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

Main Street

Village in the City


—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —

Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
1. Main Street Marker

In 1903 a street car line arrived on Mt. Pleasant Street and so did new businesses. In this block were Sophia Weiss's notions shop, Domenico Pappalardo's shoe shop, and Lee Sing's laundry. The block's first commercial building (3215) was completed in 1906, designed by the prominent African American firm J.A. Lankford & Brother.

There has been a family-run bakery here since 1922, beginning with Bohemian immigrant Frank Novotny's shop at 3215 Mt. Pleasant. German immigrant Paul Riedel owned it next. Then in the early 1930s, brothers August and Ludwig Heller, who had learned the family trade near Frankfurt, Germany, acquired the business. About 1940, Heller's moved to 3221, where some family members lived upstairs.

Everybody in the extended Heller family worked in the bakery. Even the children assembled white cake boxes or cracked eggs. Soon Heller's drew customers from all over. As Heller's outlets sprouted around the city, all the baking was still done here. According to Greg Heller, at its height in the mid-1950s, Heller's operated 24 hours a day with a multinational workforce of 50.

By 1960 many of
Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
2. Main Street Marker
the neighborhood's European immigrants had moved on, including the Hellers. But the family continued to bake here until they sold Heller's in 1983. Subsequent owners have retained the name and many original recipes.

Mt. Pleasant Street's businesses included nightclubs. In the 1960s, the Fox Lounge at 3253, with its discreetly covered-up windows, quietly catered to Washington's gay community. The Crosstown Lounge at 3102 and the Oasis at 3171 drew citywide audiences for rock 'n' roll.

Tucked into a bend in Rock Creek Park on the breezy heights above central Washington, Mount Pleasant was one of the city's earliest suburban developments. It began as a village of government clerks mainly from New England, and stretched from 17th Street east to Seventh Street. Later it attracted prominent citizens to its site along fashionable 16th Street, and eventually yielded the area east of 16th Street to Columbia Heights. But that's only on the map. Mount Pleasant's boundaries depend on who you are and where you came from.

The arrival of the streetcar transformed the village into an urban enclave. Working people and newcomers to Washington began to call Mount Pleasant home in the mid-1900s. Its varied citizenry earned it the nickname "little U.N." By the 1970s Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan were recognized as the heart of the Latino
Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
3. Main Street Marker
immigrant community.

Mount Pleasant activists have often been on the cutting edge of important civic issues, and artists and musicians have been part of its daily life. While the neighborhood has changed with the city, some things remain constant. Children consider the National Zoo and Rock Creek Park their personal playgrounds, and residents shop and greet each other on Mt. Pleasant Street. Colonial Revival mansions, early apartment buildings, and rowhouses remain remarkably intact. A stroll along the 17 signs of Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail will introduce you to it all. Welcome!

Special thanks to the Mount Pleasang Heritage Trail Working Group: Neil Richardson, chair; Mara Cherkasky, Working Group historian; Jim Barnett, David Bosserman, Jeff Brechbul, Malvina Brown, Olivia Cadaval, Robert Frazier, Elinor Hart, Mary Hathaway, Dora Johnson, Edwin Hill Langrall, Jeff Logan, Carmen Marrero, Dennis Marvich, Ric Mendoza-Gleason, Louis Meyer, Galey Modan, Mary Mill Rojas, Michael Rosa, David Sitomer, and Terry Thielen. And also to Tanya Edwards Beauchamp, Mary Belcher, Joana Brown, Ginger Carter, Rodney Case, Ronald Chacon, Carmen Chapin, Shirley Cherkasky, Carole Clarke, Alan Darby, Sharon Deane, Malini Dominey, Larry Fredette, Will Grant, Joan Graumamn, Mary Gregory, Martha Grigg, Tony Grillo, Richard Hardy,
Heller's Bakery Mural image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
4. Heller's Bakery Mural

Telephone 265-1169

Est. 1928

Pies Rolls Cakes
Home Made-Ice Cream
Faye HAskins, Fred Haya III, Gregory Heller, Michael Heller, Luis Hernandez, Eddie Hicks, Jane Holt, Toni Johnson, Eliza A.B. Jones, Wayne Kahn, Ellen Kardy, Bill Katopothis, Brian Kraft, Ken Laden, Myrtle Lawson, Mary Leckle, Marshall Logan, Louise Legsdon, Linda Low, Rob Low, Jeanie Majeed, Gladys Mitchell, Gloria Mitchell, Mount Pleasant Business Association, Mount Pleasant Main Street Inc., Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance, Michael Najarian, Mark Opsasnick, Ruby Priecanos, Ann Piesen, Rosanne Burch Piesen, Wes Ponder, Rick Reinhard, Vilma Rosario, Donald Schwarzz, Wosley Semple, Chris Shaheen, Ryan Shepard, Harold Silver, Kathryn S. Smith, Louise Townsend Smith, David Songer, Grace Tamborrelle, Fay Thompson, Honora Thompson, Leu Vondas, Tasso Vondas, Randy Waller, Dagmar Hasalova White, and Arthur Wong.

Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail is produced by Brendan Meyer, Jane Freundel Levey, Brett Weary, Mara Cherkasky, and Anne W. Rollins of Cultural Tourism DC in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Develoopment, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail Working Group. The trail was supported by Historic Mount Pleasant.

2006, All rights reserved. Designed by Side View/Hanna Smotrich, Map by Larry Bowring.
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 14.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 55.904′ N, 77° 2.318′ W. Marker is in Mount Pleasant, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Mount Pleasant Street Northwest north of Lamont Street Northwest, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of Lamont Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3200 Mount Pleasant Street Northwest, Washington DC 20010, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Streetcar Suburb (within shouting distance of this marker); Casualties Arriving at Mount Pleasant General Hospital, May 1864 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); At Home and Abroad (about 400 feet away); The First Bodega (about 400 feet away); War and Peace (about 400 feet away); Sacred Heart Academy (about 600 feet away); Mount Pleasant: The Immigrants' Journey (about 700 feet away); Mount Pleasant Street, ca. 2004 (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Pleasant.
Also see . . .  Heller's Bakery To Close After This Weekend. Article dated December 23, 2014 (Submitted on December 25, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.) 
Additional comments.
1. Heller's Bakery
Heller's Bakery closed in December 2014. The mural for the business remains as of December 2017.
    — Submitted December 25, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

Additional keywords. LGBT LGBTQ
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Credits. This page was last revised on March 21, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 25, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 123 times since then and 13 times this year. Last updated on March 8, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 25, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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