“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)

Twenty-seven Little Flags

Village in the City


—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —

Twenty-seven Little Flags Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
1. Twenty-seven Little Flags Marker
Inscription.  Just like Mount Pleasant, Bancroft School is known for its ethnic and racial diversity. "at one of the spring fairs in the early 1970s, we asked people to bring native dishes, and I bought 27 little flags to mark the food," parent Gloria Mitchell remembered.

The original eight-room Bancroft Elementary School was built on this corner in 1924, after a building boom added hundreds of rowhouses to Mount Pleasant. On the day it opened, Bancroft was already too small. Nine years later a new 17-room wing stretched downtown Newton Street, soon followed by an auditorium and main entry. The school honors George Bancroft (1800-1891), a historian, former secretary of the Navy, and founder of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. In the late 1960s, Mount Pleasant Neighbors Association launched a neighborhood festival on the Bancroft playground, and dozens of other community events have enjoyed the school's accommodations.

In the summer of 1962, R&B star Bo Diddley lived with his wife Kay and baby Terri in an apartment at 1724 Newton Street, across from Bancroft School. The neighborhood's central location, affordable rents, and
Twenty-seven Little Flags Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
2. Twenty-seven Little Flags Marker
nearby music clubs on Mt. Pleasant and 14th streets all attracted artists and rising performers. Diddley connected with some neighborhood teenagers whom he'd heard "singing on the corner—at least we thought we were singing," recalled former area resident Arthur Wong. "He encouraged us" and invited the boys to talk music and occasionally ride in his convertible. It was an experience they never forgot.

Image captions (clockwise from top left):
Bancroft sixth graders, 1958.

Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, for whom Bancroft Elementary is named.

Students paint a mural for the Mount Pleasant Festival, 1970.

Eva Semple poses with her father Wolsey at her sixth grade graduation, 1974.

Ray Murphy poses in 1938 with the family cat behind 3438 Mt. Pleasant St., since demolished for Bancroft Elementary School expansion.

R&B star Bo Diddley, who once lived at 1724 Newton St.

Teenager Artie Wong, left, and his buddies Eddie Morris, below, and Charlie Rivera, right, sang for Bo Diddley.

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
Twenty-seven Little Flags Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 24, 2017
3. Twenty-seven Little Flags Marker
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:
Bancroft Elementary School sixth grade graduates, 1955.
Collection of Michael Najarlan
Erected 2006 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 56.056′ N, 77° 2.472′ W. Marker is in Mount Pleasant, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 18th Street Northwest and Newton Street Northwest on 18th Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3401 18th St 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. Nacotchtank Family at the Piney Branch Quarry, ca. 1600 (a few steps from this marker); Changing Fashions (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Village Life (about 700 feet away); War and Peace (about 700 feet away); Defying the Restrictive Covenants (approx. 0.2 miles away); Casualties Arriving at Mount Pleasant General Hospital, May 1864 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Main Street (approx. ¼ mile away); Czech Row (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mount Pleasant.
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicAsian AmericansEducation
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Credits. This page was last revised on March 21, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 24, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 103 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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