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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
16th Street Heights in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Mayor Emery and the Union Army

Battleground to Community

 

—Brightwood Heritage Trail —

 
Mayor Emery and the Union Army Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
1. Mayor Emery and the Union Army Marker
Inscription. The City Park across the street was once Emery Place, the summer estate of Matthew Gault Emery.

A prominent builder, Emery was Washington City's last elected mayor during the period of home rule. He was succeeded in 1874 by a presidentially appointed board of commissioners, which governed until Mayor Walter Washington was elected a century later. Emery made a fortune in stone-cutting, including cornerstone for the Washington Monument. He excelled in insurance, banking, and new technologies -- electric streetcars and lighting.

During the Civil War (1861-1865), Captain Emery led the local militia. His hilltop became a signal station where soldiers used flags or torches to communicate with nearby Fort DeRussy or the distant Capitol. Soldiers of the 35th New York Volunteers created Camp Brightwood here. During the Battle of Fort Stevens in July 1864, Camp Brightwood was a transfer point for the wounded

The property passed on to Emery's daughter Juliet and her husband, businessman and civic leader William Van Zandt Cox. In 1946 Cox heirs sold the rundown estate to the city for use as a playground. Emery Recreation Center opened in 1959.

Across Georgia Avenue at the corner of Longfellow Street, one block behind you, was the site of two successive neighborhood department stores. The Abraham
Mayor Emery and the Union Army Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
2. Mayor Emery and the Union Army Marker
family ran shops, and eventually Ida's Department Store, there from 1915 until 1983. Morton's came next , part of a chain founded in Washington in 1933. In his early stores, Morton's owner Mortimer Lebowitz refused to segregate rest rooms or prohibit black customers from trying on clothes despite local custom.
 
Erected 2008 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 2.)
 
Location. 38° 57.516′ N, 77° 1.7′ W. Marker is in 16th Street Heights, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Georgia Avenue (U.S. 29), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. The marker is across Georgia Avenue from the Emery Recreation Center at 5701 Georgia Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20011. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20011, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hold the Mayo! (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Crossroads Create Community (approx. 0.2 miles away); Build It And They Will Come (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Streetcar Named Brightwood (approx. ¼ mile away); School Days (approx. 0.3 miles away); Military Road School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Racing at Brightwood (approx. 0.3 miles away); Aunt Betty's Story (approx. 0.3 miles away).
 
Related markers.
Signalling image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
3. Signalling
On a bluff above the Potomac, a Union soldier signals army headquarters, 1862. This type of communication also occurred here at Camp Brightwood.
Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Follow the Brightwood Heritage Trail
 
Also see . . .  Brightwood Heritage Trail Opening. TOCWOC - A Civil War Blog (Submitted on May 10, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansMan-Made FeaturesPoliticsWar, US Civil
 
Matthew Gault Emery image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
4. Matthew Gault Emery
Matthew Gault Emery was photographed by Matthew Brady.
Emery Place image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
5. Emery Place
Matthew Gault Emery's mansion once the centerpiece of Emery Park.
M.G. Emery & Brother image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
6. M.G. Emery & Brother
Emery advertised his successful stone-cutting business in the 1872 City Directory.
Nally House image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
7. Nally House
"Washington Edwin Nalley was a lifelong and well-known resident of Washington, having taught school there for 34 years. He was the Principal of Brightwood Elementary School and was also a Mason in the Stansbury Masonic Lodge, Number 24, where he was Master of the Lodge in 1891. His home, located at 5722 Georgia Avenue, was a two-story, three-bay wood frame house with a wraparound porch. It featured a center bay window on the second floor with an attic gable above it. This location is now the site of the “Easy Buy Mattress & Furniture” store at 5722 Georgia Avenue." -- Georgia Avenue, Brightwood’s Road from the Past to the Future, UM Historic Preservation Studio, 2006.
Stone House image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
8. Stone House
"Dr. Charles G. Stone was a prominent Washington surgeon who served as a physician for the poor in the Brightwood community. His house, located at 5726 Georgia Avenue, was a two-story frame house with a one-story front porch. This house had extensive decorative features, including a two story cupola extending over the front door. This property was razed and became the site of Posin’s Bakery and Delicatessen in 1947." -- Georgia Avenue, Brightwood’s Road from the Past to the Future, UM Historic Preservation Studio, 2006.
Ida's Department Store image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
9. Ida's Department Store
Maury and Larry Abraham, and mother Selma, owned Ida's Department Store, once one block behind you where Auto Zone is in 2008.
Camp Brightwood image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
10. Camp Brightwood
(from the reverse of the marker)
Map -- You Are Here. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
11. Map -- You Are Here.
Marker Veiled image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 16, 2008
12. Marker Veiled
at the opening ceremony of the Brightwood Heritage Trail, August 16, 2008
Marker Unveiled image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 16, 2008
13. Marker Unveiled
at the opening ceremony of the Brightwood Heritage Trail, August 16, 2008
Marie Reed Civil War Cadets image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 16, 2008
14. Marie Reed Civil War Cadets
Color guards at the opening ceremony of the Brightwood Heritage Trail, August 16, 2008
Emery Recreation Center image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
15. Emery Recreation Center
Auto-Zone image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 1, 2013
16. Auto-Zone
Where Ida's and Morton's were located.
Grave of Matthew Gault Emory image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 10, 2011
17. Grave of Matthew Gault Emory
In Rock Creek Cemetery
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 10, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 633 times since then and 62 times this year. Last updated on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. submitted on May 10, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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