Mount Pleasant in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
War and Peace
Village in the City
—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —
The mansion of Samuel P. Brown, Mount Pleasant's founder once stood in the middle of the block to your left. During the Civil War, Brown bought 73 acres here for a song from William Selden, a former U.S. treasurer. Selden believed the Confederacy would win the war, so he sold his holdings and retreated home to Virginia. Brown planned to sell Selden's land as building lots once peace arrived.
As the war raged (1861-1865), Union camps and hospitals filled these hilltops. Brown regularly hosted wounded soldiers from Maine, where he had been a state legislator.
The Union's wartime occupation of Washington left the city in terrible shape. Congress debated moving the nation's capital to St. Louis or another heartland location. Fortunately, after Alexander "Boss" Shepherd's Board of Public Works rebuilt and improved the city, the government decided to stay. Well-connected land speculators such as Brown, who was also a member of the Board of Public Works, profited as a result.
In 1906 a group of neighbors purchased this triangle in order to stop commercial construction here. The group then sold the property to the city for use as a public park. In the process they also revived the Mount Pleasant Citizens Association to bring community concerns to the three presidentially appointed commissioners
During the early 1960s, the triangle park was a favorite hangout for area teenagers. "You could always find your friends there or at the Argyle drug store," recalled Bob Sciandra, a former resident.
Samuel P. Brown, left, and the mansion where he hosted Civil War wounded.
An 1867 Boyd's City Directory ad for Samuel P. Brown's businesses.
These early wood frame houses once stood where the 3336-3360 Mount Pleasant St. apartments are today.
Charlene Arnold and Dandy Weadon, Mount Pleasant teens of the early 1960s.
From left, Joan Nottingham, Sue Tinsley, April Best, and Gracie Tamborelle hang out at the Park Road triangle park, around 1963.
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 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 Development, 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.
Civil War wounded recuperated at Mount Pleasant Hospital, east of 14th St. and north of Park Road.
The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 13 of 17.)
Location. 38° 55.956′ N, 77° 2.38′ W. Marker is in Mount Pleasant, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Park Road NW and Mt. Pleasant Street NW on Park Road NW. Touch for map. On the grounds of Park Road Triangle Park. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20010, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Casualties Arriving at Mount Pleasant General Hospital, May 1864 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Changing Fashions (about 400 feet away); Main Street (about 400 feet away); Streetcar Suburb (about 600 feet away); Nacotchtank Family at the Piney Branch Quarry, ca. 1600 (about 700 feet away); At Home and Abroad (about 700 feet away); Twenty-seven Little Flags (about 700 feet away); Village Life (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Pleasant.
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 25, 2017, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 84 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 25, 2017, by Devry 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?