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

For the Children

Top of the Town

 

—Tenleytown Heritage Trail —

 
For the Children Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, March 19, 2011
1. For the Children Marker
Inscription. From 1927 until the late 1950s, the landscaped grounds across the street were the Hillcrest Children’s Center. It was founded downtown in 1814 as the Washington City Orphan Asylum by Marcia Burnes Van Ness and President Madison’s wife Dolley. The center’s Tudor style stone cottages created a village environment. In the 1960s changing social conditions led Hillcrest to move back downtown, this time in service to disabled children and their families.

The National Presbyterian Church and School, which occupy Hillcrest’s former site, trace their origins to four in-town congregations. One of these dates from 1795, when stone masons working at the White House gathered for services there in a carpenters’ shed. Most presidents since James Madison—and notables including Queen Elizabeth and Mother Teresa—have worshipped with the congregation.

President Lyndon Johnson’s message for National Presbyterian’s 1966 groundbreaking praised the church for forging “bonds which draw us together and which crumble the barriers that stand between us.” In 1970 Duke Ellington told a reporter that he performed here to “praise God with music” and to raise money for the church's Eisenhower Memorial Arts Fund to foster harmony between religion and the arts. Along with its soaring carillon tower, the church
For the Children Marker, Reverse image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, March 19, 2011
2. For the Children Marker, Reverse
boasts a main sanctuary that seats 1,260, and dramatic walks and gardens. It is the third largest religious center in Washington, after the Washington Cathedral and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was designated the national church for its denomination in 1947.

(Marker reverse, same on all markers in this series)
Tenelytown’s story begins with Native American footpaths that crossed at the highest natural elevation in what became Washington, DC. European settlers broadened the paths into roads, and in the late 1700s the enterprising John Tennally opened a tavern at the intersection of today’s Wisconsin Avenue and River Road. Soon a community known as Tennallytown surrounded the tavern. Until the early 1880s Tennallytown remained a village amid rural Washington County, where about a dozen tightly knit and often inter-married families dominated daily life. Then modern transportation made Tenleytown easily accessible to downtown and pushed it into the 20th century.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail shows you where, during the Civil War, the Union Army created Fort Reno. See where a mostly African American community grew up on—and eventually was erased from—the grounds of the old fort. Discover traces of Tenleytown’s rural past. Witness the neighborhood’s important role in both world wars. And discover
For the Children Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, March 19, 2011
3. For the Children Marker
where legendary TV and radio personalities got their starts.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour of 19 signs, just under three miles, offers about two hours of gentle exercise.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail, a free booklet capturing the trail’s highlights, is available in both English and Spanish language editions at local businesses and institutions along the way. To learn about other DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail is produced by Linda Donavan Harper, Alisha Bell, Laura Brower, Mara Cherkasky, Sarah Fairbrother, Helen Gineris, Elizabeth Goldberg, Carmen Harris, Pamela Jafari, Jane Freundel Levey, Akilah Luke, Yillah Rosenfeld, Leon Seemann, Frank Stewart, and Pat Wheeler of Cultural Tourism DC in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation, the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Tenleytown Neighbors Association, the Tenleytown Historical Society, and the Tenleytown Heritage Trail Working Group. Special thanks to Working Group Chair Carolyn Long and Historian Carole Abrams Kolker, and Working Group Members Pat Morders Armbruster, Ed Ashe, Lynn Bergfalk, Cheryl Browning, L.S. "Bill" Chamberlain,
Wide view of front of For the Children Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, January 25, 2015
4. Wide view of front of For the Children Marker
Jr., Rev. Dr. Ronald Conner, Gerald Cooke, B.F. Cooling, Jennifer Harry Cullen, Harriet Dwinell, Kenneth Faulstich, Fred Gore, Jean Gore, Frank Haendler Jason Hegy, Sherry Houghton, Donald J. Hunter, Susan Jaquet, Deborah Jaquiss, James Johnston, Karol "Noonie" Keane, Mary Alice and Richard Levine, Aaron Lloyd, South T. Lynn, Bernard McDermott, Jean M. Pablo, the late Matt Pavuk, Dick Randall, Kathryn Ray, Chris Schumann, Sterling Scroggins, Carolyn Sherman, Diane Tamayo, Marvin Tievsky, Rhoda Trooboff, Jane Waldmann, Cathy Wiss, and Doug Wonderlic.

