Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
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Make No Little Plans
—Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —
The monumental structure reflects the nation's prosperity when Louis Ayres of the New York firm of York and Sawyer designed it and when President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone in May 1929. A few months later, however, the world economy crashed, launching the Great Depression. Fortunately, construction on the Federal Triangle proceeded creating jobs that became harder to find as the depression deepened.
When the Commerce Department was founded in 1903, it took in the Census Bureau (established in 1790), Bureau of Navigation (1789), Lighthouse Service (1789), Patent Office (1802), Coast and
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
In 1791 Pierre L'Enfant designed a city plan for the new cpaital in Washington under the direction of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The L'Enfant Plan overlaid broad avenues on a street grid with areas reserved for prominent buildings and parks. This area originally followed L'Enfant's vision as a center for businesses serving the municipal and federal governments. By the time of the Civil War (1861-1865), it had become a hodgepodge of boarding houses, stables, and light industry. This disarray, and the growing need for government office space, led to calls for redevelopment. In 1901 the Senate Park Commission, known as the McMillan Commission, created a new plan for Washington's parks and monumental areas and redefined the Triangle as a government center. In 1926 Congress authorized a massive building program that drew inspiration from classical architecture to create today's monumental Federal Triangle.
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,
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 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 8.)
Location. 38° 53.658′ N, 77° 1.905′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 14th Street NW, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Located in front of the Ronald Reagan Building. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20229, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. To the Memory of Oscar S. Straus (within shouting distance of this marker); Alexander Robey Shepherd (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Completing the Triangle (about 400 feet away); Washington, DC: Capital and City (about 400 feet away); The John A. Wilson Building (about 400 feet away); Marion Barry, Jr. (about 500 feet away); The Division (about 600 feet away); Flags of the World (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Also see . . . National Aquarium: closure in 2013. (Submitted on February 22, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Categories. • Government • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 13, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 389 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on July 8, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 9. submitted on September 13, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. 10. submitted on July 8, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.