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

Franklin Square - “Going into the country”

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

—Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
Franklin Square - "Going into the country" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 22, 2008
1. Franklin Square - "Going into the country" Marker
Inscription. This urban oasis exists because President Andrew Jackson needed water. The site of excellent springs (a rare commodity in the early city when everyone was dependent on private wells), this square was purchased by the federal government in 1832 so that it could pipe fresh water to the White House. It was an arrangement that lasted until 1898, well after the city had a piped water supply from above Great Falls on the Potomac River.

In July of 1861, as the nation prepared for war, soldiers of the 12th New York Regiment moved in on the square, still a somewhat lightly settled place on the northern edge of the city. Their flimsy barracks were typical of the temporary quarters thrown up all around the city as northern troops poured into the capital.

President Lincoln frequently passed this way going or returning from Anderson Cottage, his summer house on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home. His Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton lived on the northern side of the square at 1323 K Street, and the president was sometimes seen in his open carriage parked in the street conversing with Stanton. Now and then, the president's eye was drawn to Union troops playing baseball in the square across the street.

With the rapid growth of the population after the war, Franklin Square continued to attract the city's elite. Mrs. John Sherman,
Franklin Square - "Going into the country" Marker - photo on reverse image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, April 4, 2010
2. Franklin Square - "Going into the country" Marker - photo on reverse
"A streetcar races past elegant Franklin Square homes at the corner of 14th and I Streets in the 1880s." (Library of Congress.)
wife of the Secretary of the Treasury in the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), described her move to a new house in the area as "going into the country." Future president James A. Garfield lived in a house on the northeast corner of 13th and I Streets while serving in the House of Representatives.

Franklin School, completed in 1869, stands as the only remaining vestige of this fashionable community. Designed by prominent architect Adolph Cluss, its elegant combination of Gothic, Romanesque Revival, and Second Empire styles is testimony to the pride the city took in its public school system. Its design and the city's educational programs won prizes in Vienna in 1873, in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Paris in 1878. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone who lived in Washington, transmitted the first wireless message from Franklin School to his nearby laboratory on L Street in 1880. It was an experiment whose potential went unrealized until today's telecommunications revolution.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number W.2.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil War to Civil Rights marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.139′ N, 77° 1.769′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia
Franklin School Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 22, 2008
3. Franklin School Building
, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 13th Street NW and K Street NW, on the right when traveling north on 13th Street NW. Click for map. Located in front of the Franklin School Building, next to Franklin Square. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Alexander Graham Bell (here, next to this marker); The Messer Building (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Asbury United Methodist Church (about 600 feet away); John Barry Memorial (about 700 feet away); "The First of Patriots - The Best of Men" (about 700 feet away); The Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes (about 800 feet away); Historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); New York Avenue Presbyterian Church at Herald Square (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Downtown.
 
Regarding Franklin Square - "Going into the country". Picture captions:
The pictures in the upper left were provided for the marker courtesy of the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives.

Picture in upper right of marker:
In 1866 Franklin Square was the setting of an Emancipation Day celebration. (Library of Congress.)

Picture of individual in upper left of marker:
The elegant Franklin School provided a grand setting for the experiments of Alexander Graham Bell. (Library of Congress.)

Circular picture in lower right of marker:
The corner of 14th and I Streets at Franklin Square in the 1880s, then a fashionable residential neighborhood. (Library of Congress.)

Long picture in lower right of marker:
Franklin Square provided a campground for the 12th New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. (Library of Congress.)
 
Also see . . .  Franklin Square. National Park Service page about the park. (Submitted on April 2, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Additional keywords. Reconstruction
 
Categories. EducationPoliticsScience & MedicineWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,445 times since then and 12 times this year. Last updated on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on October 28, 2016.
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