Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Logan Circle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Artistic Life

A Fitting Tribute

 

—Logan Circle Heritage Trail —

 
The Artistic Life Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
1. The Artistic Life Marker
Inscription. The Imposing Double House to Your Left, numbers 1 and 2, was built as an investment for Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., son of the 18th president. The house would later serve as the Venezuelan Legation and then a Seventh-Day Adventist nursing home.

Henry M. Letcher and his wife Evelyn purchased 1-2 Logan Circle. Henry, an artist, designer, educator, and decorated veteran of the Tuskegee Airmen, and Evelyn, a teacher opened Letcher Art Center. After receiving accreditation from the Veterans Administration, the center taught commercial art, sign painting, silk screening, and architectural drafting to returning World War II veterans. Henry brought his first cousin and best friend Duke Ellington to visit and be photographed among the students. The School, recalled his son Henry, Jr. enabled scores of service men to become “peace-time earners and family men” despite segregation.

After Letcher's death in 1967, Henry Jr., a musician, took over the mansion, populating it with fellow musicians and artists, among them musician/poet Gil Scott-Heron. The younger Letcher's band Jambo performed locally in the early 1970s and attracted audiences with jazz-inflected R&B accompanied by psychedelic light shows. In 1972, when the neighborhood “became too rough,” as Henry Jr. recalled, his mother sold the house. In
The Artistic Life Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
2. The Artistic Life Marker
1998 it was converted to condominiums.

One block east of this sign is 1316 Rhode Island Avenue, an example of the 1970s wave of rehabilitation in Logan Circle. Architect Robert B. Gordon and his wife Doll purchased the shell of 1316 in 1979. Gordon designed a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired interior within the Victorian exterior of the 1885 red-brick exterior rowhouse.

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
Henry M. Letcher and Duke Ellington image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
3. Henry M. Letcher and Duke Ellington
Letcher Art Center Founder Henry M. Letcher, in white shirt and dark tie, poses with his cousin Duke Ellington amid students learning the art of upholstery.
Close-up of photo on marker
city grew beyond Logan Circle, affluent African Americans gradually replaced whites here. Most of them moved on during World War II, and their mansions were divided into rooming houses to meet a wartime housing shortage. By the 1960s, with suburban Maryland and Virginia drawing investment, much of the neighborhood had decayed. When civil disturbances erupted after the 1968 assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it hit bottom. Ten years later, however, long-time residents, newcomers, and city programs spurred revival. A Fitting Tribute: Logan Circle Heritage Trail takes you through the neighborhood's lofty and low times to introduce the array of individuals who shaped its modern vitality.
 
Erected by DC Cultural Heritage, Logan Circle Heritage Trail. (Marker Number 10.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Washington DC, Logan Circle Heritage Trail marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.549′ N, 77° 1.807′ W. Marker is in Logan Circle, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Logan Circle, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 & 2 Logan Circle, Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker.
Henry and Evelyn Letcher image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
4. Henry and Evelyn Letcher
Henry and Evelyn Letcher supervise young artists.
Close-up of photo on marker
A Neighborhood Reborn (was within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing. ); Logan Circle (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General John A. Logan (within shouting distance of this marker); Bethune Museum-Archives (within shouting distance of this marker); 6 Logan (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Logan Memorial (about 300 feet away); Belford V. Lawson and Marjorie M. Lawson Residence (about 300 feet away); Pratt House (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Logan Circle.
 
Also see . . .  The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Gil Scott-Heron, Ogg Vorbis sound file, length 31 s, 88 kbps (Submitted on December 15, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansEntertainment
 
Ulysses S. “Buck” Grant, Jr.,<br>the original owner of 1-2 Logan Circle. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
5. Ulysses S. “Buck” Grant, Jr.,
the original owner of 1-2 Logan Circle.
Close-up of photo on marker
Henry M. Letcher, Jr. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
6. Henry M. Letcher, Jr.
Henry M. Letcher, Jr., poses with bandmates on the roof of their home/studio, 1-2 Logan Circle.
Close-up of photo on marker
1316 Rhode Island Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
7. 1316 Rhode Island Avenue
Sunlight pours into a conversation pit in the Victorian rowhouse redesigned by Robert B. Gordon.
Close-up of photo on marker
Robert B. Gordon and Father Horace McKenna image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
8. Robert B. Gordon and Father Horace McKenna
Architect Robert B. Gordon shows his plan for the Sursum Corda development to Father Horace McKenna, 1967. The architect brought new life to his residence at 1316 Rhode Island Ave.
Close-up of photo on marker
1316 Rhode Island Avenue, 1978 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
9. 1316 Rhode Island Avenue, 1978
Seen behind the lady in the hat.
Close-up of photo on marker
Gil Scott-Heron image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
10. Gil Scott-Heron
Renowned Musician/Poet Gil Scott Heron, left, author of “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” takes five with writing partner Brian Jackson on the front landing of 1-2 Logan Circle, 1970s.
Close-up of Gary Price photo on reverse of marker
1 & 2 Logan Circle image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
11. 1 & 2 Logan Circle
1 & 2 Logan Circle image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
12. 1 & 2 Logan Circle
1 & 2 Logan Circle Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
13. 1 & 2 Logan Circle Plaque

1 & 2
Logan Circle

Originally Built: 1877
By: Ulysses S. Grant Jr.
Renovated: 1998
By: P. N.Hoffman
Conservation Easement Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
14. Conservation Easement Plaque
U G Chimney image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
15. U G Chimney
Ornate Cornice image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
16. Ornate Cornice
1316 Rhode Island Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
17. 1316 Rhode Island Avenue
1316 Rhode Island Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 30, 2014
18. 1316 Rhode Island Avenue
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 28, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 15, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 340 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. submitted on December 15, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement