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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)
 

Pennsylvania Avenue

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

—Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
Pennsylvania Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, April 4, 2010
1. Pennsylvania Avenue Marker
Inscription. “Main Street” for the city and the nation.

Just a few steps ahead is Pennsylvania Avenue the inaugural parade route for every president since Thomas Jefferson and “Main Street” for local Washington since the city’s founding. Jefferson planted the first trees along the avenue, and in the early days of the city it was a promenade lined with shops, hotels and boarding houses. Mary Todd Lincoln shopped here. The street was also the scene of President Lincoln’s funeral procession.

By the start of the Civil War, the area across Pennsylvania Avenue had become a run-down neighborhood of theaters, saloons, cheap hotels, light industry, and houses of ill repute. Its activities earned it the name “Murder Bay” and sometimes “Hooker’s Department” after Civil War General Joseph Hooker, whose plan it was to concentrate the activities of prostitutes in this area. It remained a light industrial area until the 1930s when a growing federal government consolidated offices that had been scattered in rented buildings around the city and built the complex of Neo-classical buildings known collectively as the Federal Triangle.

In the 1970s, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation began revitalization of this side of the Avenue, bringing new office, commercial and
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
2. Back of Marker
residential buildings to the street while preserving some of its 19th-century landmarks.

[Photo captions:]

Left and above
Mary Todd Lincoln shopped on an unpaved Pennsylvania Avenue that looked like this during the Civil War. Her bill for goods for the White House appears above. (Library of Congress; Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library.)

Right and below
The Avenue has been the scene of countless parades, including Lincoln’s funeral procession, right, in 1865 and a women’s suffrage march in 1913. (Library of Congress; Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library.)



(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
Pennsylvania Avenue Marker - photo on reverse image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, April 4, 2010
3. Pennsylvania Avenue Marker - photo on reverse
"President Woodrow Wilson (approximate center, just left of the largest flag) leads a Preparedness Day parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1916, just before the United States entered World War I." (Library of Congress.)
free booklet capturing the trail's highlights is available at local businesses 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 .8.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil War to Civil Rights marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.696′ N, 77° 1.568′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, and 10th Street, NW, on the right when traveling west on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,. Click for map. 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. Permanence and Grandeur: Building the Federal Triangle (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); G-Men and G-Women (about 300 feet away); The Christian Index (about 500 feet away); Preserving the Past (about 500 feet away); Abraham Lincoln (about 600 feet away); Appointed Rounds (about 800 feet away); In Memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (approx. 0.2 miles away); Woodies Comes to F Street (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Downtown.
 
Categories. PoliticsWar, US Civil
 
Pennsylvania Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 7, 2012
4. Pennsylvania Avenue Marker
Pennsylvania Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 13, 2016
5. Pennsylvania Avenue Marker
The marker has been rotated 180 degrees. Here the FBI Headquarters (The J. Edgar Hoover Building) can be seen in the background across 10th Street, NW.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,096 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on November 9, 2016.
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