All sites described below are marked along one of Cultural Tourism DC's Neighborhood Heritage Trails.
Meridian Hill. During the Civil War, Union Army hospitals and camps occupied Meridian Hill. The facilities attracted African American freedom seekers looking for protection and employment. By war’s end, a black community had put down roots. Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail Sign 4, southwest corner of 16th and Euclid Sts, NW.
Walter Pierce Park. During the Civil War, Cliffburne Barracks and Hospital occupied this area alongside a Quaker burial ground. After the war African Americans were also buried here. Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail Sign 11, southeast corner of Adams Mill Rd. and Ontario Pl., NW.
Naval Hospital. The first patient at this hospital, completed in 1866, was a 24-year-old African American seaman named Benjamin Drummond, admitted with a gunshot wound to his leg received while serving the Union in a Civil War battle three years before. Drummond had escaped from a Confederate prison in Texas and returned to duty before his old wound started giving him trouble. Tour of Duty: Barracks Row Heritage Trail Sign 4, Ninth and E Sts., SE, southeast corner.
The Marine Band. The Marine Band played for President Abraham Lincoln under the direction of Italian-born Francis Maria Scala. Tour of Duty: Barracks Row Heritage Trail Sign 7, southwest corner of Eighth and I Sts., SE.
Washington Navy Yard. By the 1840s the Navy Yard had switched from its original shipbuilding mission to manufacturing weapons and ammunition. President Lincoln often stopped by here to visit his friend, Commander John A. Dahlgren, who invented the distinctive “soda-water bottle”-shaped Dahlgren gun just in time for the Civil War. Tour of Duty: Barracks Row Heritage Trail Sign 10, Eighth and M Sts., SE.
Emery Place. Captain (and later Mayor) Matthew Gault Emery led the local militia during the Civil War. His hilltop here became a signal station where soldiers used flags or torches to communicate with nearby Fort DeRussy or the distant Capitol. In addition, the 35th New York Volunteers set up Camp Brightwood here. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 2, 5704 Georgia Ave., NW.
Moreland Tavern. Moreland Tavern, once at this intersection, housed the officers who would lead the defense of nearby Fort Stevens during the Confederate attack in July 1864. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 5, northwest corner of Missouri and Georgia Aves., in the triangle.
An African American Enclave. Well before the Civil War, a free African American community developed here amid the European American farmers. The community grew during the Civil War, as Fort Stevens and Camp Brightwood attracted more freedmen and women seeking work and protection. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 7, northwest corner, 6046 14th St., NW.
The Seventh Street Turnpike. On July 11 and 12, 1864, this intersection was the center of the only Civil War battle fought in the District of Columbia. Here, Union sharpshooters at Fort Stevens stopped General Jubal A. Early’s Rebels. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 11, 1201 Tuckerman St., NW.
Battleground National Cemetery. President Lincoln spoke at the dedication of this tiny cemetery, where Union dead were laid to rest after the Battle of Fort Stevens in July l864. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 13, 6625 Georgia Ave., NW.
Emory United Methodist Church. Despite its southern sympathies, Emory Methodist helped Union forces build Fort Massachusetts (later renamed Fort Stevens) in 1861. Troops tore down Emory’s new church, using some of the bricks to build the fort. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 15, southwest corner of Quackenbos St. and Georgia Ave., NW.
Fort Stevens. President Lincoln came under fire here in July 1864 as he observed the only Civil War battle to be fought in the District of Columbia. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 16, 1200 block of Quackenbos St., NW, across from Fort Stevens.
Elizabeth Proctor Thomas. When the Civil War began in 1861, Union soldiers confiscated the 11 acre-farm here owned by Elizabeth Proctor Thomas, a free black woman. Thomas later told a reporter that President Lincoln himself had promised her compensation after the war, but she never received it. Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail Sign 17, 13th and Quackenbos Sts., in front of Nativity Church.
On the Heights. Before the Civil War, the fabulous view from this corner was enjoyed by a sculptor and engraver named William J. Stone, owner of the long-since-demolished “Mount Pleasant” house. During the war, the house served as a hospital. Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Heritage Trail Sign 10, south side of Clifton St. east of 13th St.
Meridian Hill. Col. Gilbert Livingston Thompson once owned an estate here called “Meridian Hill.” His house, which stood where 16th Street is today, became a hospital during the Civil War. Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Heritage Trail Sign 15, west side of 15th St. at entrance to Meridian Hill Park just above Chapin St., NW.
