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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

The History of USDA Slide Show

Beltsville Centennial LogoThe history of the US Department of Agriculture can be traced back to 1839 when the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office was established. The mission of this Division was to acquire, propagate, evaluate and distribute seeds and plants, and to collect agricultural statistics and production information. In 1862, the Agricultural Division became the US Department of Agriculture.

In 1865, the USDA began its move from the Patent Office building to " Street Map for Reservation No.2 ". The Reservation was located on 35 acres of land between 12th and 14th Streets and the Canal (now Independence Avenue) and B Street (now Constitution Avenue). In 1868, a building, designed by Adolf Cluss, was constructed on the south side of the Reservation. In 1871, a Victorian-style Conservatory, also designed by Adolf Cluss, was constructed just west of the Agricultural Building.

As the mission and research program expanded, additional land and facilities in the surrounding Washington, Maryland, and Virginia area were leased. During the late 1930's, all the research facilities in Maryland, Virginia and Washington were co-located at the "National Agricultural Research Center" in Beltsville, MD.

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Early History
Part 1 Patent Office, U.S. Propagation Garden
Part 2 USDA Established, Move out of Patent Office, Conservatory Contructed, Arboretum Americanum,
Plants
Part 1 Expanded Program, Additional Facilities, Add Land
Part 2 Wilson Reorganization, Flower Shows
Part 3 Arlington
Part 4 Cherry Trees, Yarrow, Glen Dale, 1930 Organization. Depression
Part 5 Henry A. Wallace, Beltsville. Experimental Farm Moves, Mall
Animals
Part 1 Bureau of Animal Industry, Benning Rd, Bethesda, Wilson Reorganization
Part 2 Beltsville, Dairy and Animal Husbandry, Poultry
Part 3 Henry C. Wallace, 1930 Organization, Depression
Part 4 Henry A. Wallace, Animal Disease moves to Beltsville, CCC, Poultry Road
Part 5 Turkeys, Animal Husbandry and Dairy
Arboretum
Part 1 Introduction, Geometrical Flower Beds
Part 2 Annual and Perennial Plants, Trees and Shrubs, Conservatory
Part 3 Museum, Greenhouses
Part 4 Flower Shows
Part 5 Tourist Attraction, Move to Anacostia Site
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Last Modified: 9/29/2010