Union Station in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Gateway to The Nation's Capital
Hub, Home, Heart
—Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —
Until the early 1950s, most of downtown Washington's public accommodations were segregated. Union Station was one of the exceptions. In its dining room, African American and white patrons could sit down and eat side by side.
Traffic at Union Station peaked during World War II (1941-1945). Throngs of military men and women passed through en route to training camps and battlefronts. Civilians, especially young women, arrived to staff the enormous war effort. But as air travel expanded, Union Station's importance declined. When the station underwent major renovations in the 1980s, its grand concourse was reconfigured to hold inviting shops, restaurants, and entertainment.
The 1990s brought the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, on this block, named for the Howard University-trained lawyer whose strategies helped end
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. 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
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 2.)
Location. 38° 53.813′ N, 77° 0.291′ W. Marker is in Union Station, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Union Station Driveway NE, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Located across the street from the east side of Union Station. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20002, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Swampoodle (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Freedom Bell (about 500 feet away); Christopher Columbus (about 500 feet away); Delaware Avenue & Columbus Circle, NE (about 700 feet away); Roll Out the Barrel (about 800 feet away); “The President’s Trees” (approx. 0.2 miles away); "All Aboard" (approx. 0.2 miles away); Famine-Genocide in Ukraine (approx. 0.2 miles away).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
Categories. • Civil Rights • Railroads & Streetcars • Sports • War, World I •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 30, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 408 times since then and 26 times this year. Last updated on February 11, 2014, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 30, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.