The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
“My God! What is this?”
National Mall and Memorial Parks
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
President James A. Garfield was leaving Washington, DC for his college reunion. He entered the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad station that would have been standing in front of you on the morning of July 2, 1881. Charles Guiteau, a mentally ill office seeker who supported a rival faction of Garfield's own Republican Party, fired two shots. Garfield cried out "My God, what is this?" as he was hit in the arm and back. He collapsed on the station floor. For more than two months Americans watched their president suffer from his wounds and poor medical care. He was moved out of the summer heat of the White House to the seaside town of Elberon, New Jersey where he died on September 19, 1881.
The Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Station, an imposing Victorian Gothic structure located at Sixth and B Streets, NW, opened in 1873. Trains belched smoke along tracks that crossed the Mall and many considered the station an eyesore, including James Garfield, who called it a “nuisance which ought long since to have been abated.” The station was torn down in 1908, after Union Station rendered it obsolete.
Erected 2018 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Railroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #20 James A. Garfield series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 2, 1881.
Location. 38° 53.431′ N, 77° 1.188′ W. Marker is in The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Madison Drive Northwest west of 4th Street Northwest, on the left when traveling west. This marker is on the Mall across Madison Drive Northwest from the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1022 Madison Drive Northwest, Washington DC 20565, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Garfield's Legacy (here, next to this marker); The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Andrew W. Mellon (about 700 feet away); Asteroids and Comets (about 700 feet away); Mars (about 700 feet away); Earth (about 700 feet away); Mercury (about 700 feet away); T.S.C. Lowe's Observation Flight (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 12, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 224 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 12, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 6, 7, 8. submitted on December 14, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.