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Pleasant Plains in Northwest Washington in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Lake So Blue

Lift Every Voice

— Georgia Ave./Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail —

 
 
The Lake So Blue Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, November 27, 2011
1. The Lake So Blue Marker
Inscription.  
The body of water that inspired the line in Howard University’s alma mater, “far above the lake so blue stands old Howard firm and true,” is McMillan Reservoir, which opened in 1902 to supply water to the city. The reservoir and the Old Soldiers’ Home grounds nearby created a green oasis for Howard students and their neighbors. On summer nights before World War II, neighborhood families fled their hot rowhouses to sleep on blankets near the cooling water.

Howard’s neighbors, long uplifted by the university’s intellectual life, have enjoyed its campus traditions, especially Homecoming. In 1926 they joined the crowd of 16,000 to dedicate Howard’s new stadium, and cheered as the Bisons crushed Lincoln University’s Lions, 32-0. The annual Thanksgiving Day football game was the centerpiece of Classic Week’s fraternity-hosted concerts, receptions, and dinner dances.

Among the speakers at the 1926 stadium dedication was its designer, Professor Albert Cassell. The architect oversaw Howard’s expansion in the 1930s, designing 16 campus buildings.

Lynn C. French, who grew up near the campus,
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remembered attending Howard commencements with her family in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s — not only to cheer graduating friends and relatives, but also to hear the inspirational speeches by such speakers as President Harry Truman. Just a year after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lyndon Johnson addressed the graduates, pledging to enforce equal rights for all Americans: “It is not enough to open the gates class. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.” More recently Colin Powell and Oprah Winfrey have addressed the graduating class.
 
Erected 2011 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 11.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansEducationNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #33 Harry S. Truman, the Former U.S. Presidents: #36 Lyndon B. Johnson, the Georgia Avenue / Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1965.
 
Location. 38° 55.489′ N, 77° 1.291′ W. Marker is in Northwest Washington in Washington, District of Columbia. It is in Pleasant Plains. Marker is at the intersection of 6th Street Northwest
"The Lake So Blue" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), December 29, 2017
2. "The Lake So Blue" Marker
and Fairmont Street Northwest on 6th Street Northwest. Marker is in front of the H.U. School of Business at 6th and Fairmont. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2600 6th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20059, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Howard University Gallery of Art (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); "The Divine Nine Help Shape Black American History" (about 400 feet away); Miner Teachers College (about 500 feet away); Beyond the Basics (about 500 feet away); Along the "Nile Valley" (about 500 feet away); Prometheans, Inc. (about 700 feet away); General Oliver O. Howard (about 700 feet away); Howard Hall (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Northwest Washington.
 
More about this marker.
Illustration captions:

Crowds await the new stadium’s first match, the 1926 Howard-Lincoln Thanksgiving Day “Classic.” Howard University Archives.

Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority participate in Howard homecoming festivities, 1939.
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Architect and Professor Albert Cassell with infant son Irvin. Among Cassell’s campus designs are Douglass Hall right, and Founders Library. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.

[Frederick
The Lake So Blue Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, November 27, 2011
3. The Lake So Blue Marker
- entrance to HU's Greene Memorial Stadium in background at right - off 6th and Fairmont Streets.
Douglass Memorial Hall] Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

[Founder’s Library] Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Lynn French, holding the diploma, with her parents Carolyn Howard and David M. French after his 1948 graduation from Howard Medical School.
Collection of Lynn French

Howard President James Nabrit, at right, watches as U.S. President Lyndon Johnson greets Howard students in front of Founders Library following his June 1965 commencement speech. LBJ Library and Archives

In 1960 Sen. John F. Kennedy spoke on campus, above, as did labor leader A. Philip Randolph, left. Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. McMillan Reservoir. (Submitted on March 5, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. The McMillan Sand Filtration Site. (Submitted on April 29, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Additional keywords. Senator James McMillan; William H. Greene; Washington Aqueduct; HBCUs
 
The LeGarde hospital building at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, viewed from Irving St. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, December 2, 2011
4. The LeGarde hospital building at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, viewed from Irving St.
Formerly known as the "Old Soldiers' Home", except for the top of the steeple, its view from the "Lake So Blue" is now mostly blocked by the Washington Hospital Center complex.
"The Lake So Blue" - the McMillan Reservoir viewed from 5th Street, NW, image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, December 2, 2011
5. "The Lake So Blue" - the McMillan Reservoir viewed from 5th Street, NW,
north of the marker - with the Washington Hospital Center's Children's Hospital in the background.
Entrance to the Army Corps of Engineers' McMillan Resevoir and Filter Plant off 1st Street, NW image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, December 2, 2011
6. Entrance to the Army Corps of Engineers' McMillan Resevoir and Filter Plant off 1st Street, NW
H.U.'s landmark Founder's Library tower - viewed from 1st Street, NW image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, February 10, 2011
7. H.U.'s landmark Founder's Library tower - viewed from 1st Street, NW
across the "Lake So Blue" - i.e. the McMillan Reservoir and Filtration Plant which are presently being re-constructed. Note the landmark [James] McMillan Fountain (by sculptor, Herbert Adams), lower right.
Some of the McMillan plant's iconic sand filter units (now obsolete) awaiting demolition image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, February 10, 2011
8. Some of the McMillan plant's iconic sand filter units (now obsolete) awaiting demolition
east of 1st St., NW.
Dome and tower of he National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, February 10, 2011
9. Dome and tower of he National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,
the largest R.C. church in the U.S. - in view from 1st Street, NW, beyond the McMillan sand filters.
View toward Crampton Auditorium, west of the "The Lake So Blue" Marker with image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, November 27, 2011
10. View toward Crampton Auditorium, west of the "The Lake So Blue" Marker with
- with the "Freedmen's Column" monument by sculptor, Richard Hunt; donated by John S. DeBrew, Jr. of the Mildred Andrew Fund and dedicated to HU President and First Lady, James E. and Celestine W. Cheek, 1989.
"The Lake So Blue" - McMillan Reservoir looking south from Hobart Place, NW image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Richard E. Miller, February 10, 2011
11. "The Lake So Blue" - McMillan Reservoir looking south from Hobart Place, NW
- reflecting the H.U. campus with the William H. Greene Memorial Stadium at right.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 30, 2023. It was originally submitted on March 4, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 854 times since then and 33 times this year. Last updated on March 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1. submitted on March 4, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2. submitted on December 29, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3. submitted on March 4, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   4, 5, 6. submitted on March 5, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   7, 8. submitted on March 6, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   9. submitted on March 17, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   10. submitted on March 4, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   11. submitted on March 6, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2024