Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
G-Men and G-Women
Make No Little Plans
—Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —
The FBI was established in 1908 as the Justice Department's detective unit. Its agents investigated allegations of investment fraud, opium smuggling, munitions trafficking, and other federal crimes. The agency's power increased during national security crisis and as it brought mob figures and other violent criminals to justice. Under the half-century directorship of native Washingtonian J. Edgar Hoover, the bureau grew in responsibility and helped professionalize modern law enforcement, emphasizing scientific analysis. Drawing on a century of experience, the modern FBI protects the nation against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, enforces U.S. criminal laws, and provides leadership for the nation's law enforcement organizations.
Formerly housed in the Department of Justice building to your left, the FBI relocated across the street in 1975. Designed by Charles F. Murphy, the building's modern brutalist style (from the French "Béton brut," or raw concrete) contrasts with the earlier buildings of Federal Triangle.
Looking to your left along 10th Street, you can see the continuation of the city's street plan as Federal Triangle buildings frame the view to the National Museum of Natural History.
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
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
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 3.)
Location. 38° 53.646′ N, 77° 1.551′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 10th Street, NW, on the right when traveling east on Pennsylvania Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20530, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pennsylvania Avenue (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Permanence and Grandeur: Building the Federal Triangle (about 300 feet away); Preserving the Past (about 600 feet away); Equal Justice Under the Law (about 600 feet away); In Memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (about Welcome Aboard! (about 700 feet away); Grandeur for the People (about 800 feet away); Nathan Hale (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Categories. • Government •
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 393 times since then and 15 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 25, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.