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

Streetcar Suburb

Village in the City


—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —

Streetcar Suburb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
1. Streetcar Suburb Marker

Lamont Park, across from the number 42 bus stop, was once the turnaround for the numbers 40 and 42 streetcars. Back in the 1940s, "when the conductor called 'end of the line,' passengers stepped onto a yellow wooden platform," recalled former resident Elizabeth Slattery Clare. "Then, to turn around, the car proceeded slowly through a small park that we called 'the loop.'"

Starting in the 1870s a horse-drawn coach carried villagers downtown from Mount Pleasant's first commercial center, 14th Street and Park Road. In 1903 an electric streetcar line opened here, spurring another commercial center and urban style residential development. Soon this part of Mount Pleasant transformed from village to suburban neighborhood. Residents loved their streetcars. Just before buses replaced streetcars in 1961, fans held a funeral procession.

Elizabeth Walbridge, an heir to the old Ingleside Estate on Newton Street, owned property here when the streetcars arrived. She did well selling building lots. Architect Glenn Brown, a planner of Rock Creek Park, designed 1711-1713 Lamont with their unusual Potomac bluestone pillars, as well as 1715-1717. Walbridge and her family lived in 1717.

Some neighborhood businesses came under assault here in April 1968, when rioting broke out around Washington in response to
Streetcar Suburb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
2. Streetcar Suburb Marker
the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nearby 14th Street suffered the heaviest damage, but looters hit shops here too. Carmen Marrero recalled that many "African Americans and Hispanics [residents]...stood in solidarity as a shield" alongside business owners to prevent looting.

Over the succeeding decades, Lamont Park attracted illegal activity. In the early 1990s resident persuaded the city to restore it as a family-friendly, outdoor community center.

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
Streetcar Suburb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
3. Streetcar Suburb Marker

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 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,
2017 holiday display at Lamont Park image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
4. 2017 holiday display at Lamont Park
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.
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 15 of 17.)
Location. 38° 55.878′ N, 77° 2.307′ W. Marker is in Mount Pleasant, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Mount Pleasant Street Northwest and Lamont Street NW, on the right when traveling south on Mount Pleasant Street Northwest. Touch for map. On the grounds of Lamont Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3200 Mt. Pleasant St NW, Washington DC 20010, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); At Home and Abroad (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The First Bodega (about 400 feet away); Mount Pleasant Street, ca. 2004 (about 500 feet away); Casualties Arriving at Mount Pleasant General Hospital, May 1864 (about 500 feet away); Sacred Heart Academy (about 500 feet away); War and Peace (about 600 feet away); Mount Pleasant Library (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Pleasant.
Categories. DisastersIndustry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 25, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 66 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 25, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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