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Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
MTPLEA_091129_048.JPG: Francis Asbury
MTPLEA_091129_071.JPG: Here's a small wooden house at 3130 16th Street. From 1927 to 1945 this was the home of John Ernest White, chauffeur to Presidents Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
MTPLEA_091129_083.JPG: The church at 3146 16th Street opened in 1916 as the modest brick Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A decade later the congregation enlarged the building in the Classical style to match the new library and renamed it Francis Asbury Methodist Church. After 40 years, the church followed the majority of its members to the Maryland suburbs, and Meridian Hill Baptist Church relocated here from Adams Morgan.
MTPLEA_091129_115.JPG: (Stop 4) Sacred Heart Academy
16th Street and Park Road NW
Set back from the street at 1621 Park Road is an elegant old house, once the all-girls Sacred Heart Academy. The Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters of Wisconsin founded the academy in 1905 and went on to operate it with Sacred Heart parish, adding a co-ed grade school in 1930. Lay educators took over in the 1990s. In addition, the school housed GALA Hispanic Theatre from 1985 to 2000.
While the school always served diverse nationalities, African Americans were excluded until 1951 . Washington's Catholic schools actually began desegregating in 1949, five years before DC Public Schools.
MTPLEA_091129_204.JPG: (Stop 6) Village Life
17th Street and Oakwood Terrace NW
Seventeenth Street was the original western edge of Samuel P. Brown's Mount Pleasant Village. At 3423 Oakwood Terrace is "Oakwood," an original village house built in 1871 for city politician J.W. Buker. Brown sold lots from 17th Street east to today's 14th Street, reserving the land west of 17th Street for his family estate.
Early villagers established the Mount Pleasant Assembly to discuss the issues of the day and address community concerns. They organized an omnibus company, which ran a horse-drawn coach from 14th Street and Park Road to the Treasury Department downtown in the morning and back in the evening. The Assembly also built Union Hall on Newton Street for meetings, worship services, and parties, and a four-room school on Hiatt Place.
In 1883 Samuel Brown's son Chapin began subdividing the family estate as well. You'll see the subdivision's first house -- 1701 Newton Street -- as you walk to Sign 7.
Even before the National Zoo was founded in 1889, and Rock Creek Park was set aside in 1890, the wild woodlands bordering the village were a happy part of daily life. The young sons of developer Luther Fristoe and his wife Caroline, who moved here in 1887, often played at the creek and the zoo. Others came from farther away: Theodore Roosevelt, president from 1901 to 1909, rode horseback, hiked, and even skinny-dipped in Rock Creek Park. He arrived so often via 17th Street that Washingtonians dubbed it the Roosevelt Entrance.
MTPLEA_091129_218.JPG: (Stop 7) Twenty-seven Little Flags
Newton and 18th streets NW
Just like Mount Pleasant, Bancroft School is known for its ethnic and racial diversity. "At one of the spring fairs in the early 1970s, we asked people to bring native dishes, and I bought 27 different little flags to mark the food," parent Gloria Mitchell remembered.
The original eight-room Bancroft Elementary School was built on this corner in 1924, after a building boom added hundreds of rowhouses to Mount Pleasant. On the day it opened, Bancroft was already too small. Nine years later a new 17-room wing stretched down Newton Street, soon followed by an auditorium and main entry. The school honors George Bancroft (1800–1891), a historian, former secretary of the Navy, and founder of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. About 1970, Mount Pleasant Neighbors Association launched a neighborhood festival on the Bancroft playground, and dozens of other community events have enjoyed the school's accommodations.
In the summer of 1962, R&B star Bo Diddley lived with his wife Kay and baby Terri in an apartment at 1724 Newton Street, across from Bancroft School. The neighborhood's central location, affordable rents, and nearby music clubs on Mt. Pleasant and 14th streets all attracted artists and rising performers. Diddley connected with some neighborhood teenagers whom he'd heard "singing on the corner -- at least we thought we were singing," recalled former area resident Arthur Wong. "He encouraged us" and invited the boys to talk music and occasionally ride in his red Lincoln Continental convertible. It was an experience they never forgot.
MTPLEA_091129_251.JPG: (Stop 8) The Oldest House
Newton Street between 18th and 19th streets NW
Ingleside, the grand house at 1818 Newton Street, once anchored a 139-acre estate. Thomas Ustick Walter (1804–1887), architect of portions of the U.S. Capitol, designed Ingleside in 1851. Today it is Mount Pleasant's oldest structure.
New York Congressman Hiram Walbridge bought Ingleside in 1854, and his family kept it for more than 30 years. Among the estate's residents were Hiram's stepdaughter Helen and her attorney husband, George Corkhill, known to history as the man who prosecuted President James Garfield's assassin in 1881.
