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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbia Heights in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Main Street

Cultural Convergence

 

—Columbia Heights Heritage Trail —

 
Main Street Marker (front) image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 24, 2009
1. Main Street Marker (front)
Inscription. Marker Front:
Fourteenth Street has always been the business backbone of Columbia Heights. Beginning in the 1890s, electric streetcars dropped passengers at nearly every corner, attracting commerce. By 1925 storefronts occupied the blocks between Euclid and Otis Streets.

Most stores, often less than 20 feet wide, were family run and offered one line of products. In 192 on 14th Street between Irving Street and Park Road alone, you could find hats, bicycles, men's clothing, ladies’ clothing, automobiles, hardware, musical instruments, candy, cigars, paint, meats, baked goods, and real estate. Larger establishments included drug stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and the Arcade, a granddaddy to the modern shopping mall, with food stalls and family entertainment. After World War II, nightspots featured “hillbilly” music and catered to migrants from rural states.

In 1927 J. Willard and Alice Marriott, a young couple from Utah, chose a storefront on the west side of 14th Street for their first business. The opened an A&W Root Beer franchise at 3128 14th Street, added spicy Southwestern style food, and dubbed the enterprise Hot Shoppe. It grew into the Hot Shoppes chain, and by 1957, Marriott food services and hotels.

The riots following the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther
Main Street Marker (revese) image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 24, 2009
2. Main Street Marker (revese)
King, Jr., in April 1968 devastated 14th Street. Most of the businesses that weren’t actually burned out closed, setting off a downward spiral. While immigrants and activists brought some new enterprises in the 1980s, it took the opening of the Columbia Heights Metrorail station in 1999 to begin the latest revival.

Marker Reverse
More than 200 years ago, city planner Pierre Charles L’Enfant designed a new capital city on the low coastal plain at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, bordered on the north by a steep hill. Today the hill defines Columbia Heights.

Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Heritage Trail takes you on a tour of the lively neighborhood that began as a remote suburb of Washington City. Over time, transportation innovations, starting with streetcars, made Columbia Heights accessible and desirable. Soon, men and women of every background populated the neighborhood, people who changed the world with new technology, revolutionary ideas, literature, laws, and leadership. From the low point of the civil disturbances of 1968, Columbia Heights turned to resident leaders and rose again. Metrorail’s arrival in 1999 provided a boost, reviving the historically important 14th Street commercial corridor. Experience both the new and old Columbia Heights, with all its cultural and economic diversity, as you talk
Main Street Marker - presently in the midst of a construction zone image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, October 24, 2009
3. Main Street Marker - presently in the midst of a construction zone
at 14th and Irving Streets, NW, across Irving from the Columbia Heights Metro station.
this walk.

[A Description of the Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Heritage Trail tour and acknowledgment of its creators follows.]
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 1 of 19.)
 
Location. 38° 55.718′ N, 77° 1.944′ W. Marker is in Columbia Heights, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Irving Street, NW and 14th Street , NW, on the right when traveling east on Irving Street, NW. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Wilson Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Upheaval and Activism (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fashionable 16th Street (approx. ¼ mile away); Nob Hill (approx. ¼ mile away); Drum and Spear Bookstore Site (approx. ¼ mile away); Social Justice (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mount Pleasant: The Immigrants' Journey (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ambassadors of Faith (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Columbia Heights.
 
More about this marker. [Caption, photo in upper left of marker:]
In 1926, the Barker Motor Company and Gude’s Flowers occupied the site of today’s Metro Station, across Irving Street. (Library of Congress.)

[Caption,
Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
4. Main Street Marker
at the Columbia Heights Metro station
photo in upper right of marker:]

These businesses stood across 14th Street from this sign in 1960. (Collection of Ann Graham.)

[Caption, photo in upper center of marker:]
J. Willard Marriott, in the doorway, and his first employee, Robert Smice, pose at the first Hot Shoppe, 1927. (Marriott Corporation.)

[Caption, photo in center left of marker:]
In 1946, these ladies in starched withe uniforms and signature pocket hankies served scratch baked pies at Sholl’s Georgian Cafeteria, 3027 14th St. (Library of Congress.)

[Caption, photos in lower right of marker:]
The Ding How (later Starlight) restaurant and night club once occupied the block of Irving St. to your left. A section of the Pontiac dealership facade can be seen today. (Collection of Harold Silver.)

[Caption, photo in lower left of marker:]
Federal troops in gas masks approached from Hiatt Pl. as fire fighters set up to battle a blaze on Irving St. during the 1968 disturbances. (Washington Post.)

[Caption, photo in lower center of marker:]
After the riots closed many businesses, Nation of Islam members opened Shabazz Restaurant at 14th and Irving Sts., seen in 1973. (Washington Post.)

[Caption for picture on the marker's reverse:]
Saturday regulars line up at Harry Crandall’s Savoy
Barker Motor Company & Gude's Flowers image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
5. Barker Motor Company & Gude's Flowers
In 1926, the Barker Motor Company and Gude’s Flowers occupied the site of today’s Metro Station, across Irving Street.
Close-up of photo on marker
Library of Congress
Theater to see Custer’s Last Stand in 1936. (Collection of Payette Family.)
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Other Columbia Heights Heritage Trail markers entered in the Historical Marker database.
 
Also see . . .  Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C. (Submitted on October 27, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Categories. African AmericansIndustry & CommerceNotable PlacesPoliticsSettlements & Settlers
 
Businesses Across 14th Street image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
6. Businesses Across 14th Street
These businesses stood across 14th Street from this sign in 1960.
Close-up of photo on marker
Collection of Ann Graham.
The First Hot Shoppe image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
7. The First Hot Shoppe
J. Willard Marriott, in the doorway, and his first employee, Robert Smice, pose at the first Hot Shoppe, 1927.
Close-up of photo on marker
Marriott Corporation
Sholl's Georgian Cafeteria, 1946 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
8. Sholl's Georgian Cafeteria, 1946
In 1946, these ladies in starched with uniforms and signature pocket hankies served scratch baked pies at Sholl’s Georgian Cafeteria, 3027 14th St.
Close-up of photo on marker
Library of Congress
Ding How<br>HObart 1720<br>1419 Irving Street image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
9. Ding How
HObart 1720
1419 Irving Street
“Uptown Washington's Finest Chinese Restaurant”
Close-up of photo on marker
Collection of Harold Silver
Ding How image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
10. Ding How
The Ding How (later Starlight) restaurant and night club once occupied the block of Irving St. to your left. A section of the Pontiac dealership facade can be seen today.
Close-up of photo on marker
Collection of Harold Silver
Federal Troops in Gas Masks, 1968 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
11. Federal Troops in Gas Masks, 1968
Federal troops in gas masks approached from Hiatt Pl. as fire fighters set up to battle a blaze on Irving St. during the 1968 disturbances.
Close-up of photo on marker
Washington Post
Shabazz Restaurant, 1973 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
12. Shabazz Restaurant, 1973
After the riots closed many businesses, Nation of Islam members opened Shabazz Restaurant at 14th and Irving Streets, seen in 1973.
Close-up of photo on marker
Washington Post
The Savoy Theater image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
13. The Savoy Theater
Saturday regulars line up at Harry Crandall's Savoy Theater to see Custer's Last Stand in 1936
Close-up of photo on reverse of marker
Collection of Payette Family
Map You Are Here image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
14. Map You Are Here
Close-up of map on marker
Columbia Heights image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
15. Columbia Heights
Embedded in the sidewalk
Brian D. Kraft image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 18, 2015
16. Brian D. Kraft
Lead Historian for the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,593 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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