Author: Northeastern Article
Ever wonder how John Phillip Sousa was so inspired to create such patriotic music?
Perhaps it was his upbringing in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood today known as Barracks Row.
Cultural Tourism DC has launched several neighborhood heritage trails designed for walking tours, including Barracks Row. All are self-guided walks through historic neighborhoods, with poster-sized signs marking important locations.
As groups follow the Barracks Row Heritage Trail, they’ll explore the neighborhood Sousa knew well.
Few people know Washington as a military town, but its roots run deep, especially with the U.S. Navy and Marines Corps.
Sousa, the son of a Marine trombonist, was enlisted as an apprentice to the Marines as a 13-year-old.
He later led the band before setting out on his own in 1892. For two years during World War I, he was commissioned as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, donating all his salary — except for $1 — to the Sailors’ and Marines’ Relief Fund.
At the time of Sousa, Barracks Row was known Capitol Hill Navy Yard. “U.S. Marines and the U.S. Navy gave the community its unique flavor,” said Jessica Marlatt, a spokeswoman for Cultural Tourism DC.
“The military was a major influence on the neighborhood,” said Jane Freundel Levey, a Cultural Tourism DC historian instrumental in putting together this trail. “It was one of the major places where we had industry. The military story is the highlight, but you also get deeper into the history of D.C.”
March king John Phillip Sousa grew up and worked in the D.C. neighborhood now known as Barracks Row.
While Sousa is the best-known subject of the trail, the route also runs past the oldest continuously manned Marines installation in U.S. and Washington’s oldest Episcopal congregation, where presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams worshipped.
The signs also detail the home of the first woman White House correspondent, Emily Edson Briggs, before ending at Eastern Market. The historic market, which dates to 1872 and survived a blaze in recent history, hosts a weekend produce and art market and daily shopping.
“You can go for a quick lunch; it’s open all year long, but livelier on the weekend,” Levey said.
The trail allows for motorcoaches to drop group members off at the beginning or to walk from a nearby Metro stop.
A guidebook can be downloaded from the Cultural Tourism DC website at www.culturaltourismdc.org; or can be found at local businesses.
However, “you don’t really need anything if you follow the signs,” Levey said. “You don’t need a guide; you don’t need a reservation, and you don’t have to buy a ticket.”
An audio guide is not yet available for the Barracks Row Heritage Trail, but some have been launched for other Culture Tourism DC heritage trails and are available online.
Barracks Row Heritage Trail
Cultural Heritage DC
I would like to take the time to thank you for the support provided to our organization, Latin Fashion Week. The event was a huge success thank to the cooperation of company like Cultural Tourism DC and people like you.