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

The Seventh Street Turnpike

Battleground to Community

 

—Brightwood Heritage Trail —

 
The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
1. The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker
Inscription. On July 11 and 12, 1864, this intersection was the center of the only Civil War battle fought in the District of Columbia. Here, Union sharpshooters at Fort Stevens, supported by forces across the northernmost of Washington's ring of forts, stopped General Jubal A. Early's Rebels. Early attacked from the north, along the Seventh Street Turnpike and the Georgetown Turnpike (now Georgia and Wisconsin avenues).

Completed in 1822 as a dirt road connecting the Potomac River to Rockville, Maryland, the Seventh Street Turnpike soon grew deeply rutted. In 1852 it was paved with wood planks to create an eight-foot-wide surface. Although the planks sank in the mud, the road accommodated scores each day. The roads private owners placed a toll booth just north of Emory Church, prompting Brightwood residents to create a free bypass (essentially today's Piney Branch Road). In 1871 the city acquired the turnpike, abolished the toll, changed the name to Seventh Street Road, and paved it with macadam, a layer of crushed rock and cement. In the late 1880s Brightwood citizens arranged to rename the road Brightwood Avenue.

In 1909 residents traded the naming rights to Georgia Senator Augustus Bacon in exchange for his support for community improvements. Bacon was irritated that "Georgia Avenue" in 1900 applied to a few
The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
2. The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker
disheveled blocks near the Navy Yard, and wanted a grander thoroughfare to honor his state.

By the 1930s, as the neighborhood filled with family housing, children enjoyed pony rides on a lot here, and churches held carnivals.

Across the intersection was the latest fad: a miniature golf course.
 
Erected 2008 by Cultural Heritage DC. (Marker Number 10.)
 
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 38° 58.053′ N, 77° 1.661′ W. Marker was in Brightwood, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker was on Piney Branch Road near Georgia Avenue. Touch for map. The marker is on the northwest corner of Piney Branch Road at Georgia Avenue in front of the Fort Stevens Building 6400 Piney Branch Road Northwest Washington, DC 20012. Marker was at or near this postal address: 6400 Piney Branch Road, Washington DC 20012, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. What a Beautiful Location, Brightwood (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Automobiling on The Avenue (about 500 feet away); Park and Shop! (about 700 feet away); Battleground National Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker
The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
3. The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker
also named Battleground National Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens (approx. ¼ mile away); Roll Call (approx. ¼ mile away); Fort Stevens (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brightwood.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Follow the Brightwood Heritage Trail.
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesWar, US Civil
 
Plank Road image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
4. Plank Road
Georgia Avenue once was a plank road like the one shown here.
Senator Augustus Bacon image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
5. Senator Augustus Bacon
Ruined House image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
6. Ruined House
This rare photograph of a house ruined in the battle captures the turnpike toll booth that sat to the right of this sign.
Pony Ride image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
7. Pony Ride
Carole Price of Quintana Place enjoyed a pony ride on this corner in 1939.
Miniature Golf image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
8. Miniature Golf
Miniature golf courses, like this photographed in East Potomac Park around 1935, were major Brightwood pastime in the 1930s.
1864 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
9. 1864
An artist captured the scene in front of Fort Stevens during the battle of 1864, including the area that would become this intersection.(on the reverse of the marker)
Map of the Brightwood Heritage Trail image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
10. Map of the Brightwood Heritage Trail
You are Here.
You are Here -- 1864 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
11. You are Here -- 1864
The line marked "Confederate Sharpshooters" shows where the Rebels were pushed back during the Battle of Fort Stevens. The (red) X on the map marks the toll booth's approximate location.
Close-up of map on marker
Cartography by William J. Clipson
The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker - Missing image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 12, 2018
12. The Seventh Street Turnpike Marker - Missing
Broken Base of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 12, 2018
13. Broken Base of Marker
The Fort Stevens Building image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2013
14. The Fort Stevens Building
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 18, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 28, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 589 times since then and 33 times this year. Last updated on September 12, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on April 28, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   11. submitted on November 28, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   12, 13. submitted on September 12, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   14. submitted on April 28, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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