The Walbridge heirs sold the house and some acreage in 1889. When Frank Noyes, the powerful editor of Washington's most important newspaper, the Evening Star, bought the house, an alley ran where the front lawn had been. So Noyes switched the front of the house for the back. Later the Presbyterian Home for Aged Women and then Stoddard Baptist Home occupied Ingleside.
MTPLEA_091129_295.JPG: (Stop 9) Czech Row
Park and Klingle Roads NW
Like the Latino immigrants of recent times, Europeans left the political and economic hardships of home for a better life in the United States. Following the 1948 communist coup in Czechoslovakia, an enclave known as "Czech Row" (or "Prague Road") developed in the 2000 block of Park Road. Among its exiles were a four-star general and a former ambassador to Turkey. American Sokol, an offshoot of a Czech fitness movement, offered activities for all neighborhood children. Sokol had particular meaning for Czech expatriates as it was banned in Czechoslovakia during both the Nazi and communist eras.
Czech Row's residents reveled in their tall trees and lush views of the park, recalled Dagmar HasalovaWhite, the general's daughter. Other European newcomers found a touch of home in this setting. Women from Armenia and Greece made stuffed grape leaves from vines in the alley behind nearby Irving Street, recalled former neighbors Mike Najarian and Bill Katopothis. Ruby Pelecanos, who lived on Irving Street in the 1940s, recalled the other Greek families living nearby who attended "Greek School" at St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Church. Ruby's father immigrated to Washington in 1908 and operated a number of small restaurants downtown and in Chevy Chase. Her son George grew up to write thrillers set in Washington.
During the 1960s, Mount Pleasant, like Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, offered affordable housing that appealed to political activists, artists, and unconventional family groups. Blue Skies, a group house devoted to anti-war work and social justice, owned and occupied 1910 Park Road in the early 1970s.
MTPLEA_091129_299.JPG: (Stop 10) Voices at Vespers
Rosemount Avenue and Klingle Road NW
This secluded building on the edge of Rock Creek Park was built as the House of Mercy. It provided, as its founders wrote, a "refuge and reformatory for outcast and fallen women," especially unwed mothers and girls entangled in prostitution. The home, a mission of St. John's Episcopal Church, trained the young women in domestic skills to prepare them to earn an honest living. Neighbors remembered seeing groups of expectant mothers taking walks in the neighborhood. "At 4 pm every afternoon, the girls would sing at vespers," recalled Honora Thompson, who grew up nearby. "Their voices were lovely."
By 1972 the maternity home had closed, and the facility became the bilingual Rosemount Center/El Centro Rosemount, offering early childhood education and family support. The new name honors the old "Rosemount" estate. Its manor house, once located in the trees beyond Rosemount Center, was demolished around 1890 as Rock Creek Park was created.
MTPLEA_091129_397.JPG: (Stop 11) Defying the Restrictive Covenants
Park Road between 18th and 19th Streets NW
In 1948 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of houses to individuals of certain races or ethnicities could not be enforced. Two years later, Dr. Robert Deane became the first African American to purchase a house in Mount Pleasant that carried the old covenant. But it wasn't easy.
The Deanes bought 1841 Park Road from Lillian Kraemer Curry. Curry had inherited the house, built in 1906, from her father Charles Kraemer, a German immigrant wine and spirits merchant. In the 1920s the all-white Mount Pleasant Citizens Association began promoting a covenant binding homeowners never to sell their houses to "negroes." Kraemer and most of his neighbors signed it. Even though the Supreme Court had outlawed this practice when Kraemer's daughter sold the house to the prominent black gynecologist in 1950, a small group of neighbors sued to stop the sale based on the old covenant. The neighbors lost in court, and Dr. Deane owned the house until his death in 2001.
Although 1841 remained a single-family home, beginning in the 1930s housing shortages and tight budgets led some families to take in boarders. During the 1950s, Malvina Brown's Armenianborn parents rented rooms in their Park Road home to newcomers from Greece, Mexico, Turkey, and Venezuela.
MTPLEA_091129_430.JPG: (Stop 12) Changing Fashions
18th Street and Park Road NW
Around 1900 this successful suburb attracted successful business leaders, who set a grand standard for home building. Printer Byron S. Adams commissioned architect Frederick Pyle to design 1801 Park Road in the Colonial Revival style. Pyle also contributed 3303 18th Street, and developer Lewis Breuninger built 1770 Park Road for his family. Completing the luxurious landscape was the large house at 1802 Park Road (since demolished). This enclave was short-lived, however.
During the Great Depression of 1929–1941, the houses at 1801 and 1802 Park Road became homes for the elderly. At mid-century, 3303 18th Street became a rooming house. Twenty years later, social service providers operated from dozens of Mount Pleasant's houses, large and small. More recently some of these well-built, convenient buildings have gone back to single-family use by people of means returning to in-town living.
