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

Banneker Circle: Vista to the Past

River Farms to Urban Towers

 

—Southwest Heritage Trail —

 
Banneker Circle: Vista to the Past marker Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, June 27, 2009
1. Banneker Circle: Vista to the Past marker
Inscription. This high ground serves as a monument to Benjamin Banneker, a free African American who charted the stars for the first survey of Washington, DC. Banneker was 60 years old when he hired on to assist surveyor Andrew Ellicott. A tobacco planter from Baltimore County, Maryland, Banneker had taught himself mathematics and astronomy. With these skills, he observed the stars’ movements each night. Ellicott used Banneker’s calculations to determine the District’s boundaries. In addition, Banneker published a series of almanacs predicting the movements of the sun, moon, and stars to guide farmers in the best timing for planting and harvesting.

This vista once belonged to Notley Young. The Maryland planter owned nearly all of today’s Southwest when President George Washington chose the spot, then part of Maryland, for the new nation’s capital in 1791. Young’s brick mansion stood close to where you are now. Young owned many farms in the new city and nearby Maryland, and reported owning 265 slaves to 1790 Census takers. Before the Revolution, Maryland’s Catholics were prohibited from worshiping in public churches, so Young and his Catholic neighbors gathered for Mass in his house. In 1857 Young’s grandson, Father Nicholas Young, Jr. helped establish St. Dominic Church.

The L’Enfant Promenade to your right, designed by I. M.
Banneker Circle: Vista to the Past marker - photo on reverse Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, June 27, 2009
2. Banneker Circle: Vista to the Past marker - photo on reverse
[Caption:] Banneker Circle and L’Enfant Promenade under construction, 1968. (Washingtoniana Division, D.C. Public Library.)
Pei and others for New York developer William Zeckendorf, now covers the site of Young’s house. Zeckendorf envisioned a dramatic expanse lined sith office and cultural buildings as a link between the National Mall and Southwest’s waterfront. Today’s Forrestal Building blocks what was to be a view to the Smithsonian castle.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 8 of 17.)
 
Location. 38° 52.916′ N, 77° 1.563′ W. Marker is in Southwest, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of L'Enfant Plaza (10th Street, SW) and Banneker Circle, in the median on L'Enfant Plaza (10th Street, SW). Click for map. Marker is on the median off Banneker Circle at the north side of Benjamin Banneker Park. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20024, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Benjamin Banneker Park (a few steps from this marker); Denvel D. Adams (approx. ¼ mile away); Escape from Slavery (approx. 0.3 miles away); All Aboard! (approx. 0.4 miles away); Enid A. Haupt Garden (approx. 0.4 miles away); Spencer Fullerton Baird (approx. 0.4 miles away); Andrew Jackson Downing (approx. 0.4 miles away); Federal Grain Inspection Service (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Southwest.
Banneker Circle: Vista of the Past marker - at far right.on L'Enfant Plaza median Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, June 27, 2009
3. Banneker Circle: Vista of the Past marker - at far right.on L'Enfant Plaza median
view from the north entrance to Benjamin Banneker Park with bridges over I-395 in background.

 
More about this marker. [Picture Captions:]

Benjamin Banneker, astronomer and mathematician. (Maryland Historical Society.)

Farmers tend their produce at the farmer’s market that once operated between Tenth and Eleventh streets where the freeway now runs. (Library of Congress.)

This map shows the holdings of Notley Young, seen in the dual portrait with his wife Eleanor. Young owned much of Cerne Abbey Manor. (The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. - Map by Cynthia Elliot and Sheila Waters based on the research by Patricia W. McNeil and Don Hawkins.)

In the 1880s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began dredging the Washington Channel and building up mudflats to create Hains Point, visible across the channel from this overlook. (Washingtoniana Division, D.C. Public Library.)
 
Also see . . .  Other River Farms to Urban Towers - Southwest Heritage Trail markers. (Submitted on December 10, 2009.)
 
Additional keywords. Potomac River
 
Categories. Antebellum South, USIndustry & CommerceNotable BuildingsNotable PersonsRoads & VehiclesWaterways & Vessels
 
Benjamin Banneker Park fountain - view from Banneker Circle near marker Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, June 27, 2009
4. Benjamin Banneker Park fountain - view from Banneker Circle near marker
View from Banneker Circle, south of Benjamin Banneker Park, toward Potomac River: Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, June 27, 2009
5. View from Banneker Circle, south of Benjamin Banneker Park, toward Potomac River:
with seafood markets on the Maine Avenue Wharf below the 12th Street Bridge.
 

 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,862 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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