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

Czech Row

Village in the City

 

—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —

 
Czech Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones
1. Czech Row Marker
Inscription.

Like the Latino immigrants of recent times, Europeans left the political and economic hardships of home for a better life in the United States. Following the 1948 communist coup of Czechoslovakia a "Czech Row" or "Prague Road" enclave developed in the 2000 block of Park Road. Among its exiles were a four-star general and a former ambassador to Turkey. American Sokol, an offshoot of a Czech fitness movement, offered activities for all neighborhood children. Sokol had particular meaning for Czech expatriates as it was banned in Czechoslovakia during both the Nazi and communist eras.

Czech Row's residents reveled in their tall trees and lush views of the park, recalled Dagmar Hasalova White, the general's daughter. Other European newcomers found a touch of home in this setting. Former residents Mike Najarian and Bill Katopothis recalled how their mothers made stuffed grape leaves from vines in the alley behind nearby Irving Street. For Ruby Pelecanos, living on Irving Street in the 1940s, the neighborhood included a number of Greek families who attended "Greek School" at St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Church. Ruby's father immigrated to Washington in 1908 and operated a number of small restaurants downtown and in Chevy Chase. Her son George grew up to write thrillers set in Washington.

During the 1960s,
Czech Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
2. Czech Row Marker
Mount Pleasant, like Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, offered affordable housing that appealed to political activists, artists, and unconventional family groups. Blue Skies, a group housed devoted to anti-war work and social justice, owned and occupied 1910 Park Road in the early 1970s.

Captions:
Antonin Hasal was the Czech Army's top general before the communist takeover in 1948.

Frank Stovicek, left and his neighborhood Sokol (physical education) class, 1965.

Dagmar Hasalova White, Josepha Hasalova, and Grethe Petersen Hasal en route to a family wedding, 1960.

Baby Jana Keopple and Frantiṡka Fogl, part of the "Czech Row" community, around 1970.

Sandy White, dressed in a traditional Czech costume, 1970.

The Blue Skies extended family gethers, 1977.

Reverse:
Tucked into a bend in Rock Creek Park on the breezy heights above central Washington, Mount Pleasant was one of the city's earliest suburban developments. It began as a village of government clerks mainly from New England, and stretched from 17th Street east to Seventh Street. Later it attracted prominent citizens to its site along fashionable 16th Street, and eventually yielded the area east of 16th Street to Columbia Heights. But that's only on the map. Mount Pleasant's boundaries depend on who you
Czech Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
3. Czech Row Marker
are and where you came from.

The arrival of the streetcar transformed the village into an urban enclave. Working people and newcomers to Washington began to call Mount Pleasant home in the mid-1900s. Its varied citizenry earned it the nickname "little U.N." By the 1970s Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan were recognized as the heart of the Latino immigrant community.

Mount Pleasant activists have often been on the cutting edge of important civic issues, and artists and musicians have been part of its daily life. While the neighborhood has changed with the city, some things remain constant. Children consider the National Zoo and Rock Creek Park their personal playgrounds, and residents shop and greet each other on Mt. Pleasant Street. Colonial Revival mansions, early apartment buildings, and rowhouses remain remarkably intact. A stroll along the 17 signs of Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail will introduce you to it all. Welcome!

Special thanks to the Mount Pleasang Heritage Trail Working Group: Neil Richardson, chair; Mara Cherkasky, Working Group historian; Jim Barnett, David Bosserman, Jeff Brechbul, Malvina Brown, Olivia Cadaval, Robert Frazier, Elinor Hart, Mary Hathaway, Dora Johnson, Edwin Hill Langrall, Jeff Logan, Carmen Marrero, Dennis Marvich, Ric Mendoza-Gleason, Louis Meyer, Galey Modan, Mary
Czech Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
4. Czech Row Marker
Mill Rojas, Michael Rosa, David Sitomer, and Terry Thielen. And also to Tanya Edwards Beauchamp, Mary Belcher, Joana Brown, Ginger Carter, Rodney Case, Ronald Chacon, Carmen Chapin, Shirley Cherkasky, Carole Clarke, Alan Darby, Sharon Deane, Malini Dominey, Larry Fredette, Will Grant, Joan Graumamn, Mary Gregory, Martha Grigg, Tony Grillo, Richard Hardy, Faye HAskins, Fred Haya III, Gregory Heller, Michael Heller, Luis Hernandez, Eddie Hicks, Jane Holt, Toni Johnson, Eliza A.B. Jones, Wayne Kahn, Ellen Kardy, Bill Katopothis, Brian Kraft, Ken Laden, Myrtle Lawson, Mary Leckle, Marshall Logan, Louise Legsdon, Linda Low, Rob Low, Jeanie Majeed, Gladys Mitchell, Gloria Mitchell, Mount Pleasant Business Association, Mount Pleasant Main Street Inc., Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance, Michael Najarian, Mark Opsasnick, Ruby Priecanos, Ann Piesen, Rosanne Burch Piesen, Wes Ponder, Rick Reinhard, Vilma Rosario, Donald Schwarzz, Wosley Semple, Chris Shaheen, Ryan Shepard, Harold Silver, Kathryn S. Smith, Louise Townsend Smith, David Songer, Grace Tamborrelle, Fay Thompson, Honora Thompson, Leu Vondas, Tasso Vondas, Randy Waller, Dagmar Hasalova White, and Arthur Wong.

Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail is produced by Brendan Meyer, Jane Freundel Levey, Brett Weary, Mara Cherkasky, and Anne W. Rollins of Cultural Tourism DC in collaboration with the District
Czech Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
5. Czech Row Marker
Department of Transportation, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Develoopment, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail Working Group. The trail was supported by Historic Mount Pleasant.

2006, All rights reserved. Designed by Side View/Hanna Smotrich, Map by Larry Bowring.

Caption:
The Pelecanos family enjoys Thanksgiving at Ruby's parents' home, 1745 Irving St., 1962. Clockwise from left, Alice, Jeannie, Peter, Ruby, and George. Collection of Ruby Pelecanos
 
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 9 of 17.)
 
Location. 38° 56.014′ N, 77° 2.742′ W. Marker is in Mount Pleasant, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Pierce Mill Road Northwest and Park Road NW, on the right when traveling north on Pierce Mill Road Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2016 Pierce Mill Rd NW, Washington DC 20010, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Voices at Vespers (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Defying the Restrictive Covenants (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nacotchtank Family at the Piney Branch Quarry, ca. 1600 (approx. ¼ mile away); Twenty-seven Little Flags (approx. ¼ mile away); Changing Fashions (approx. ¼ mile away); Rebuilding in the Wild (approx. ¼ mile away); Aldabra Tortoise (approx. ¼ mile away); Harvest at Pleasant Plains, ca. 1750 (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Pleasant.
 
Categories. 20th Century
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 24, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 86 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 24, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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