Market Square. During the Civil War this area around Center Market (now occupied by the National Archives) was the heart of the city. Seventh Street carried farmers to the market and was a strategic route for soldiers traveling to battle or to some of the 68 forts that surrounded the city. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign .1, Seventh St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, south of the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro Stop.
Mathew Brady’s Studio. The building where Civil War photographer Mathew Brady had his studio remains at 627 Pennsylvania Ave. In the nearby small park: a statue of Gettysburg hero Major General Winfield Scott Hancock. In the plaza on Indiana Ave., a memorial to the founder of the Grand Army of the Republic, Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign .2, Seventh St. and Indiana Ave., NW.
Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office. Civil War nurse and, later, Red Cross founder Clara Barton lived and ran her Missing Soldiers Office here. The building is undergoing rehabilitation to house the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign .3, 437 Seventh St., NW.
The Patent Office. During the Civil War, the Patent Office was used as a hospital. On March 4, 1865, with the war’s end in sight, President Lincoln’s second inaugural was celebrated in the Grand Hall on the top floor of the building (today the Smithsonian American Art Museum). Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign .5, Eighth and F Sts., NW.
John Wilkes Booth’s Escape. The alley through which John Wilkes Booth escaped after assassinating President Abraham Lincoln takes you to the back of Ford’s Theatre, just as it did in Lincoln’s day. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign .6, F St. between Ninth and Tenth, NW.
Murder Bay. By the time of the Civil War, the area across Pennsylvania Avenue had become a run-down neighborhood known as “Murder Bay” and sometimes “Hooker’s Department,” after Civil War General Joseph Hooker, whose plan it was to concentrate the city’s brothels here. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign .8, Pennsylvania Ave., NW, between Tenth and 11th Sts.
Church of the Epiphany. Before the Civil War, Senator and future President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis was a member here. During the war Union Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and many Union generals worshipped at Epiphany before it became a hospital. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign w.1, 1317 G St., NW.
Franklin Square. The 12th New York Infantry Regiment camped here during the Civil War. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton lived across the street, at 1323 K St., and President Lincoln was sometimes seen in his open carriage in front of the house, conversing with Stanton. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign w.2, 13th, 14th, I and K Sts., NW.
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Reminders of President Lincoln’s time as a congregant here are his hitching post and a hand-written draft of his DC compensated emancipation document. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign w.4, 1313 New York Ave., NW.
The United States Treasury. While the Treasury served as the Union’s financial command center during the Civil War, its courtyard became a campground for Union soldiers and its basement a bunker for the president and cabinet. It also was the first federal agency to hire large numbers of women – during the war. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign w.5, 15th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
The Willard Hotel. President-elect Abraham Lincoln stayed at the Willard prior to his March 4, 1861, inauguration. At the time the hotel was hosting a peace conference, a last-ditch effort by delegates from 21 states to avert war. Later, while a guest here, Julia Ward Howe penned the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic, the song that became the Union anthem. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign w.6, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
The National Theatre. The historic “Theatre of Presidents” has entertained every First Family since 1835. President Lincoln attended the National many times, and on the evening of the president’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre, his son Tad was attending a performance here. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign w.7, Pennsylvania Ave., NW, between 13th and 14th Sts.
Old City Hall. Washington’s first City Hall stood witness to the end of slavery in the District of Columbia. President Lincoln had authorized up to $1 million to pay loyal DC slave owners for their human property, and a three-man commission working here had the ugly task of putting a monetary value on human life. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign e.2, D St., NW, between Fourth and Fifth Sts.
The Pension Bureau. This Italian Renaissance palace (now the National Building Museum) was built to house the Pension Bureau, which administered pensions owed to Civil War soldiers and the families of those who died. The lovely terra cotta frieze encircling the building depicts Union forces. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign e.3, 401 F St., NW.
Mary Surratt’s Boarding House. In the 1860s, the building that still stands at 604 H Street was a boarding house run by Confederate sympathizer Mary Surratt. Among her tenants were some of the men who conspired with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Lincoln. Surratt was arrested, tried, and hanged with three other convicted conspirators in July 1865. Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail Sign e.5, 604 H Street, NW.
Fort Mahan. One of the 68 Civil War defenses ringing the capital, Fort Mahan defended this eastern entry point into Washington. A Self-Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail Sign 15, northeast corner of Minnesota Ave. and Grant St., NE, across from the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station.
