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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
NoMa/Sursum Corda in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“All Aboard”

Hub, Home, Heart

 

—Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —

 
All Aboard Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 19, 2012
1. All Aboard Marker
Inscription.
Union Station, across First Street, was the world’s largest railroad terminal when it opened in 1907. Its construction took five years and displaced hundreds of small houses and businesses. Architect Daniel Burnham’s Beaux-Arts masterpiece, with its soaring, elegant and light-filled interiors, was the first of the series of Classical buildings demonstrating the sophistication and power of the Nation’s Capital.

The station’s name refers to the “union” of two competing railroad depots: the Baltimore & Ohio’s on New Jersey Avenue, NW, and the Pennsylvania’s which occupied 14 acres on the National Mall. The merger made train travel more convenient. It removed commerce from the Mall and eliminated the danger of tracks crossing city streets.

Union Station and the railroads have employed thousands, many of whom lived nearby. For a white male immigrant of the early 1900s, a railroad job meant security for his family and, often, economic progress. For African American men the job of porter on a Pullman Company luxury rail car was among the best available. In 1925 A. Philip Randolph founded a pioneering black union, International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. DC’s station porters, or Red Caps, were the nation’s first to organize a local union, the Washington Terminal Brotherhood of Station Porters. Inside
Travelers Await Trains image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
2. Travelers Await Trains
Travelers await their trains inside the elegant new Union Station, 1907. -Library of Congress
the station you can see a memorial to Randolph, who also worked to organize the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The Classical City Post Office, designed to match Union Station, opened on this corner in 1914. The Post Office (since reborn as the National Postal Museum) replaced Capitol Park (a.k.a. Swampoodle Grounds), where the first baseball team known as the Washington Nationals played beginning in 1886.

(Back):
Trains and streetcars created the Near Northeast neighborhood around H Street. The B&O Railroad's arrival in 1835 made this a center of energetic, working-class life. Workmen living north of the Capitol staffed the Government Printing Office, ran the trains, stocked the warehouses, and built Union Station. When a streetcar arrived linking H Street to downtown, new construction quickly followed.

H Street bustled with shops and offices run by Jewish, Italian, Lebanese, Greek, Irish, and African American families. During the segregation era, which lasted into the 1950s, African Americans came to H Street for its department stores and sit-down restaurants. Most businesses welcomed all customers.

Then came the civil disturbances in the wake of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968. Decades of commercial decline followed. Just off H Street, though, the strong residential community endured.
Arrival Board image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
3. Arrival Board
The array of railroad lines 'united' at Union Station can be seen on the arrival board, 1948. - The Washington Post
The 2005 opening of the Atlas Performing Arts Center signaled a revival, building evocatively on H Street's past. Hub, Home, Heart is a bridge to carry you from that past to the present.

Hub, Home, Heart: Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided, 3.2-mile tour of 18 signs offers about two hours of gentle exercise. Free keepsake guidebooks in English or Spanish are available at businesses and institutions along the way. For more on DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 1.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Postal Mail and Philately marker series.
 
Location. 38° 53.846′ N, 77° 0.466′ W. Marker is in NoMa/Sursum Corda, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 1st Street, NE north of Massachusetts Avenue, NE. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington DC 20002, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Famine-Genocide in Ukraine (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Freedom Bell (about 500 feet away);
Porters at Union Station image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
4. Porters at Union Station
Right: Porter Alfred MacMillan makes up an upper berth on the Capitol Limited bound for Chicago, 1942.

Left: Preston Herald, Sr., a DC-based porter, and his union insignia. - Collection of Preston Herald, Jr.
“The President’s Trees” (about 500 feet away); Christopher Columbus (about 500 feet away); Delaware Avenue & Columbus Circle, NE (about 700 feet away); Gateway to The Nation's Capital (approx. 0.2 miles away); U.S. Reservation 196 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Swampoodle (approx. ¼ mile away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
 
Also see . . .
1. Smithsonian National Postal Museum. (Submitted on September 22, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Union Station. (Submitted on September 22, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Additional keywords. AMTRAK; VRE; MARC; DC Metrorail; "Bikestation"
 
Categories. African AmericansNotable BuildingsNotable PlacesRailroads & Streetcars
 
Capitol Park image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
5. Capitol Park
The Washington Nationals at Capitol Park, 1888, site of the Postal Museum. -The Washington Post
Packages and Arrivals at Union Station image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
6. Packages and Arrivals at Union Station
Top: Red Cap Edward Gorham assists Mr. and Mrs. Jack McFall at Union Station, 1940. -The Washington Post

Bottom: Postal workers sort Christmas packages in the City Post Office, 1945. -Washingtoniana Collection, DC Public Library
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
7. Back of Marker
Union Station under construction image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 19, 2012
8. Union Station under construction
The nearly completed Union Station designed by Daniel H. Burnham, 1907. - Library of Congress.
Map of the H Street Heritage Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
9. Map of the H Street Heritage Trail
National Postal Service Museum, entrance on 1st St. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 19, 2012
10. National Postal Service Museum, entrance on 1st St.
The "All Aboard" marker is visible on the sidewalk at lower left
"Swampoodle": Historical marker on display inside Union Station image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 19, 2012
11. "Swampoodle": Historical marker on display inside Union Station
"Union Station sits on the edge of an area once known as 'Swampoodle,' an infamous Irish shantytown located on the sewery remnants of Tiber Creek. Three million cubic yards of fill were used to ready the swampy site for construction, and 30,000 train carloads of material were used to construct the Station itself."
<i>Bikestation, Washington, DC </i>, 24-hour indoor parking/service facility for image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 19, 2012
12. Bikestation, Washington, DC , 24-hour indoor parking/service facility for
cyclists at the 1st St. entrance to Union Station.
Union Station, Washington, DC - across 1st Street from the "All Aboard" marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 19, 2012
13. Union Station, Washington, DC - across 1st Street from the "All Aboard" marker
Union Station: west wing colonade, connectng the main entrance with 1st St. image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, September 17, 2012
14. Union Station: west wing colonade, connectng the main entrance with 1st St.
and the marker outside of the Postal Museum.
Labor leader, Asa Phillip Randolph: memorial bust near the AMTRAK passenger waitng room image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller
15. Labor leader, Asa Phillip Randolph: memorial bust near the AMTRAK passenger waitng room
National Postal Museum image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
16. National Postal Museum
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 26, 2017. This page originally submitted on September 21, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 602 times since then and 68 times this year. Last updated on February 11, 2014, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. Photos:   1. submitted on September 21, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on October 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   8. submitted on September 21, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   9. submitted on October 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   10, 11. submitted on September 21, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   12. submitted on September 22, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   13. submitted on September 21, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   14, 15. submitted on September 22, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   16. submitted on October 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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