Adams Morgan in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Urban Renewal Era
Roads to Diversity
—Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —
The charming Victorian rowhouses you see along 18th Street are an Adams Morgan signature. But they were nearly lost in the 1960s in the name of progress.
During World War II, thousands flooded Washington to work for the government, seriously overcrowding existing housing. Afterward, planners and citizens considered how to repair Washington's beaten-down neighborhoods. In Southwest, they chose wholesale "urban renewal." Nearly all of Southwest was razed for new construction. Some 23,500 residents were forced out. Many came to already crowded Adams Morgan.
Citizens and planners agreed: Adams Morgan would not be another Southwest.
So in the early 1960s citizens formed the Adams Morgan Planning Committee to work with federal agencies to improve the neighborhood. With much debate, they first called for better shopping and community facilities, and less traffic. Early plans called for paved plazas and high-rises on 18th Street and Columbia Road. Reed-Cooke's industrial buildings (auto dealerships, power plants, and warehouses) and deteriorating housing would have been razed or re-used.
But then residents realized that plans would displace thousands of Reed-Cooke residents and dozens of businesses. And private restoration efforts were already underway. So in 1965 the National Capital Planning
At the same time, many residents joined other Washingtonians to stop plans for a freeway alongside Florida Avenue to the south that would have cut off Adams Morgan from Downtown Washington.
The neighborhood's ongoing citizen participation is an important legacy of urban renewal debates and highway battles.
The Adams Morgan story begins with its breezy hilltop location, prized by Native Americans, colonial settlers, freedom seekers, powerful Washingtonians, working people, and immigrants alike. Unlike most close-in neighborhoods, Adams Morgan has never been dominated by any of these groups. Today's rich diversity is the legacy of each group that has passed through.
Follow the 18 signs of Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail to discover the personalities and faces that shaped a community once known simply as "18th and Columbia." Along the way, you'll learn how school desegregation led to the name Adams Morgan, and you'll meet presidents and paupers, natives and immigrants, artists, activists and authors.
Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail, a booklet capturing the trail's highlights is available at local businesses. To learn about other DC neighborhoods, check out City Within a City: Greater U Street Heritage Trail,
Erected 2005 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 17 of 18.)
Location. 38° 55.172′ N, 77° 2.506′ W. Marker is in Adams Morgan, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 18th Street NW and Kalorama Road NW, on the right when traveling south on 18th Street NW. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Building a Better Neighborhood (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Artistic Life (approx. 0.2 miles away); Kalorama Triangle (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Roots of Reed-Cooke (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Best Addresses" (approx. ¼ mile away); You are in the "Strivers' Section" (approx. ¼ mile away); Tragedy at 18th and Columbia (approx. ¼ mile away); A People Without Murals Is A Demuralized People (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Adams Morgan.
Also see . . . Roads to Diversity Pamphlet. (Submitted on October 21, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
Categories. • Architecture • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 9, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 21, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 139 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on December 25, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 21, 2017, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3. submitted on March 9, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.