African American Civil War Memorial. The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum/research center here honor the more than 200,000 black soldiers who served the Union. The memorial is found at Tenth and U Sts., with the museum at 1816 12th St., NW (12th and U Sts.). City Within a City: Greater U Street Heritage Trail Sign 4, Tenth and U Sts., NW.
Lincoln Temple. Lincoln Temple United Church of Christ and Vermont Avenue Baptist Church are among the churches in this area that date back to the Civil War. Union soldiers at nearby Camp Barker and at the Wisewell Barracks offered protection and assistance for people fleeing slavery, helping to seed a settlement. City Within a City: Greater U Street Heritage Trail Sign 7, 10th and R Sts., NW.
Samuel P. Brown. At the start of the Civil War, Mount Pleasant founder Samuel P. Brown bought 73 acres here from Virginian William Selden, who fled the city. Union soldiers camped on Brown’s land, and a hospital went up at nearby 14th St. and Park Rd. Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail Sign 13, southern edge of Park Road Triangle on Park Rd.
Wisewell Barracks. During the Civil War Union troops camped at Wisewell Barracks and Hospital at Seventh and P Sts., NW. The barracks and hospital have long since given way to the commercial and residential neighborhood. Midcity at the Crossroads: Shaw Heritage Trail Sign 10, Seventh and O Sts., NW.
Fletcher Chapel. This unusual wooden chapel here was completed in 1857 as a mission of the McKendree Methodist Church. Some people believe it was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Midcity at the Crossroads: Shaw Heritage Trail Sign 15, Fourth St. and New York Ave., NW.
Thomas Law House. During the Civil War this was the Mt. Vernon Hotel. Guests – and on occasion President Lincoln – witnessed Union troops embarking for the South nearby from the busy Sixth Street wharf and also the return of stunning numbers of wounded. The Thomas Law House is now preserved as part of the Tiber Island development. River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail Sign 12, south end of Water Street, SW, at turnaround.
Fort Lesley J. McNair. In 1865 four of eight prisoners charged with conspiracy in President Lincoln’s assassination were hanged in Fort McNair’s courtyard. River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail Sign 13, Fourth and P Sts., SW.
Washington’s First Street Railway. The Civil War brought a population boom to Washington, overwhelming it with soldiers, civilians, and supplies that needed to be moved around. In 1862 Congress chartered DC’s first modern (horse-drawn) street railway. One of the first three lines connected Southwest’s wharves here to Florida Ave. River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail Sign 15, northeast corner Fourth and O Sts., SW.
The Military Road. During the Civil War, Grant Road was the southern edge of Fort Reno, and became part of the “military road” linking the city’s ring of forts (today’s Military Road takes a different route). Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail Sign 2, 39th St., Grant Rd., Nebraska Ave. triangle.
Reno City. Because of its elevation, Giles Dyer’s 72-acre farm here was taken by the Union Army in 1861 for Fort Reno, a defensive and observation post. After the war, the land was developed as “Reno City,” a mixed-race (but mostly African American), working-class community. Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail Sign 5, north side of Chesapeake St. between Fort Rd. and Nebraska Ave., NW.
Fort Reno. Cannons from Fort Reno fired on Confederate troops advancing from the north in July 1864, before Union forces defeated them in the Battle of Fort Stevens, three miles east. Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage TrailSign 6, Chesapeake and 40th Sts., NW.
Camp Frieze. Union troops used the wooden Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church (since replaced by Eldbrooke Methodist and now the City Church) as a guard-house, storehouse, hospital, and mess hall during the Civil War. Later two Rhode Island regiments set up Camp Frieze around the church. Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail Sign 9, 4100 block of River Rd., NW.
Grassland. At the time of the Civil War, the area now occupied by NBC studios and the Department of Homeland Security was Nathan Loughborough’s 250-acre estate, Grassland. The enslaved people who ran Grassland were freed when President Lincoln ended slavery in the District in 1862. Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail Sign 16, 3900 block of Nebraska Ave., NW.
Fort Gaines. The area now occupied by Ward Circle and Katzen Arts Center was Civil War-era Fort Gaines, where President Lincoln dined with the French-born commander, Colonel de Troibriand, on the camp’s haute cuisine. Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail Sign 17, 3700 block of Nebraska Ave., NW.
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.