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MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

America's Main Street

Make No Little Plans

 

— Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —

 
America's Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
1. America's Main Street Marker
Inscription.  
The broadest and most important street in Pierre L'Enfant's Plan of 1791 for the nation's capital connects to the Capitol and the White House.

Pennsylvania Avenue. Almost every American knows its name. Almost every visitor to the Washington sets foot on it. As America's Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue is where Americans practice their rights to free speech and assembly. It is our ceremonial stage, where the nation comes together to celebrate - new presidents, national holidays, and victories - and to mourn, as at funeral processions for seven of the eight presidents who died in office.

L'Enfant's plan called for a grid of streets broken by wide diagonal avenues offering visual connections among the city's important buildings. The avenues, he suggested, would be named for the states. Later, city authorities honored Pennsylvania, home of the nation's seat of government at the time of the Revolution, with the most central avenue.

The area where you are standing first developed in 1801 as Washington's main marketplace. In 1871 the ornate, red-brick Center Market arose just across the avenue, and shops, wholesalers,
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
2. Back of Marker
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and the small businesses clustered nearby. In the 1930s the market district disappeared, replaced by the stately, classically detailed National Archives and its neighboring, grand Federal Triangle buildings.

Thirty years later, this side of the avenue had grown shabby. President John F. Kennedy noted the decline as he traveled the parade route from his inauguration at the Capitol to the White House in January 1961. President Kennedy appointed scholar and policy expert David Patrick Moynihan to plan the restoration of the avenue as the "great thoroughfare of the city of Washington."
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 1.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #35 John F. Kennedy series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1961.
 
Location. 38° 53.63′ N, 77° 1.36′ W. Marker is in Penn Quarter in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest and 7th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling west on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. 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. The United States Navy Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Ocean Piece
America's Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
3. America's Main Street Marker
(within shouting distance of this marker); General Winfield Scott Hancock (within shouting distance of this marker); The Navy Memorial - from Bow to Stern (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome Aboard! (within shouting distance of this marker); Chief Petty Officers' (within shouting distance of this marker); Ceremony at the Crossroads (within shouting distance of this marker); Grandeur for the People (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Penn Quarter.
 
Pennsylvania Avenue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
4. Pennsylvania Avenue
The plaza beside the Navy Memorial opens onto Pennsylvania Avenue.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 12, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 628 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4. submitted on August 21, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Jul. 4, 2022