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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

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

From Workers to Environment

Make No Little Plans

 

— Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —

 
From Workers to Environment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
1. From Workers to Environment Marker
Inscription.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission is to protect human health and the environment, has occupied the majority of offices in this block since 2001. EPA West (this building), the adjacent Mellon Auditorium, and the EPA East building share once continuous, monumental façade designed by Arthur Brown, Jr. The projecting temple front of the auditorium, colonnades at both ends, and generous sculptures unify the complex.

Because this 1934 building originally housed the Department of Labor, its most prominent sculptures are monumental pediments showing products of American labor. In Abundance and Industry by Sherry Fry (west end), the female figure symbolizing abundance pours from a vase of apples and pomegranates, the fruits of industry. In Labor and Industry by Albert Stewart (east end), the male figure portraying industry sits amid corn and wheat, the fruits of the soil.

The Labor Department was created to promote the welfare of workers, improve their working conditions, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment. Frances Perkins, the first secretary of labor to occupy this building,
Laborers on Carved Limestone image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
2. Laborers on Carved Limestone
Laborers pose with a carved limestone block to be hoisted above the entrance to the Mellon Auditorium, 1933. The dome of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is visible in the background.
was the nation's first woman cabinet member.

Edgar Walter's colossal Columbia holding the torch of freedom crowns the ornate portico behind you. Six Doric columns mark the entrance to the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, named in 1987 in honor of the treasury secretary who spearheaded the creation of Federal Triangle. The auditorium hosted President Franklin Roosevelt as he read numbers drawn in the nation's first peacetime draft lottery, conducted less than a year before the United States entered World War II. After the war, the NATO treaty was signed in the same auditorium.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 11.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureEnvironmentIndustry & CommerceLabor Unions. In addition, it is included in the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail series list.
 
Location. 38° 53.537′ N, 77° 1.847′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Constitution Avenue NW (U.S. 1/50) east of 14th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Public Art for a Modern Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); Renovating the Fountain
General George Washsington bas-relief image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
3. General George Washsington bas-relief
Look for General George Washington, depicted planning the Battle of Trenton, in this bas-relief, over the entrance to the Mellon Auditorium behind the columns.
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Legacy of War (about 300 feet away); The Division (about 300 feet away); Making A Modern Museum (about 300 feet away); A National Museum (about 300 feet away); Keeping It Green (about 400 feet away); Completing the Triangle (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
 
Secretary Perkins and Bureau of Labor Statistics image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
4. Secretary Perkins and Bureau of Labor Statistics
[Top]Department of Labor Secretary Francis Perkins meets the press 1937. [Bottom] Bureau of Labor Statistics clerks enter data on punch cards, 1936, for use in early "computing" machines.
Selective Service Lottery, 1940 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
5. Selective Service Lottery, 1940
Spectators, radio networks, and newsreel cameras witness President Franklin Roosevelt opening the Selective Service lottery in the auditorium, 1940. The United States entered World War II the following year.
Secretary Andrew Mellon image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
6. Secretary Andrew Mellon
Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon looks at a scale model of the Federal Triangle, around 1929.
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
7. Back of Marker
Construction of the Mellon Auditorium image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
8. Construction of the Mellon Auditorium
Work progresses as limestone blocks are attached to the steel frame of the Mellon Auditorium, 1933.
Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
9. Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System
From Workers to Environment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
10. From Workers to Environment Marker
General Washington bas-relief image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
11. General Washington bas-relief
Entrance to the Mellon Auditorium image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
12. Entrance to the Mellon Auditorium
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 411 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on August 12, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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Jul. 16, 2020