the whole story of the scandal that still, 50 years later, is a subject of intense fascination by Americans and even others around the globe.
Similar to "Manson: A Geographic History," my look at Watergate proceeds from a survey of various places associated with the event. Longtime readers of this blog at the paid tier will recognize that the video in fact began its life as an article on this blog (it's here), in which I detailed the history of the physical site on which the Watergate office, residence and hotel complex sits. That history is complex and fascinating. Originally the home of the Nacotchtank people who were decimated by European-brought diseases in the 17th century, the Watergate area, which is a small notch in the Potomac River just opposite Anacostine (now Theodore Roosevelt) Island, eventually became an industrial power plant manufacturing coal gas, then a restaurant, and finally the Kennedy Center and the Watergate complex. Chapter 2 of the video delves into this history, and the article from this blog back in June was the basis for it. I've long been fascinated by the ties the site has to events much farther back in the past than the burglary and the Nixon scandal. That was the jumping off point for the geographic study of Watergate.