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

Ceremony at the Crossroads

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

—Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 9, 2008
1. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker
Inscription. “Imagine a great avenue [with] solid ranks of soldiers, just marching steady all day long, for two days. ...” Walt Whitman.

It took two days for the grand parade of 200,000 victorious Union soldiers described by the great American poet and Civil War nurse Walt Whitman to march down Pennsylvania Avenue past this spot, headed for review by President Andrew Johnson at the White House.

Whitman might have been standing right here on May 23 or 24, 1865. This had been the ceremonial and commercial crossroads of the city since the federal government moved to the banks of the Potomac River in 1800. Pennsylvania Avenue has been an inaugural parade route for every President since Thomas Jefferson. For 130 years, this triangular space before you was the city’s town square–home of the Center Market where Cabinet secretaries, government clerks and laborers alike might be seen with a live chicken under the arm.

All around you are reminders of the Civil War. A statue of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, a hero at Gettysburg, commands a small park across Seventh Street. In the plaza across Indiana Avenue, stands a memorial to the founder of the Grand Army of the Republic, Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, dedicated by a few hundred grizzled veterans in 1909. The building where Civil War photographer Matthew Brady had
Upper Photos on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
2. Upper Photos on Marker
Union troops marching on Pennsylvania Avenue, May 23- 24, 1865.

Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood served with Union fighting forces in the Fourth U.S. Colored Troops and was awarded the Medal of Honor. Yet African American combat troops were barred by General William Tecumseh Sherman from marching in the May 1865 review.
his studio, its exterior only slightly altered, remains around the corner at 627 Pennsylvania Avenue. And the three little buildings at 637-641 Indiana Avenue were witness to it all.

Today, some of the history made here is preserved in the great neo-classical National Archives building just across Pennsylvania Avenue. Market Space is now the hub of a new downtown, alive with theaters and restaurants, a new sports arena, museums, shops and homes–a mixture of activities that reflects its historic role as the heart of the nations’s capital.

(Back):
The Civil War (1861 - 1865) transformed Washington, DC from a muddy backwater to a center of national power. Ever since, the city has been at the heart of the continuing struggle to realize fully the ideas for which the war was fought. The 25 signs that mark this trail follow the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglas, and others, famous and humble, who shaped a nation and its capital city while living and working in historic downtown DC.

Civil War to Civil Rights Downtown Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour consists of three distinct loops: West, Center, and East. Each one-mile loop offers about an hour of gentle exercise.

A free booklet capturing the trail's highlights is available at local businesses
Matthew Brady image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
3. Matthew Brady
Civil War photographer Matthew Brady who captured battlefield scenes like this, had a studio around the corner. He invited Lincoln to come and sit for a portrait.
and institutions along the way. To download the free Civil War to Civil Rights Audio Tour, and learn about other DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CuturalTourismDC.org.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number .2.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil War to Civil Rights marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.64′ N, 77° 1.308′ W. Marker is in Penn Quarter, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 7th Street, NW and Indiana Avenue, NW, on the right when traveling north on 7th Street, NW. Click for map. Marker is one block north of Pennsylvania Avenue and across the street from the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro rail station. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20004, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. General Winfield Scott Hancock (within shouting distance of this marker); Grand Army of the Republic (within shouting distance of this marker); Chief Petty Officers' (within shouting distance of this marker); National Council of Negro Women (within shouting distance of this marker); America's Main Street (within shouting
637-641 Indiana Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
4. 637-641 Indiana Avenue
Federal style commercial structures have stood at 637-641 Indiana Avenue since the 1820s.
distance of this marker); The Navy Memorial - from Bow to Stern (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The United States Navy Memorial (about 300 feet away); National Intelligencer (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Penn Quarter.
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsGovernmentHeroesPeacePoliticsRoads & VehiclesWar, US Civil
 
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
5. Back of Marker
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 9, 2008
6. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker (reverse)
Pedestrians share Pennsylvania Avenue at Seventh Street with streetcars and horse-drawn wagons in 1901.
Map of the Downtown Heritage Trail System image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
7. Map of the Downtown Heritage Trail System
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
8. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker
Winfield Scott Hancok image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 9, 2008
9. Winfield Scott Hancok
Statue across 7th Street from marker at entrance to Metro rail station.
Grand Army of the Republic Monument image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 13, 2008
10. Grand Army of the Republic Monument
in Indiana Plaza, south of marker.
Temperance Monument image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 13, 2008
11. Temperance Monument
Indiana Plaza, south of marker.
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 13, 2008
12. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker
View from across 7th Street. Marker is beneath the traffic light - Indiana Avenue is to the right.
Crossroads: 2008 image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 13, 2008
13. Crossroads: 2008
637-641 Indiana Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, July 13, 2008
14. 637-641 Indiana Avenue
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,524 times since then and 96 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   7, 8. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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