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

Ceremony at the Crossroads

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

— Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, August 7, 2020
1. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker
Inscription.  
"Imagine a great wide avenue
[with] solid ranks of soldiers,
just marching steady all day long
for two days…"

As described by the great American poet Walt Whitman, the grand parade of 200,000 Union soldiers took two days to complete their victory march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House for President Johnson's review.

Whitman might have been standing right here on May 23 or 24, 1865. This had been the ceremonial and commercial crossroads of the city ever since the federal government moved to the banks of the Potomac River in 1800. Pennsylvania Avenue has been an inaugural parade route for every president since Thomas Jefferson. For 130 years, this was Market Space, the city's town square and the home of Center Market, where cabinet secretaries, government clerks, and laborers alike might be seen toting a live chicken destined for the dinner table.

All around you are reminders of the Civil War. A statue of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, a hero at the Battle of Gettysburg, commands a small park across Seventh Street. In the plaza across Indiana
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker [Reverse] image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, August 7, 2020
2. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker [Reverse]
Click or scan to see
this page online
Avenue stands a memorial to Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, who founded a veterans organization called the Grand Army of the Republic. It was dedicated by a few hundred grizzled veterans in 1909. The building where Civil War photographer Mathew Brady had his studio, its exterior only slightly altered, remains around the corner at 627 Pennsylvania Avenue. And the three little buildings at 637-641 Indiana Avenue — built in the 1820s — were witnesses to it all.

Today some of the history made here is preserved in the great neoclassical National Archives building just across Pennsylvania Avenue.

Washington, DC's physical expansion after the Civil War led to a decline here, its historic downtown. The end of the 20th century brought a revival, with the return of theaters and restaurants, museums, shops, and places to live.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 2.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureArts, Letters, MusicFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Downtown Heritage Trail, the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson, the Former U.S. Presidents: #17 Andrew Johnson, and the Walt Whitman series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is May 23, 1865.
 
Location.
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, August 7, 2020
3. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker
38° 53.643′ N, 77° 1.308′ W. Marker is in Penn Quarter in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of 7th Street Northwest and Indiana Avenue Northwest, on the right when traveling north on 7th Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 325 7th St NW, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. General Winfield Scott Hancock (within shouting distance of this marker); Ocean Piece (within shouting distance of this marker); Grand Army of the Republic (within shouting distance of this marker); America's Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); National Council of Negro Women (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Navy Memorial - from Bow to Stern (about 300 feet away); The United States Navy Memorial (about 300 feet away); Chief Petty Officers' (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Penn Quarter.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
 
Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Adam Margolis, September 8, 2018
4. Ceremony at the Crossroads Marker
The marker can be seen along the sidewalk as viewed from Archives Metro Station.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 7, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 96 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 7, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   4. submitted on February 2, 2022, by Adam Margolis of Mission Viejo, California.

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May. 16, 2022