Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Washington, DC: Capital and City
Make No Little Plans
—Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —
When completed in 1908, it was known as the District Building (for District of Columbia). Cope and Stewardson of Philadelphia won the competition to design it in the Beaux-Arts style favored by the McMillian Commission, which was charged with remaking this area in 1901. Built on the site of a streetcar powerhouse destroyed by fire in 1897, it is the only building in the Federal Triangle constructed of marble.
The District Building originally housed three presidentially appointed commissioners who, with congressional supervision, governed DC from 1874 until 1974. Passage of the Home Rule Act of 1973 ended exclusive federal control over city affairs and allowed DC citizens to elect a city council and mayor. The DC Council creates the city's laws and budgets, though its actions remain subject to congressional oversight.
When the Federal Triangle plan emerged in the late 1920s, it called for demolition of this building in order to build a Great Plaza on 14th Street. But critics argued it would be wasteful to raze such an impressive marble structure, and citizens rallied to save it.
The building's name honors the late civil rights leader and home rule activist, former DC Council Chair John A. Wilson.
You are standing in the Federal Triangle, a group of buildings whose grandeur symbolizes the power and dignity of the United States. Located between the White House and the Capitol, these buildings house key agencies of the U.S. Government.
The Federal Triangle is united by the use of neoclassical revival architecture, drawing from styles of ancient Greece and Rome that have influenced public buildings throughout the ages. Although each structure was designed for a specific government department or agency, they all share limestone façades, red-tiled roofs and classical colonnades. Their architectural features, following traditions of the Parisian School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux-Arts), illustrate each building's original purpose. Most of the Federal Triangle was constructed between 1927 and 1938. However, the Old Post Office and the John A. Wilson Building survive from an earlier era, while the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center was not completed until 1998.
In 1791 Pierre L'Enfant designed a city plan
Make No Little Plans: Federal Triangle Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, D.C. Walking Trail. The self-guided, 1.75-mile tour of 16 signs offers about one hour of gentle exercise. Its theme comes from "Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood. Make big plans," attributed to visionary Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, chair of the McMillan Commission.
For more information on Federal Triangle buildings, please visit www.gsa.gov. For more information on DC neighborhoods
Make No Little Plans: Federal Triangle Heritage Trail is produced by the U.S. General Services Administration in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation and Cultural Tourism DC.
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
Location. 38° 53.721′ N, 77° 1.894′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street NW, on the right when traveling east on Pennsylvania Avenue. 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. Alexander Robey Shepherd (a few steps from this marker); The John A. Wilson Building (a few steps from this marker); Marion Barry, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); John J. Pershing, General of the Armies (1860-1948) (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Great Seal of the United States (about 300 feet away); Open For Business (about 400 feet away); Julia Ward Howe (about 400 feet away); The New Willard (about 400 feet away).
Categories. • Government • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 583 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on September 19, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on July 8, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 12. submitted on July 9, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.