Logan Circle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Artistic Life
A Fitting Tribute
—Logan Circle Heritage Trail —
The Imposing Double House to Your Left, numbers 1 and 2, was built as an investment for Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., son of the 18th president. The house would later serve as the Venezuelan Legation and then a Seventh-Day Adventist nursing home.
Henry M. Letcher and his wife Evelyn purchased 1-2 Logan Circle. Henry, an artist, designer, educator, and decorated veteran of the Tuskegee Airmen, and Evelyn, a teacher opened Letcher Art Center. After receiving accreditation from the Veterans Administration, the center taught commercial art, sign painting, silk screening, and architectural drafting to returning World War II veterans. Henry brought his first cousin and best friend Duke Ellington to visit and be photographed among the students. The School, recalled his son Henry, Jr. enabled scores of service men to become “peace-time earners and family men” despite segregation.
After Letcher's death in 1967, Henry Jr., a musician, took over the mansion, populating it with fellow musicians and artists, among them musician/poet Gil Scott-Heron. The younger Letcher's band Jambo performed locally in the early 1970s and attracted audiences with jazz-inflected R&B accompanied by psychedelic light shows. In 1972, when the neighborhood “became too rough,” as Henry Jr. recalled, his mother sold the house.
One block east of this sign is 1316 Rhode Island Avenue, an example of the 1970s wave of rehabilitation in Logan Circle. Architect Robert B. Gordon and his wife Doll purchased the shell of 1316 in 1979. Gordon designed a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired interior within the Victorian exterior of the 1885 red-brick exterior rowhouse.
Sidebar (on 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, water and gas lines, street lights, and sewers reached underdeveloped areas, wealthy whites followed. Mansions soon sprang up around the 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."
Erected 2012 by DC Cultural Heritage, Logan Circle Heritage Trail. (Marker Number 10 of 15.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Washington DC, Logan Circle Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 54.549′ N, 77° 1.807′ W. Marker is in Logan Circle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Logan Circle, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 & 2 Logan Circle, Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of A Neighborhood Reborn (was within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing. ); Logan Circle (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General John A. Logan (within shouting distance of this marker); Bethune Museum-Archives (within shouting distance of this marker); 6 Logan (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Logan Memorial (about 300 feet away); Belford V. Lawson and Marjorie M. Lawson Residence (about 300 feet away); Pratt House (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Logan Circle.
Also see . . . The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Gil Scott-Heron, Ogg Vorbis sound file, length 31 s, 88 kbps (Submitted on December 15, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
Categories. • African Americans • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 14, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 15, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 373 times since then and 2 times this year. Last updated on December 2, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos: 1. submitted on December 15, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 2. submitted on December 2, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. submitted on December 15, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.