Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Western Plaza, Pennsylvania Avenue
Western Plaza consists of a large raised terrace in which part of L'Enfant's original 1791 plan for Washington, D.C. is rendered in black and white stone. At one end of the raised terrace is a pool. At the other is a shaded sitting area around a statue of General Pulaski.
Inscribed on the upper terrace are historic quotations about Washington. Low walls separate the plaza from surrounding traffic. Eleven large urns rest on top of these walls and contain seasonal planting. The upper map terrace has a grass lawn where the Mall occurs and inlaid bronze plans of the White House and the Capitol located at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The inlays illustrate L'Enfant's intention to have these two buildings balance each other and symbolize two main branches of government. The siting of the Treasury in the 19th century blocked the view of the White House and obscured this relationship.
L'Enfant's plan of Washington combines two orders of scale. The giant order is the diagonal avenues that sometimes terminate in a building or a monument. This order characterizes the federal scale of the city. The minor order is the rectangular
Western Plaza acknowledges both orders since it is shaped by the rectangular grid of the local scale and is an element within the giant order of Pennsylvania Avenue.
[Model of the plaza with the pool (1), the White House (2), the Mall (3), L'Enfant's Plan (4), the Capitol (5), and the Pulaski Statue (6) identified by number.]
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Government & Politics • Parks & Recreational Areas • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the DC, American Revolution Statuary series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1791.
Location. 38° 53.74′ N, 77° 1.81′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker can be reached from Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest just west of 13th Street Northwest, in the median. Marker is attached to the perimeter wall at the southeast corner of the plaza. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: 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. Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski (within shouting distance of this marker); Marion Barry, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); The Great Seal of the United States (within shouting distance Daniel Patrick Moynihan Place (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Washington Post (about 300 feet away); Freedom Plaza (about 300 feet away); The John A. Wilson Building (about 300 feet away); Washington, DC: Capital and City (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Additional keywords. Pierre L'Enfant; city planning.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 14, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,452 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 14, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 3, 4. submitted on September 13, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.