Atlas District in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Hub, Home, Heart
— Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —
Shortly after Congress arrived in Washington in 1800, city leaders chose an old farm road to create a private toll turnpike to Bladensburg and points northeast. Its toll booth once sat at this intersection. During the War of 1812, British forces used the turnpike to reach the new capital city. Before they retreated, they had burned the Capitol, White House, and other key buildings.
In 1871 District officials made the Bladensburg Turnpike into a toll-free city street. Soon Columbia Railway Co., a horse-drawn streetcar line, opened, and for 30 years linked this spot to downtown via H Street. Then the streetcar line pushed farther east along Benning Road, spurring real estate development. A new rail line took commuters from here to Baltimore or Annapolis. With so much traffic, this hub soon anchored a busy commercial area.
In the early 1900s, H Street developers invited traveling circuses to use their vacant parcels so that audiences would see the area and consider buying here. A tradition was born:
In 1930 Sidney Hechinger opened a salvage and hardware store just east of here on Benning Road. Hechinger's soon became a Washington institution. After the 1968 riots many businesses abandoned the area. But Sidney's son, John W., Sr., showed his commitment to the city by opening the suburban style Hechinger Mall on Benning Road, anchored by his modern hardware store, in 1981.
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 11.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Entertainment • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Greater H Street Heritage Trail series list.
Location. 38° 54′ N, 76° 59.04′ W. Marker is in the Atlas District in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of H Street Northeast and Maryland Avenue Northeast (U.S. 1), on the right when traveling east on H Street Northeast. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1433 H Street Northeast, Washington DC 20002, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The City Woman (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Mediterranean ImportsDistrict of Columbia Fire Department (approx. 0.2 miles away); Culture and Commerce (approx. 0.2 miles away); Enterprising Families (approx. ¼ mile away); Untitled (approx. 0.4 miles away); A City in One Day (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Changing Faces of H Street (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Atlas District.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
Credits. This page was last revised on January 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 30, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 554 times since then and 24 times this year. Last updated on February 11, 2014, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on September 30, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.