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Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Washington, DC: Capital and City

Make No Little Plans

 

— Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —

 
Washington, DC: Capital and City Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 6, 2015
1. Washington, DC: Capital and City Marker
Inscription.  This is the John A. Wilson Building, Washington, DC's city hall, home to DC's mayor and city council.

When completed in 1908, it was known as the District Building (for District of Columbia). Cope and Stewardson of Philadelphia won the competition to design it in the Beaux-Arts style favored by the McMillian Commission, which was charged with remaking this area in 1901. Built on the site of a streetcar powerhouse destroyed by fire in 1897, it is the only building in the Federal Triangle constructed of marble.

The District Building originally housed three presidentially appointed commissioners who, with congressional supervision, governed DC from 1874 until 1974. Passage of the Home Rule Act of 1973 ended exclusive federal control over city affairs and allowed DC citizens to elect a city council and mayor. The DC Council creates the city's laws and budgets, though its actions remain subject to congressional oversight.

When the Federal Triangle plan emerged in the late 1920s, it called for demolition of this building in order to build a Great Plaza on 14th Street. But critics argued it would be wasteful to raze such
Washington, DC: Capital and City Marker reverse image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 6, 2015
2. Washington, DC: Capital and City Marker reverse
an impressive marble structure, and citizens rallied to save it.

The building's name honors the late civil rights leader and home rule activist, former DC Council Chair John A. Wilson.

Just ahead across 14th Street is Pershing Park, a memorial to World War I and to General John J. Pershing, hero of World War I and mentor to World War II military leaders. To your right across Pennsylvania Avenue is Freedom Plaza, where a portion of L'Enfant's Plan for Washington is rendered in white marble and black granite.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArchitectureCivil RightsGovernment & PoliticsWar, World IWar, World II. In addition, it is included in the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail series list.
 
Location. 38° 53.721′ N, 77° 1.894′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest and 14th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling east on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance
Home Rule image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
3. Home Rule
Mayor Walter Washington addresses a rally calling for home rule, 1973. Young lobbyists, (right) mob District Commissioner Guy Mason in his District Building office, demanding a playground for their Anacostia neighborhood, 1946.
of this marker. Alexander Robey Shepherd (a few steps from this marker); The John A. Wilson Building (a few steps from this marker); Marion Barry, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); John J. Pershing, General of the Armies (1860-1948) (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Great Seal of the United States (about 300 feet away); Alice Paul (about 300 feet away); The Washington Post (about 400 feet away); Open For Business (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
 
Photos on the Center Right of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
4. Photos on the Center Right of Marker
Top caption: The first elected DC Council of the 20th century, pictured in 1975. Back row: William P. Spaulding, Arrington Dixon, Rev. Jerry Moore, David Clarke, Marion Barry, Rev. James Coates, John A. Wilson, Douglas Moore. Front row: Nadine Winter, Polly Shackleton, Mayor Walter Washington, Sterling Tucker, Willie Hardy, Missing: Julius Hobson, Sr. At right, John Wilson campaigns for council chair, 1990.

Lower Caption: The tall building on the corner of this bloc was Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Hall where Union Army veterans organized campaigns to obtain federal benefits. The whole block was razed to create the park just ahead on Pennsylvania Avenue honoring General John J. Pershing (left).
Detail of the L'Enfant Plan image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
5. Detail of the L'Enfant Plan
A detail of the L'Enfant Plan is reproduced in black granite and white marble on Freedom Plaza. The white marble Pennsylvania Avenue aligns with the actual avenue. The plaza honors the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who finished writing his "I Have a Dream" speech at the nearby Willard Hotel.
Beaux-Arts architecture image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
6. Beaux-Arts architecture
This ornate white marble 1908 building was the first of the Beaux-Arts architecture constructed in the Federal Triangle. Along the top of the main façade are figures representing (from left) Sculpture, Painting, Architecture, Music, Commerce, Engineering, Agriculture, and Statesmanship.
Federal Triangle Heritage Trail map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
7. Federal Triangle Heritage Trail map
Washington, DC: Capital and City Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
8. Washington, DC: Capital and City Marker
Entrance to the John A. Wilson Buidling image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
9. Entrance to the John A. Wilson Buidling
Figures on the Back of the Wilson Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
10. Figures on the Back of the Wilson Building
John A. Wilson Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 22, 2008
11. John A. Wilson Building
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 687 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on June 25, 2019, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   2. submitted on September 19, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on July 8, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   11. submitted on July 9, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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Jul. 16, 2020