Adams Morgan in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Latino Community
Roads to Diversity
—Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —
This is the heart of Washington’s Latino community. Once centered here and in nearby Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights, the community now extends throughout the region.
As early as the 1910s, the Mexican, Ecuadoran, Cuban, and Spanish embassies clustered nearby on 16th Street. Spanish-speaking diplomats and staff called this area home and often remained after their terms ended. In the 1950s, political turmoil and economic hardship brought Puerto Ricans and Cubans, followed later by South and Central Americans–particularly Salvadorans and Nicaraguans.
Latinos built dynamic cultural and business communities held together by bonds of food and language. By the 1970s, the Ontario Theater showed Spanish-language films (later the rock band U2 played there) and Manuel’s Latino disco was a hot night spot. The Omega restaurant thrived and small groceries including La Sevillana and El Gavilan offered familiar foods and gossip.
With growth came leaders such as the Puerto Rican, Carlos Rosario, who lobbied for city services and recognition. In 1970, Latinos organized the Hispanic Heritage Festival, which attracted thousands, serving notice that Latinos had arrived. The city responded in 1976 by opening the Office of Latino Affairs. The popular Hispanic Festival moved to the National Mall in 1989.
The enormously popular Hispanic Festival in Kalorama Park, below, 1980. At left, the Costa Rican float, 1987.
The Cuban, Spanish, and Mexican embassies, clockwise from above, on 16th St., were an early source of Hispanic influence.
Evening at the Potter’s House in 1960.
Latin American films at the Ontario Theater in 1969.
Erected 2005 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 6 of 18.)
Location. 38° 55.499′ N, 77° 2.333′ W. Marker is in Adams Morgan, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Columbia Road, NW 0 miles east of 17th 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. The Ontario Theater (within shouting distance of this marker); Lanier Place (about Polish-U.S. Diplomatic Relations (about 700 feet away); Embassy of the Republic of Poland (about 700 feet away); Ambassadors of Faith (about 700 feet away); Social Justice (about 800 feet away); Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania (about 800 feet away); Lithuania's March to Freedom (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Adams Morgan.
Also see . . . Adams Morgan Heritage Trail markers that have been entered in the Historical Marker database. (Submitted on March 20, 2009.)
Categories. • Education • Entertainment • Hispanic Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on October 22, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 18, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,532 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 18, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.