Logan Circle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
“Contraband” to Community
A Fitting Tribute
—Logan Circle Heritage Trail —
After the Civil War broke out in 1861, thousands walked away from bondage. When some sought shelter at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, Union General Benjamin Butler allowed them to stay as “contrabands of war” or captured enemy property. Soon men, women, and children poured into Washington and other Union territories seeking new lives. In 1862, as housing near the Capitol and Navy Yard was overwhelmed, the Army relocated the formerly enslaved to wooden barracks built here for Captain Charles Bakers' Chicago Dragoons.
In 1862 Camp Barker reportedly housed 4,000 people. Overcrowding led to deadly epidemics, despite the camp's health facility. Contraband (later Freedmen's Hospital), was led by Major Alexander T. Augusta, M.D. the nation's first African American commissioned medical officer. Many refugees left for Freedmen's Village. Others remained here, in a growing community.
President Abraham Lincoln occasionally visited Camp Barker from his summer retreat at the Soldiers' Home, about 2.5 miles northeast. Mary Dines, who escaped bondage in Maryland and lived at the camp cooked for Lincoln at his retreat. She sang in a concert organize at the camp for the president and guests.
Sidebar (on reverse):
The Logan Circle Neighborhood began with city boosters' dreams of greatness. The troops, cattle pens, and hubbub of the Civil War (1861–1865) had nearly ruined Washington, and when the fighting ended, Congress threatened to move the nation's capital elsewhere. So city leaders raced to repair and modernize the city. As paved streets, water and gas lines, street lights, and sewers reached underdeveloped areas, wealthy whites followed. Mansions soon sprang up around the elegant park where Vermont and Rhode Island Avenues met. The circle was named Iowa Circle, thanks to Iowa Senator William Boyd Allison. In 1901 a statue of Civil War General (and later Senator) John A. Logan, a founder of Memorial Day, replaced the park's central fountain. The circle took his name in 1930. The title of this Heritage Trail comes from General Logan's argument that Memorial Day would serve as "a fitting tribute to the memory of [the Nation's] slain defenders."
As the city grew beyond Logan Circle, affluent African Americans gradually replaced whites here. Most of them moved on during World War
Erected by Cultural Heritage, DC. (Marker Number 5.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Washington DC, Logan Circle Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 54.755′ N, 77° 1.688′ W. Marker is in Logan Circle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of R Street and Vermont Avenue when traveling west on R Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20009, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Vermont Avenue Baptist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Like a Village (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Washington Afro-American Newspaper Office Building Logan Circle Just Ahead (about 800 feet away); Edward “Duke” Ellington Residence (about 800 feet away); A Home Away From Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); If These Mansions Could Talk (approx. 0.2 miles away); Frelinghuysen University/Jesse Lawson and Rosetta C. Lawson (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Logan Circle.
Categories. • African Americans • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 13, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 429 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on December 13, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.