Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Arts and Artists
Make No Little Plans
—Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —
Installed in the lively plaza are monumental sculptures by two Washington-born artists: the cast-aluminum Federal Triangle Flowers by Stephen Robin and the hammer-formed and welded bronze Bearing Witness by Martin Puryear. Robin's large-scale rose and lily reflect traditional uses of flowers as architectural ornamentation. The familiar yet mysterious shape of Puryear's colossal work allows viewers to create their own associations. The sculptures, commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration's Art in Architecture Program, continue a long history of government-sponsored art for public buildings.
Take a moment to marvel at the bas-reliefs by Adolph Alexander Weinman and Anthony De Francisci adorning the former Post Office Department (now Ariel Rios) building. Just under the roofline at either end of the curved façade are the graceful sculptures, The Transmission of Mail by Day and The Transmission of Mail by Night. A timeline of postal service history and a
Passageways leading to 12th Street and to the National Mall via Constitution Avenue to your left evoke architectural traditions of European cities.
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
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
For more information on Federal Triangle buildings, please visit www.gsa.gov. For more information on DC neighborhoods and walking tours, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
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 6.)
Location. 38° 53.642′ N, 77° 1.773′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker can be reached from Pennsylvania Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Located in the plaza between the Ronald Reagan and Ariel Rios Buildings. 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. U. S. Post Office Department (within shouting distance of this marker); Appointed Rounds (within shouting distance of this marker); Daniel Patrick Moynihan Place (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Division (about 400 feet away); Preserving the Past To the Memory of Oscar S. Straus (about 600 feet away); Western Plaza, Pennsylvania Avenue (about 600 feet away); Open For Business (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 408 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on August 12, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.