Penn Quarter in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Ending Slavery in Washington
Civil War to Civil Rights
— Downtown Heritage Trail —
To your right at the end of Indiana Avenue is Washington's first City Hall/Courthouse. Across Sixth Street is the H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse, a successor to the original courthouse.
The Old City Hall/Courthouse opened in 1822, with offices for the mayor, city administrators, and federal courts. Today it is the city's third-oldest public building, after the White House and the Capitol.
The City Hall/Courthouse witnessed key events in abolition history. In 1848 abolitionist Daniel Drayton faced trial here for larceny and illegally transporting slaves. Months earlier, Drayton had been captured along with 77 African Americans attempting to escape slavery aboard his schooner, Pearl. Drayton was found guilty and served jail time, but was pardoned in 1852. The National Park Service later cited this case when it added the City Hall/Courthouse to its National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
On April 16, 1862, during the Civil War, President Lincoln signed the DC Emancipation Act, freeing DC's enslaved people. The law established an experiment called "compensated emancipation," reimbursing slave owners
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number e.2.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Downtown Heritage Trail series list.
Location. 38° 53.654′ N, 77° 1.203′ W. Marker is in Penn Quarter in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of 6th Street Northwest and Indiana Avenue Northwest, on the right when traveling south on 6th Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 601 Indiana Avenue Northwest, 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. DC Recorder of Deeds Building/WPA Era Murals (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Daniel Webster (about 300 feet away); Senator Daniel Webster (about 300 feet away); 601 Pennsylvania Avenue Grand Army of the Republic (about 500 feet away); National Council of Negro Women (about 500 feet away); Ceremony at the Crossroads (about 500 feet away); Protecting Consumers and Competition (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Penn Quarter.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 7, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 808 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 10, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 4. submitted on June 17, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.