Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Our Tax Dollars
Make No Little Plans
—Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —
The IRS building reminds citizens what their tax dollars buy. In the words of the great jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes engraved over the building's entrance, "Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society." Revenue collected by the IRS pays for everything from national defense and highways to weather forecasts and food safety inspections.
Louis A. Simon, superintendent of the architectural section of the Treasury Department, designed the IRS building to be the least ornate in the Federal Triangle because it houses a bureau, rather than a cabinet-level department of government. The building's neoclassical style is similar to its neighbors', but its only embellishments are four eagles atop shields carved in limestone panels flanking the entrance.
Congress enacted the first income tax to pay expenses of the Civil War, and in 1862 President Lincoln appointed a commissioner of internal revenue to collect it. A decade later the income tax was repealed and not revived until 1913, when the 16th Amendment to the Constitution gave Congress authority to enact a permanent income tax. The first Form 1040
Other forms of revenue collected by the IRS include corporate, estate, excise, gift, and employment taxes.
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 for the new cpaital in Washington under the direction
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 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 13.)
Location. 38° 53.54′ N, 77° 1.66′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Constitution Avenue NW and 12th Street NW, on the right when traveling west on Constitution Avenue NW. 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. Colossal Head 4 (replica) (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cedar of Lebanon (about 500 feet away); Solomon G. Brown (about 500 feet away); Keeping it Green (about 500 feet away); Equal Justice Under the Law (about 600 feet away); Making A Modern Museum (about 600 feet away); A National Museum (about 700 feet away); U. S. Post Office Department (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Categories. • Government • Notable Buildings • War, US Civil •
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 348 times since then. Photos: 1. submitted on August 12, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on August 16, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.