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

Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square

Civil War to Civil Rights

 

—Downtown Heritage Trail —

 
Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
1. Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker
Inscription.
“Hay for the horses, produce for the table, live chickens for the pot, and a hat for your head.”

All this and more could be had right here during the Civil War. The triangular area just ahead to your left was called Major Space. The city’s sprawling City Market stood just to your left, where the National Archives is today.

The jumbled haymarket, indispensable in a world of horse-drawn vehicles, was just west of the City Market on Ninth Street. Up and down Pennsylvania Avenue a shopper could find clothing and other necessities in the little stores nestled between the city’s most popular boarding houses and hotels.

This area was the heart of 19th Century Washington. Seventh Street was the main route for farmers traveling to and from the city with their produce. During the Civil War, it was a strategic route for soldiers traveling to some of the 68 forts that surrounded the city. Pennsylvania Avenue linked the White House and the Capitol. For more than a century, the place where these streets crossed would be the city’s town square.

(Back):
The Civil War (1861 - 1865) transformed Washington, DC from a muddy backwater to a center of national power. Ever since, the city has been at the heart of the continuing struggle to realize fully the ideas for which the war was fought.
Upper Photos on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
2. Upper Photos on Marker
Left to right: The haymarket as it looked at the time of the Civil War (Historical Society of Washington, D.C.);

An 1863 city directory advertisement (Historical Society of Washington, D.C.);

A vendor at Central Market, about 1890 (Library of Congress).
The 25 signs that mark this trail follow the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglas, and others, famous and humble, who shaped a nation and its capital city while living and working in historic downtown DC.

Civil War to Civil Rights Downtown Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour consists of three distinct loops: West, Center, and East. Each one-mile loop offers about an hour of gentle exercise.

A free booklet capturing the trail's highlights is available at local businesses and institutions along the way. To download the free Civil War to Civil Rights Audio Tour, and learn about other DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CuturalTourismDC.org.
 
Erected by Tourism DC. (Marker Number .1.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil War to Civil Rights marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.567′ N, 77° 1.307′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 7th Street, NW south of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20004, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. National Intelligencer
Lower Photos on Front of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
3. Lower Photos on Front of Marker
Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and his wife shop for fresh produce at Center Market in 1935 (Library of Congress);

the sprawling market seen here in 1903, stretched from Seventh to Ninth Street, where the National Archives stands today.
(within shouting distance of this marker); National Council of Negro Women (within shouting distance of this marker); Grand Army of the Republic (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); General Winfield Scott Hancock (about 400 feet away); 601 Pennsylvania Avenue (about 400 feet away); Protecting Consumers and Competition (about 400 feet away); Ceremony at the Crossroads (about 400 feet away); America's Main Street (about 500 feet away).
 
Categories. AnimalsIndustry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesWar, US Civil
 
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
4. Back of Marker
Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker (Reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
5. Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker (Reverse)
[Photo caption:] Clerks await customers at the bakery stall in Center Market, about 1915. The massive market once stood to the left [sic], where the National Archives is today. (Library of Congress.)
Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker - map of Downtown Heritage Trail on reverse. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
6. Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker - map of Downtown Heritage Trail on reverse.
Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker - view of National Archives building, across 7th St. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
7. Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker - view of National Archives building, across 7th St.
Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker - view up 7th St., northward image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, December 6, 2009
8. Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square Marker - view up 7th St., northward
toward Penn Quarter and the U.S. Navy Memorial.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 10, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 14, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,003 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on February 14, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2, 3, 4. submitted on July 1, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on February 14, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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