Thank you also to ANCs 3E and 3F, Jim Anderson, Jean Bathurst, Brian Bowers, Yvonne Carignan, Jane Charter, Dustin Davis, John and Linda Derrick, James Embrey, Kathleen Franz, Pamela Gardner, Matt Glassman, Nicole Goldman, Mark Greek, Ashley Hair, Jeannette Harper, Ron Harvey, Faye Haskins, Mary Herbert, Judith Helm, Bill Jarrett, Joel Kemelhor, Maryanne Ball Kendall, Brian Kraft, Susan and Greg Lewis, Camille Martone, Lisa McCarty, Susan McElrath, Alison McWilliams, Eda Offutt, Elvi Moore, Anne Manoukian Page, Eddy Palanzo, Lewis Parker, Khalim Piankhi, Brian Porto, Bill Reeves, Priscilla D. Ricker, Nelson Rimensnyder, Donna Burrows Rose, Kathryn S. Smith, Barbara D. Tate, Barry Tillman, Rebecca Trachtman, Emma Byrum Weaver, Hayden Wetzel, Jerry Wheat, and Bruce Yarnall.

Photo of Fort Reno Park water towers
National Presbyterian Church image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, March 19, 2011
5. National Presbyterian Church
(1928) on each sign appears courtesy, The Washington Post.
(Marker shows a copyright dated 2010.) Design by Karol A. Keane Design, Map by Bowring Cartographic.

 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 15.)
 
Location. 38° 56.583′ N, 77° 4.898′ W. Marker is in American University Park, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Van Ness Street, N.W., on the right when traveling south on Nebraska Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4101 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington DC 20016, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Live on Our Stage! (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Winning the War (approx. 0.2 miles away); To the Rescue (approx. 0.2 miles away); On the Circle (approx. ¼ mile away); A Spirit of Community (approx. 0.3 miles away); American University (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Country Road (approx. 0.4 miles away); General Artemas Ward Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in American University Park.
 
More about this marker. There are a number of photographs on the marker. Clockwise starting to the right of the text, captions read:
Ring Around the Rosy image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
6. Ring Around the Rosy
Girls play ring-around-the-rosy at the Hillcrest Children’s Center of the 1950s.
Close-up of photo on marker
“The parlor of the old Washington Orphan Asylum featured an oil portrait of founder Marcia Burnes Van Ness.” ♦ “At right is the old asylum at 14th and S Streets.“
♦ “Sr. Minister Rev. Dr. Edward L.R. Elson and church officials break ground for the National Presbyterian Church, 1966.” ♦ “At far right, former president and church member Dwight D. Eisenhower participates in the cornerstone-laying.” ♦ “Worshipers fill the completed church, right, 1969.”
♦ “Girls play ring-around-the-rosy, top,” ♦ “and boys play basketball at the Hillcrest Children’s Center of the 1950s.”
♦ The caption on the large photograph on the reverse (common) face of the marker reads, “Young residents enjoy an early autumn day in one of the many gardens at the Hilcrest Children’s Center, 1950s.”
 
Categories. Charity & Public WorkChurches, Etc.
 
The Parlor image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
7. The Parlor
The parlor of the old Washington Orphan Asylum featured an oil portrait of founder Marcia Burnes Van Ness.
Close-up of photo on marker
The Old Asylum at 14th and S Streets. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
8. The Old Asylum at 14th and S Streets.
Close-up of photo on marker
Hillcrest Children's Center image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
9. Hillcrest Children's Center
Young residents enjoy an early autumn day in one of the many gardens at the Hillcrest Children’s Center, 1950s.
Close-up of photo on marker
Breaking Ground image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
10. Breaking Ground
Sr. Minister Rev. Dr. Edward L.R. Elson and church officials break ground for the National Presbyterian Church, 1966.
Close-up of photo on marker
Laying the Cornerstone image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
11. Laying the Cornerstone
Former president and church member Dwight D. Eisenhower participates in the cornerstone-laying.
Close-up of photo on marker
Cornerstone 1967 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
12. Cornerstone 1967
This Stone was unveiled
October fourteenth
by Dwight David Eisenhower
The Completed Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
13. The Completed Church
Worshipers fill the completed church, right, 1969.
Close-up of photo on marker
National Prebyterian Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
14. National Prebyterian Church
The Tower of Faith image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
15. The Tower of Faith
In Memory of
Henry Robinson Luce
Dedicated May 23, 1972
The Tower of Faith image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 3, 2015
16. The Tower of Faith
An additional view of National Presbyterian Church and its grounds image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, January 25, 2015
17. An additional view of National Presbyterian Church and its grounds
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 2, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 944 times since then and 51 times this year. Last updated on January 25, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 2, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.   4. submitted on January 25, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   5. submitted on October 2, 2011, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.   6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. submitted on May 9, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   17. submitted on January 25, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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