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Mount Pleasant in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Voices at Vespers

Village in the City

 

—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —

 
Voices at Vespers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
1. Voices at Vespers Marker
Inscription.

This secluded building on the edge of Rock Creek Park was built in 1911 as the House of Mercy. It provided, as its founders wrote "a refuge and reformatory for outcast and fallen women," especially unwed mothers and girls entangled in prostitution. This home, a mission of St. John's Episcopal Church, trained the young women in domestic skills to prepare them to earn an honest living. Once their babies were born, mothers could keep them or offer them for adoption. Neighbors remembered seeing groups of expectant mothers taking walks in the neighborhood. "At 4pm every afternoon, the girls would sing at vespers," recalled Honora Thompson, who grew up nearby. "Their voices were lovely."

By 1972 the maternity home had closed, and the facility became the bilingual Rosemount Center/El Centro Rosemount, offering early childhood education and family support. The new name honors the old "Rosemount" estate. Its manor house, once located in the trees beyond Rosemount Center, was demolished around 1890 as Rock Creek Park was created.

Leading into Rock Creek Park, along Klingle Road, is Canto a la Esperanza ("A Song for Hope"), a mural designed by Jorge Somarriba and painted by members of the Latin American Youth Center in 1988. The mural, featuring, regions of the world and hopes for world peace, covered
Voices at Vespers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
2. Voices at Vespers Marker
a wall of graffiti. Until recently, the remnants of an old ford were visible in the creek just south of Klingle Road. Drivers remember the pleasures of splashing through the water on this paved roadway. It was removed to help fish navigate the creek more freely.

Captions:
House of Mercy Board members, above, visit their young wards, 1942. A typical four-person bedroom, right.

A House of Mercy nurse teaches a new mother essential skills, 1970.

Honora Thompson, seen here in 1930 with her father, grew up nearby at 2014 Klingle Rd.

A joyous moment at Rosemount Center, 1973.

This 1866 map shows the location of the Rev. J. French's Rosemount estate.

Latin American Youth Center muralists at work, 1988.

Crossing the creek at the Klingle Rd. ford, around 1915.

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
Panel from <i>Canto a la Esperanza</i> image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
3. Panel from Canto a la Esperanza

V'ness

Restored 2005
Lawrence Turner
Juan Monarez
Yunian Rosario
Edward
Jess Parsley
Erick Rodderick
Lawrence Turner
Wendel Moton
Yessica
Mark
Gregory Long

Thanks to:
DC DOT
Mt. Pleasant ANC
WMATA
on who you 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 Pleasant 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 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 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:
House of Mercy residents in the courtyard, around 1920. Collection of House of Mercy
 
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 10 of 17.)
 
Location. 38° 55.978′ N, 77° 2.796′ W. Marker is in Mount Pleasant, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Rosemount Avenue Northwest and Klingle Road NW when traveling north on Rosemount Avenue Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2011 Rosemount Ave NW, Washington DC 20010, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Czech Row (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Defying the Restrictive Covenants (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rebuilding in the Wild (approx. 0.2 miles away); Aldabra Tortoise (approx. ¼ mile away); Smithsonian's National Zoo (approx. ¼ mile away); Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (approx. ¼ mile away); The O-Line (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Pleasant.
 
Categories. Charity & Public WorkChurches & Religion
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 24, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 62 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 24, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide view photo of the marker and the surrounding area in context. • Can you help?
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