Shaw in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
You Had to Wear a Tie
City within a City
—Greater U Street Heritage Trail —
The Lincoln Theater at mid-block across U Street, now restored to its 1922 grandeur, was one of three first run movie theaters clustered on U Street. The Lincoln Colonnade behind the theater, since demolished, was a popular setting for balls, parties and performances. All the great entertainers played clubs on or near this boulevard–Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey, Sarah Vaughn, Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine, and Jelly Roll Morton, to name a few.
Black-owned businesses, the offices of Black lawyers, doctors and dentists; and the headquarters of Black social institutions clustered along U Street. Many of them occupied buildings that were financed, designed and built by and for African Americans–unusual at the time.
All night and on weekends, U Street was a parade ground–a place to
Ushers welcome patrons, above, to the Lincoln Theater about 1940. Duke Ellington, left, frequently returned home from New York to play at the Howard Theater at 7th and T.
The Republic Theater in the 1300 block of U Street, demolished in the 1980s, was one of three first run movie houses on the street Noted photographer Robert H. McNeill captured this lively night-time scene about 1940.
Louis Armstrong playing the Lincoln Colonnade, a popular dance hall that once operated behind the Lincoln Theater.
Capital Classic parade headed for U Street in the 1950s.
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 1 of 14.)
Location. 38° 55.014′ N, 77° 1.764′ W. Marker is in Shaw, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of U Street, NW and 13th Street, NW, on the right when traveling east on U 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 Marlon Francisco Morales (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln Theatre and Lincoln Colonnade (within shouting distance of this marker); Ben's Chili Bowl / Minnehaha Theater (within shouting distance of this marker); The True Reformer Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); "Old Man River" (about 500 feet away); "No More Auction Block For Me" (about 500 feet away); "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" (about 500 feet away); "Stand By Me" (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shaw.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. A walking tour of the U Street neighborhood (note, only 6 of 14 markers are currently entered in the database).
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Notable Places • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 24, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 30, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,787 times since then and 25 times this year. Last updated on March 18, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page was the Marker of the Week February 1, 2009. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 30, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 24, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. 6. submitted on March 18, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on January 21, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.