Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Grandeur for the People
Make No Little Plans
—Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —
In 1898 the United States won the Spanish-American War, and national leaders began questioning whether their capital city reflected the nation's new importance in world affairs. This viewpoint, the centennial in 1900 of the federal government's arrival in Washington in 1800, and concerns of the nation's foremost architects spurred the Senate Park Commission, led by Senator James McMillan, to develop a new city plan. The McMillan Plan revived and expanded elements of Pierre L'Enfant's 1791 vision for the capital. It also looked to the Beaux-Arts style of buildings at the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition (world's fair). The fair awed visitors and launched the City Beautiful movement, which promoted classically inspired groups of buildings for governmental or institutional functions.
In 1926 President Calvin Coolidge signed the Public Buildings Act, revived the McMillan Plan, and assigned Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon to work with leading American architects to create the Federal Triangle. It stands today as the nation's largest great public project combining classical architecture and sculpture.
The U.S. Navy Memorial across the street was dedicated in 1987, the Navy's 212th anniversary.
You are standing in the Federal Triangle, a group of buildings whose grandeur symbolizes the power and dignity of the United States. Located between the White House and the Capitol, these buildings house key agencies of the U.S. Government.
The Federal Triangle is united by the use of neoclassical revival architecture, drawing from styles of ancient Greece and Rome that have influenced public buildings throughout the ages. Although each structure was designed for a specific government department or agency, they all share limestone façades, red-tiled roofs and classical colonnades. Their architectural features, following traditions of the
In 1791 Pierre L'Enfant designed a city plan for the new cpaital in Washington under the direction of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The L'Enfant Plan overlaid broad avenues on a street grid with areas reserved for prominent buildings and parks. This area originally followed L'Enfant's vision as a center for businesses serving the municipal and federal governments. By the time of the Civil War (1861-1865), it had become a hodgepodge of boarding houses, stables, and light industry. This disarray, and the growing need for government office space, led to calls for redevelopment. In 1901 the Senate Park Commission, known as the McMillan Commission, created a new plan for Washington's parks and monumental areas and redefined the Triangle as a government center. In 1926 Congress authorized a massive building program that drew inspiration from classical architecture to create today's monumental Federal Triangle.
Make No Little Plans: Federal Triangle Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, D.C. Walking
For more information on Federal Triangle buildings, please visit www.gsa.gov. For more information on DC neighborhoods and walking tours, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
Make No Little Plans: Federal Triangle Heritage Trail is produced by the U.S. General Services Administration in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation and Cultural Tourism DC.
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 2.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 53.6′ N, 77° 1.4′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest and 9th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling east on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 700 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20408, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. In Memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (within shouting distance The United States Navy Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome Aboard! (within shouting distance of this marker); America's Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); General Winfield Scott Hancock (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Navy Memorial - from Bow to Stern (about 400 feet away); Temple for Our History (about 400 feet away); Chief Petty Officers' (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Categories. • Government • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 16, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 684 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on August 25, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 10. submitted on September 13, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.