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Union Station in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Gateway to The Nation's Capital

Hub, Home, Heart

 

—Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —

 
Gateway to The Nation's Capital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
1. Gateway to The Nation's Capital Marker
Inscription. With its view of the Capitol and Senate office buildings, and with the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court just a short stroll away, Union Station truly is the gateway to the heart of the nation's government. The station is also where official Washington mixes with the local city. Before air travel became common in the 1950s, Union Station attracted enormous crowds to salute arriving presidents, watch protesters, or shriek at the Beatles disembarking for their first live American concert.

Until the early 1950s, most of downtown Washington's public accommodations were segregated. Union Station was one of the exceptions. In its dining room, African American and white patrons could sit down and eat side by side.

Traffic at Union Station peaked during World War II (1941-1945). Throngs of military men and women passed through en route to training camps and battlefronts. Civilians, especially young women, arrived to staff the enormous war effort. But as air travel expanded, Union Station's importance declined. When the station underwent major renovations in the 1980s, its grand concourse was reconfigured to hold inviting shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

The 1990s brought the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, on this block, named for the Howard University-trained lawyer whose strategies helped end
World War I Delegation image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
2. World War I Delegation
A British delegation arrives to discuss World War I with U.S. officials, 1917.
this country's legal segregation. Marshall later became the first African American Supreme Court Justice.

(Back):
Trains and streetcars created the Near Northeast neighborhood around H Street. The B&O Railroad's arrival in 1835 made this a center of energetic, working-class life. Workmen living north of the Capitol staffed the Government Printing Office, ran the trains, stocked the warehouses, and built Union Station. When a streetcar arrived linking H Street to downtown, new construction quickly followed.

H Street bustled with shops and offices run by Jewish, Italian, Lebanese, Greek, Irish, and African American families. During the segregation era, which lasted into the 1950s, African Americans came to H Street for its department stores and sit-down restaurants. Most businesses welcomed all customers.

Then came the civil disturbances in the wake of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968. Decades of commercial decline followed. Just off H Street, though, the strong residential community endured. The 2005 opening of the Atlas Performing Arts Center signaled a revival, building evocatively on H Street's past. Hub, Home, Heart is a bridge to carry you from that past to the present.

Hub, Home, Heart: Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided, 3.2-mile
Washington Senators image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
3. Washington Senators
The Washington Senators (a.k.a. "Nats") greet cheering fans at the station after a 9-1 western road trip, 1949.
tour of 18 signs offers about two hours of gentle exercise. Free keepsake guidebooks in English or Spanish are available at businesses and institutions along the way. For more on DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 2.)
 
Location. 38° 53.813′ N, 77° 0.291′ W. Marker is in Union Station, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Union Station Driveway NE, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Located across the street from the east side of Union Station. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20002, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Swampoodle (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Freedom Bell (about 500 feet away); Christopher Columbus (about 500 feet away); Delaware Avenue & Columbus Circle, NE (about 700 feet away); Roll Out the Barrel (about 800 feet away); “The President’s Trees” (approx. 0.2 miles away); All Aboard! (approx. 0.2 miles away); Famine-Genocide in Ukraine (approx. 0.2 miles away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
 
Categories. Civil RightsRailroads & StreetcarsSportsWar, World I
 
A former president and suffragists image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
4. A former president and suffragists
Top: Former President Theodore Roosevelt still drew admiring crowds, around 1918.

Bottom: Woman suffragists arrive in DC to demonstrate the vote, 1917.
World War II Travelers and Justice Marshall image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
5. World War II Travelers and Justice Marshall
Left: Travelers throng the main concourse during World War II.

Right: Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, right, confers with Spottswood W. Robinson III before arguing their school desegregation case before the Supreme Court. Robinson later became the first African American to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
6. Back of Marker
Map of the H Street Heritage Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
7. Map of the H Street Heritage Trail
Capitol Hill's major buildings image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
8. Capitol Hill's major buildings
This 1986 aerial view shows Capitol Hill's major buildings.
Gateway to The Nation's Capital Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
9. Gateway to The Nation's Capital Marker
The area around the marker is undergoing some street repair work. In the background is the US Securities and Exchange Commission building.
Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building<br>1992 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 17, 2017
10. Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building
1992
Thurgood Marshall<br>Bust Inside the Judiciary Building image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 17, 2017
11. Thurgood Marshall
Bust Inside the Judiciary Building
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 21, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 30, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 422 times since then and 40 times this year. Last updated on February 11, 2014, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 30, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   10, 11. submitted on September 18, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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