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Washington in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Racing at Brightwood

Battleground to Community

 

—Brightwood Heritage Trail —

 
Racing at Brightwood Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
1. Racing at Brightwood Marker
Inscription. Fresh Water Springs in this pleasant high ground once drew European settlers. Farmers called the area "Crystal Spring." In 1859 the half-mile Crystal Spring Racetrack opened on land to your left. For 75 cents, Washingtonians hopped a stagecoach from Washington City (south of Florida Avenue) for a day at the races. Later known as the Brightwood Trotting Park, the course attracted laborers, congressmen, and everyone in between. Over time horses, bicycles, autos, and even mules competed along the track. A reservoir was built just South of the track in 1899, and tennis courts were added later. Racing continued until 1909. In 1936 the reservoir was filled in for the courts and playing fields known as the Brightwood Recreation Area of Rock Creek Park on 16th Street.

The Brightwood racetrack made headlines in 1894, when hundreds of unemployed men camped there during the nation's first mass march on Washington. An economic crash had forced thousands out of work, leading Ohio businessman Jacob Coxey to mount a campaign to persuade the U.S. government to create jobs by building modern roads and public facilities. His followers, dubbed "Coxey's Army" by reporters, walked hundreds of miles to present this new idea to Congress. To cheering crowds, they paraded from Brightwood to the Capital. But Congress found the new political tactic
Racing at Brightwood Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
2. Racing at Brightwood Marker
threatening. Coxey was arrested on the Capitol steps, and his petition was never presented.

. The bus turnaround just behind you was built in 1936 for the number 52 streetcar. The first streetcar arrived in 1907 as an extension of the 14th Street line from Park Road.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 1.)
 
Location. 38° 57.355′ N, 77° 1.997′ W. Marker is in Washington, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Sixteenth Street NW and Colorado Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Sixteenth Street NW. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5427 14th St NW, Washington, DC ‎, Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mayor Emery and the Union Army (approx. 0.3 miles away); Hold the Mayo! (approx. 0.4 miles away); School Days (approx. 0.4 miles away); Military Road School (approx. 0.4 miles away); Crossroads Create Community (approx. 0.4 miles away); Build It And They Will Come (approx. half a mile away); An African American Enclave (approx. half a mile away); A Streetcar Named Brightwood (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Washington.
 
Related markers. Click here
Racing at Brightwood Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
3. Racing at Brightwood Marker
for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Follow the Brightwood Heritage Trail.
 
Categories. EntertainmentIndustry & CommerceLabor Unions
 
Wheelmen at Brightwood image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
4. Wheelmen at Brightwood
A Capital Bicycling Club race, 1888.
Close-up of photo on marker
Brightwood Driving Park image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
5. Brightwood Driving Park
Brightwood Driving Park (racecourse) stretched westward from 14th Street to beyond 16th in 1903. (The names of Ingraham and Hamilton streets later changed to Longfellow and Madison.)
Close-up of map on marker
Harness Racing image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
6. Harness Racing
Hitched up for a harness race Brightwood, around 1900.
Close-up of photo on marker
Coxey's Army image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
7. Coxey's Army
Members of Coxey's Army leave Brightwood for the Capitol, 1894.
Close-up of photo on marker
Tennis Courts image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
8. Tennis Courts
By 1926, tennis courts occupied the old racetrack site.
Close-up of photo on marker
Streetcar Turnaround image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
9. Streetcar Turnaround
Workers build track to complete the new streetcar (now bus) turnaround here, 1936.
Brightwood Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
10. Brightwood Hotel
In the 1890s racing fans stayed at the Piney Branch Hotel at the Brightwood Trotting Park here on Colorado Avenue (then called Piney Branch Road)
Close-up of photo on reverse of marker
Bus Turnaround image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
11. Bus Turnaround
Bus Turnaround image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
12. Bus Turnaround
Bus Turnaround image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
13. Bus Turnaround
Mural(s) on the Childrens Medical Care Center Building image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
14. Mural(s) on the Childrens Medical Care Center Building
Detail of Mural image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
15. Detail of Mural
Detail of Mural image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
16. Detail of Mural
Garvey Lives! image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
17. Garvey Lives!
One God
One Aim
One Destiny
1914 to the present.
Poem image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
18. Poem
Do nothin' till you hear from me

what did Ellington mean
when he said

"I love you madly"

his hands touching a
piano not made of flesh

-- E. Ethelbert Miller
painting by Lori Tsang
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 616 times since then and 15 times this year. Last updated on , by Richard Fried of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on October 31, 2016.
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