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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Logan Circle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Automobile Row

A Fitting Tribute

 

—Logan Circle Heritage Trail —

 
Automobile Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
1. Automobile Row Marker
Inscription.

Etched into the corner of the building next to this sign are the names of cars and trucks sold here back when showrooms lined this stretch of 14th Street. Hurley Motor Company, which opened here in 1920, sold Milwaukee-made Nash cars and trucks. Trew Motor Co. (now Studio Theatre's main building) opened the same year to sell Peerless and REO cars.

Horse-drawn streetcars began running along 14th Street from New York Avenue to Boundary Street (Florida Avenue) in 1862, making a major transportation corridor that attracted residential development. In the early 1900s, when automobiles became affordable, showrooms clustered here. In 1925 some 40 car-related businesses operated on 14th Street between Thomas Circle and R Street. But as the DC suburbs exploded in the 1950s, most dealerships followed their customers out of town.

As you continue to Sign 4, you'll pass John Wesley AME Zion Church, a DC Historic Landmark at 14th and Corcoran Streets. Organized in 1847, the church purchased the St. Andrews Episcopal Church building in 1913. Fifty years later, after civil rights activist Medgar Evers was murdered in Jackson, Mississippi, his body lay in state here as 25,000 people filed through to pay him tribute. Evers, a decorated World War II veteran, was buried at Arlington Cemetery. At 14th and Q note the former
Automobile Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 2, 2017
2. Automobile Row Marker
Berret School, built in 1889. It was named for James G. Berret, DC elected mayor from 1858 until the outbreak of the Civil War. As a Confederate sympathizer, he refused to swear allegiance to the Union. He was forced then from office and briefly imprisoned.

Reverse:
The Logan Circle Neighborhood began with city boosters' dreams of greatness. The troops, cattle pens, and hubbub of the Civil War (1861-1865) had nearly ruined Washington, and when the fighting ended, Congress threatened to move the nation's capital elsewhere. So city leaders raced to repair and modernize the city. As paved streets, waster and gas lines, street lights, and sewers reached undeveloped areas, wealthy whites followed. Mansions soon sprang up around an elegant park where Vermont and Rhode Island Avenues met. The circle was named Iowa Circle, thanks to Iowa Senator William Boyd Allison. In 1901 a statue of Civil War General (and later Senator) John A. Logan, a founder of Memorial Day, replaced the park's central fountain. The circle took his name in 1930. The title of this Heritage Trail comes from General Logan's argument that Memorial Day would serve as "a fitting tribute to the memory of [the nation's] slain defenders."

As the city grew beyond Logan Circle, affluent African Americans gradually replaced whites here. Most of them moved on during World War II, and
Automobile Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
3. Automobile Row Marker
“If you want
something
In your Life
You've Never Had,
You'll have to
Do Something
You've
Never Done.”
-- JD Houston
their mansions were divided into rooming houses to meet a wartime housing shortage. By the 1960s, with suburban Maryland and Virginia drawing investment, much of the neighborhood had decayed. When civil disturbances erupted after the 1968 assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it hit bottom. Ten years later, however, long-time residents, newcomers, and new city programs spurred revival. A Fitting Tribute: Logan Circle Heritage Trail takes you through the neighborhood's lofty and low times to introduce the array of individuals who shaped its modern vitality.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 3 of 15.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Washington DC, Logan Circle Heritage Trail marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.626′ N, 77° 1.925′ W. Marker is in Logan Circle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 14th Street and Church Street when traveling north on 14th Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Treading the Boards (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); When Logan Rode The Battle Line (about 500 feet away); No Braver Man Than John Logan
Automobile Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
4. Automobile Row Marker
(about 500 feet away); John Logan House (about 500 feet away); John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church (about 500 feet away); Logan Circle (about 500 feet away); 6 Logan (about 500 feet away); Pratt House (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Logan Circle.
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches & ReligionIndustry & Commerce
 
Nash image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
5. Nash
A 1923 ad for Hurley Motor Co., once located at this corner.
Close-up of image on marker
Columbia Six image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
6. Columbia Six
Minker Motor Company sold Columbia Six Automobiles at 1333 14th Street, on block south of this sign.
Close-up of photo on marker
Its Awful – – aint it ? image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
7. Its Awful – – aint it ?
Mid City Auto Company 1711 14th Street Humorously offered new and used cars in 1942.

Its Awful – – aint it ?
Yer feet hurt – – runin for Street Cars
Throat Sore – – Callin Cabs
Back broke – – Bumpin' on Busses
“Are you Hell Bent for a Bargain”
“Here Tis”
1932 Chevrolet Sedan
Runs Slick as a whistle
Good Tires, and I mean Good
Dedicated to Leon Henderson
All for $49.80
Yes – – – Thats th' full price
Close-up of photo on marker
Power Failure image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
8. Power Failure
Passengers wait out a power failure on 14th Street in 1962, a century after streetcars spurred neighborhood development.
Close-up of photo on marker
Hudson showroom image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
9. Hudson showroom
At 1319 14th Street, NW, about 1920.
Close-up of photo on reverse of marker
Street Covers & Zion Methodism image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
10. Street Covers & Zion Methodism
Some auto repair and parts shops, such as this one at 14th and Q, remained on and around 14th street into the 20th century. John Wesley African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church, at 14th and Corcoran, is also visible.
Close-up of photo on marker
Medgar Evers & John Wesley AME Zion Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
11. Medgar Evers & John Wesley AME Zion Church
Outside John Wesley AME Zion Church, where Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers lay state before his burial in Arlington Cemetery.
Close-up of photo on marker
Medgar Evers, 1925 – 1963. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
12. Medgar Evers, 1925 – 1963.
Etched into the corner of the building image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
13. Etched into the corner of the building
Nash Cars
Nash Trucks
Selden Trucks
14th and Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
14. 14th and Church
Le Diplomate & John Wesley AME Zion Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
15. Le Diplomate & John Wesley AME Zion Church
The building that sold seat covers is now Le Diplomate.
John Wesley AME Zion Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
16. John Wesley AME Zion Church
The National Church of Zion Methodism
The Berret School image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 29, 2014
17. The Berret School
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 9, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 30, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 389 times since then and 23 times this year. Last updated on December 2, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1. submitted on December 30, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   2. submitted on December 2, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. submitted on December 30, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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