“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)

Village Life

Village in the City


—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —

Village Life Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
1. Village Life Marker
Inscription.  This was the western edge of Samuel P. Brown's Mount Pleasant Village. Across the street and a few steps ahead at 3423 Oakwood Terrace is "Oakwood," an original village house built in 1871 for city politician J.W. Buker. Brown reserved the land to your left for his family, and sold lots to your right, from 17th Street to today's 14th Street. You can recognize Brown's earliest streets on the trail map on the other side of this sign by the way they angle off 17th Street.

Brown's settlement attracted Civil War veterans and government employees, mostly New Englanders. They found these breezy hills healthier than the congested lowlands of the City of Washington (bounded on the north by Florida Avenue). Villagers organized the Mount Pleasant Assembly, which ran a horse-drawn coach from 14th Street and Park Road to the Treasury Department downtown. It also built Union Hall for meetings and worship services, and a school on Hiatt Place.

In 1883 Samuel Brown's son Chapin began subdividing the family estate. You'll see the subdivision's first house — 1701 Newton Street — as you walk to Sign 7.

Even before
Village Life Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
2. Village Life Marker
Rock Creek Park was set aside in 1890, the wild woodlands bordering the village were a happy part of daily life. The young sons of developer Luther Fristoe and his wife Caroline, who moved here in 1887, often played at the creek and the zoo. Others came from farther away: Theodore Roosevelt, president from 1901 to 1909, rode horseback, hiked, and even skinny-dipped in Rock Creek Park. He arrived so often via 17th Street, one street over, that Washingtonians dubbed it the Roosevelt Entrance.

Image captions (clockwise from top center):
Chapin Brown continued his father's work developing Mount Pleasant.

Village children were educated in this four-room schoolhouse, seen here in 1876.

Villagers built Union Hall, above, for church services, parties, and public meetings.

This 1887 Hopkins map shows Mount Pleasant Village. Old 16th and 17th sts. are now Mt. Pleasant St., Piney Branch Rd. is now 17th St., and Park St. and Pierce Mill Rd. are today's Park Rd.

President Theodore Roosevelt, avid outdoorsman, often rode into Rock Creek Park on 17th St., at the center of this 1927 view, right.

The Fristoe family house once stood at 3309 17th St. The two active Fristoe boys, Roy, left, and Edward, pause in the front hall.

Tucked into a bend in Rock Creek Park
Village Life Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
3. Village Life Marker
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 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, 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.

Image caption:
Edward Fristoe rides his bicycle at the corner of Park Road and 17th St., around 1898. The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 6.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 56.073′ N, 77° 2.324′ W. Marker is in Mount Pleasant, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Oakwood Terrace Northwest and 17th Street Northwest on Oakwood Terrace Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3401 Oakwood Terrace Northwest, Washington DC 20010, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Elder Spirit (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Twenty-seven Little Flags (about 700 feet away); Nacotchtank Family at the Piney Branch Quarry, ca. 1600 (about 700 feet away); Casualties Arriving at Mount Pleasant General Hospital, May 1864 (about 700 feet away); War and Peace (about 800 feet away); Avenue of Churches (about 800 feet away); Growing Strong (approx. 0.2 miles away); Main Street (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Pleasant.
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 15, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 24, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 80 times since then and 15 times this year. Last updated on March 8, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 24, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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