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

If These Mansions Could Talk

A Fitting Tribute

 

— Logan Circle Heritage Trail —

 
If These Mansions Could Talk Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
1. If These Mansions Could Talk Marker
Inscription.  
Over the years most of Logan Circle's Mansions experienced numerous uses and have returned to private occupancy. For example 15 Logan Circle was completed in 1877 for Lt. Cmdr. Seth Ledyard Phelps, a Civil War Veteran appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to the Board of Commissioners (the body that governed DC from 1874 until 1967). In 1891 the Kingdom of Korea (Joseon Dynasty) purchased number 15 for its first embassy in the United States. Just before Imperial Japan annexed Korea in 1910, the Japanese government forcibly took possession of the house and sold it. Eventually the mansion house a World War II-era recreation center for African Americans and then offices for locals 639 and 730 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters before returning to a series of private owners. The Korean government repurchased the house in 2012, marking the 130th anniversary of U.S. Korea diplomatic relations. Phelps also built the adjoining 1502 3th Street, briefly the clubhouse of African American journalists, then a rooming house of ill repute known as the Raleigh, and, since the 1990s, condominium apartments.

A house that has
If These Mansions Could Talk Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, December 2, 2017
2. If These Mansions Could Talk Marker
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always been a family residence is number 14. The only Beaux-Arts-inspired house on the circle was built in 1903 for Woodward and Lothrop merchandise manager Josephine Nourse. She sold number 14 to Thomas Caesar Smith M.D., in 1930. Smith, a Howard Medical School graduate, moved his wife and five daughters there and treated patients in a clinic he opened in his English basement. At a time when most hospitals excluded African Americans and the poor often lacked health care, Dr. Smith spent many Sundays and evenings visiting patients around the city and with its alley communities. He invested in real estate, purchasing property for each daughter. The second eldest, Therrell, used hers to open a ballet school, and was still teaching dance in 2013, at the age of 95.
 
Erected 2013 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansGovernment & PoliticsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Logan Circle Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1877.
 
Location. 38° 54.616′ N, 77° 1.761′ W. Marker is in Logan Circle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of 13th Street Northwest and Logan Circle Northwest, on the left when
If These Mansions Could Talk Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
3. If These Mansions Could Talk Marker
traveling south on 13th Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1505 13th St Northwest, Washington DC 20005, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Korean Legation in Washington, D.C. (within shouting distance of this marker); Logan Circle, Just Ahead (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles M. “Sweet Daddy” Grace Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General John A. Logan (within shouting distance of this marker); Pratt House (within shouting distance of this marker); Belford V. Lawson and Marjorie M. Lawson Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); John Logan Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Logan Circle (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Logan Circle.
 
Additional keywords. Korea
 
Ambassador Ahn Ho-young of the Republic of Korea image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
4. Ambassador Ahn Ho-young of the Republic of Korea
speaking at the dedication of the Logan Circle Heritage Trail on July 13, 2013.
Therrell Smith image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
5. Therrell Smith
at the dedication of the "If These Mansions Could Talk" marker
Therell Smith image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
6. Therell Smith
The 95-year-old ballet teacher has lived at 14 Logan Circle for over 80 years.
14 Logan Avenue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
7. 14 Logan Avenue
The only Beaux-Arts inspired building on Logan Circle
Dr. T. C. Smith image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
8. Dr. T. C. Smith
Sign over the Door at 14 Logan Circle
English Basement image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, July 13, 2013
9. English Basement
used as an office by Dr. Thomas Smith at 14 Logan Circle
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 15, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,369 times since then and 95 times this year. Last updated on August 3, 2020, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1. submitted on July 15, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   2. submitted on December 2, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 15, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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May. 17, 2022