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Adams Morgan in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Tragedy at 18th and Columbia

Roads to Diversity

 

—Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —

 
Tragedy at 18th and Columbia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 13, 2018
1. Tragedy at 18th and Columbia Marker
Inscription.
Before there was "Adams Morgan," this crossroads lent the neighborhood its name: "18th and Columbia." Here you could catch a streetcar to just about anywhere and buy nearly anything.

But back in 1922, 18th and Columbia witnessed a tragedy. On January 28—diagonally across the street from this sign—the roof of Harry Crandall's Knickerbocker Theater collapsed under the weight of a 28-inch snowfall, killing 98 and injuring hundreds more. Soon after, the city passed stricter building codes.

Crandall then built the Ambassador Theater on the same spot. Once that theater lost audiences to television it was sold for redevelopment. It briefly hosted rock concerts, and the night before the October 19667 March on the Pentagon, it hosted an anti-war rally with poet Robert Lowell, novelist Norman Mailer, and others.

The Ambassador was razed in 1970, setting off a battle over its lot. Drawing on a 20-year of tradition of community organizing, residents defeated plans for a gas station. In 1978 Perpetual Savings and Loan won the spot, agreeing to hire a bilingual staff, offer special loans to area residents, and create a plaza for a farmer's market.

The business district that began developing in the 1910s included an early Peoples Drug Store where McDonald's is in 2005. In 1948 Charles
Tragedy at 18th and Columbia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 13, 2018
2. Tragedy at 18th and Columbia Marker
Lazarus opened what would become Toys 'R' Us in his father's bike shop at 2455 18th Street. Herbert Haft founded Dart Drug at 1801 Columbia Road in 1954. Lazarus and Haft, pioneers of high-volume discounting, oversaw phenomenal business expansion through the 1990s.
 
Erected 2005 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 9 of 18.)
 
Location. 38° 55.388′ N, 77° 2.566′ W. Marker is in Adams Morgan, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Adams Mill Road Northwest north of Columbia Road NW, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1813 Adams Mill Rd NW, Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A People Without Murals Is A Demuralized People (a few steps from this marker); "Suburban" Development (within shouting distance of this marker); Serving the Neighborhood (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Artistic Life (about 500 feet away); Walter Pierce Park (about 600 feet away); Kalorama Triangle (about 600 feet away); Lanier Place (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Ontario Theater (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Adams Morgan.
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicDisastersIndustry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars
 
Tragedy at 18th and Columbia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 13, 2018
3. Tragedy at 18th and Columbia Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 13, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 62 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 13, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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