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Deanwood in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Designed to Compete
A Self-Reliant People

Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail
 
Designed to Compete Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
1. Designed to Compete Marker
 
Inscription. This quaint frame building has served several church congregations since its construction in 1908. The First Zion Baptist Church stayed for more than 60 years. Since 1993 members of Joshua's Temple First Born Church have worshiped within its walls.

One of the city's first academically trained Black architects, William Sidney Pittman (1875-1958), designed this understated structure. Pittman trained at Tuskegee Institute, where he won the support of the founder Booker T. Washington and later taught. In 1905 resigned from Tuskegee to move to Washington and establish a private architectural practice. By the fall of 1906 Pittman had entered and won the competition for the "Negro Building" at the Jamestown (Virginia) Ter-centennial Exposition. In 1907 he married Washington's daughter Portia. The couple returned to this area and lived in a house Pittman designed in nearby Fairmont Heights, Maryland, an all-Black community he helped plan. Among Pittman's DC commissions were Garfield Elementary School and the 12th Street Colored Young Men's Christian Association (now Thurgood Marshall Center for Science and Heritage).

Pittman also designed the building to the right of the church, home of the Deanwood Chess House, a branch of the Big Chair Chess Club since 1991. The club uses chess to teach children and adults that their
 
Designed to Compete Marker with Pittman-designed church in view across Sheriff Rd. Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
2. Designed to Compete Marker with Pittman-designed church in view across Sheriff Rd.
 
decisions in life, as on the game board, have consequences. Mentors demonstrate how the concentration and self-discipline required by chess are important life skills. "Always think before you move" is the club's motto. Chess instructors occasionally take the giant chess set above the entrance to schools for teamwork exercises.
 
Erected by Cultural Touism DC. (Marker Number 12 of 15.)
 
Location. 38° 54.167′ N, 76° 56.405′ W. Marker is in Deanwood, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Sheriff Road, NE east of 43rd Place, NE. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20019, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Whirl on the Ferris Wheel (approx. half a mile away); Fort Mahan (approx. 0.7 miles away); Original Federal Boundary Stone NE 9 (approx. one mile away); Fort Chaplin (approx. 1.1 miles away); Woodlawn Cemetery (approx. 1.2 miles away); In Honor of the Men and Women of Fairmount Heights who Served in World War II (approx. 1.3 miles away in Maryland); Original Federal Boundary Stone Northeast 7 (approx. 1.5 miles away in Maryland); National Capitol Columns (approx. 1.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Deanwood.
 
More about this marker.
 
Designed to Compete Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, August 14, 2009
3. Designed to Compete Marker
close-ups of the Pittman Family and the architect's renowned "Negro Building" at the 1907 Jamestown Exposition.
 
[Photo captions:]

William Sidney Pittman, wife Portia, and daughter Fannie Virginia (Library of Congress).

William Sidney Pittman's "Negro Building" at the exposition marking the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, 1907 (Library of Congress).

Portia Washington Pittman, right, helped launch the S.S. Booker T. Washington, named for her father, in 1942. At left is Mary Mcleod Bethune with Marian Anderson at center and DC Recorder of Deeds Dr. William Thompkins between Anderson and Pittman (Library of Congress).

In May 2005, Senior Master Greg Acholonu, standing, visited and played 22 games simultaneously (Collection of Eugene Brown).

A typical Saturday, below, at the Deanwood Chess House, a branch of the Big Chair Chess Club: 12 boards are always ready for adults and children to play (Collection of Eugene Brown).
 
Also see . . .
1. William Sidney Pittman in Texas. (Submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Church Collapse in Blizzard. The February 10, 2010 article noted the roof of Joshua's Temple First Born Church collapsed because of the heavy snow and a fallen tree. (Submitted on February 13, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 
 
The Joshua's Temple First Born Church and Deanwood Chess House Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
4. The Joshua's Temple First Born Church and Deanwood Chess House
 
 
Designed to Compete Marker - photo of Deanwood Community on reverse Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, August 6, 2009
5. Designed to Compete Marker - photo of Deanwood Community on reverse
"At the end of this 1948 view of Sheriff Rd. stretching back to Minnesota Ave. is the old Watkins lumber yard. Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,107 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 16, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
 
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