Al Jolson, star of the first "talking" movie, The Jazz Singer, grew up as Asa Yoelson at 713 4½ Street (once near this sign). The Yoelsons arrived from Lithuania in 1880. Asa's father Rabbi Moses Yoelson served as cantor and schochet . . . — — Map (db m111955) HM
Before bridges spanned the Potomac, ferry boats took people and goods across the river. You could ride to Alexandria from Greenleafs Point (now Fort McNair), or between the landings where todays 14th Street Bridge touches ground. Sailboats came . . . — — Map (db m113550) HM
This high ground serves as a monument to Benjamin Banneker, a free African American who charted the stars for the first survey of Washington, DC. Banneker was 60 years old when he hired on to assist surveyor Andrew Ellicott. A tobacco planter from . . . — — Map (db m25171) HM
When urban renewal threatened to destroy three of Washington's oldest structures, dating from the late 1700's, history-minded citizens organized to stop the bulldozers. As a result, when architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith designed the mid-20th . . . — — Map (db m32571) HM
You are standing in the heart of one of Washington, DC's oldest—and newest—neighborhoods. For 150 years Southwest Washington was a working waterfront community. Then urban renewal changed the landscape forever. Today Southwest is a . . . — — Map (db m109108) HM
Jefferson Junior High School was built in 1940 after area residents persuaded the city to abandon the original dilapidated building. They hoped the new structure, which included a branch library, would be the beginning of section-wide . . . — — Map (db m109098) HM
Before the Civil War, Washington was a slave-holding city. But many of its citizens–especially free blacks and abolitionists–assisted freedom seekers at locations known as stops on the Underground Railroad.
The largest attempted . . . — — Map (db m112455) HM
In the 1890s, American cities had a common problem. The working poor lived in deteriorating housing, often no better than wooden shacks. In Washington much of this housing lined the city's hidden alleys. But people needed healthier and safer . . . — — Map (db m32610) HM
A massive, Romanesque style Metropolitan Street Railway car barn once commanded the corner behind you across O Street, with repair shops across Fourth Street. They dated from the 1880s, and were part of Washington's first street railway system. . . . — — Map (db m32607) HM
Fort Leslie J. McNair, to your right, honors the commander, Army Ground Forces during World War II who died in battle. It is the U.S. Armys third oldest installation (after West Point and Carlisle Barracks).
The fort dates back to 1791. . . . — — Map (db m20389) HM
Washington's schools and playgrounds were legally segregated from 1862 until 1954. But that didn't stop kids of all backgrounds from playing together. "We didn't understand racial disharmony," said Southwester Gene Cherrico of his childhood on . . . — — Map (db m111967) HM
Directly across Fourth Street from this sign is the Capitol Park complex of high-rise and townhouse residences. Designed by Chloethiel Woodard Smith of Satterlee and Smith, the high-rise (now Potomac Place) opened in 1959 as the first new . . . — — Map (db m109103) HM
Behind you stands St. Dominic Church, established 1852. It anchors the city's only Dominican parish and is its sixth oldest Catholic church. St. Dominic's survived two upheavals — a fire in 1885 and the threat of urban renewal in the 1950s . . . — — Map (db m111968) HM
This quiet street was once Washington's answer to New York's Lower East Side. Fourth Street, known until 1934 as a 4½ Street, and nearly Seventh Street were Southwest's shopping centers.
Around 1900 this street was the dividing line . . . — — Map (db m109106) HM
To your left across Water Street is the Thomas Law House, now a community center for the Tiber Island cooperative. The Federal style house was designed by William Lovering in 1794 for businessman Thomas Law and his bride Eliza Parke Custis, . . . — — Map (db m20430) HM