MTPLEA_091129_474.JPG: (Stop 13) War and Peace
Triangle Park: Park Road and Mt. Pleasant Street NW
The mansion of Samuel P. Brown, Mount Pleasant's founder, once stood at 3351 Mt. Pleasant Street. During the Civil War, Brown bought 73 acres here from William Selden, a former U.S. treasurer. Selden believed the Confederacy would win the war, so he sold off his holdings and retreated home to Virginia. Brown planned to sell Selden's land as building lots once peace arrived.
As the war raged (1861–1865), Union camps and hospitals filled these hilltops. Brown regularly hosted convalescents from Maine, where he had been a state legislator.
The Union's wartime occupation of Washington left the city in terrible shape. Congress debated moving the nation's capital to St. Louis or another heartland location. Fortunately, after Alexander "Boss" Shepherd's Board of Public Works rebuilt and improved the city, the government decided to stay. Well-connected land speculators such as Brown, who was also a member of the Board of Public Works, profited as a result.
In 1906 a group of neighbors purchased this triangle in order to stop commercial construction here. The group then sold the property to the city for use as a public park. In the process they also revived the Mount Pleasant Citizens Association to bring community concerns to the three presidentially appointed commissioners then governing Washington, DC.
During the early 1960s, the triangle park was a favorite hangout for area teenagers. "You could always find your friends there or at the Argyle drug store," recalled former resident Bob Sciandra.
Wikipedia Description: Mount Pleasant, Washington, D.C.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mount Pleasant is a neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., capital of the United States. The neighborhood is bounded by 16th Street, NW and the Columbia Heights neighborhood to the east, Rock Creek Park to the north and west, and Harvard Street, NW and the Adams Morgan neighborhood to the south. The neighborhood is home to approximately twelve thousand people, or about 2% of D.C.'s population. Today, Mount Pleasant is a diverse community of affluent people, middle class wage earners, working class people, and immigrants.
In 1727, Charles Calvert, 5th Lord Baltimore (then governor of the Maryland Colony) awarded a land grant for present day Mount Pleasant to James Holmead. This estate also included the present-day Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Park View, and Pleasant Plains neighborhoods. James's son, Anthony, inherited the estate in 1750 and named it Pleasant Plains. After the United States Congress created the District of Columbia in 1791, Pleasant Plains estate became part of Washington County, a section of the District lying between what is now Florida Avenue and the Maryland border. The Holmeads began selling tracts of the Pleasant Plains estate until they had sold everything. Today, the family name is preserved in Holmead Place, a short street located west of 13th Street between Spring and Park Roads NW, in what is now Columbia Heights.
During the Civil War, New England native Samuel P. Brown purchased 73 acres (300,000 m2) of land between 14th and 17th Streets, NW. Brown built a house and allowed a wartime hospital to be constructed on his land. After the War, he began selling his land in parcels, and called it Mount Pleasant Village because the area was the highest elevation land in the original Pleasant Plains estate. Brown sold all his land until all he retained was the land around his house at 3351 Mount Pleasant Street, NW . His house was demolished in the 1890s.
Most of the original settlers built wooden frame houses and farmed their tracts, growing their own food. Stores and other businesses opened around what is today the intersection of 14th Street and Park Road, NW. Although Mount Pleasant was within the District of Columbia, it was separated from the City of Washington by vacant land and was rural by comparison. Settlers laid out early roads such as Adams Mill Road, Mount Pleasant Street, Newton Street, and Park Road, to follow local custom and to accommodate local needs and land ownership. Since Mount Pleasant's street grid is distinct from the city's cartesian grid, some of its streets appear to have been laid haphazardly, with several intersecting city streets at odd or severe angles.
In the 1870s, a horse-drawn streetcar began traveling from the 14th and Park intersection to downtown Washington City, creating the first streetcar suburb in the District of Columbia. Mount Pleasant ceased to be an independent and separate place in 1878 after the city's boundaries became coterminous with those of the District. Mount Pleasant developed rapidly as a streetcar suburb after the opening of the streetcar line around 1900. Many houses and apartment buildings were constructed between 1900 and 1925. In 1925, the District built the Mount Pleasant Library funded by Andrew Carnegie to serve the growing community. Mount Pleasant was marketed to middle to upper middle class people. Actress Helen Hayes, Washington Senators' pitcher Walter Johnson, and US Senator Robert LaFollette made their homes in Mount Pleasant.
Queen Anne Style row houses in Mount Pleasant
The neighborhood entered a period of transition in the 1950s. Mount Pleasant was racially segregated like most of Washington, D.C. at the time. When an African American Howard University professor moved into a prestigious Park Road home, some white residents began to leave the neighborhood. This form of suburbanization, often referred to as White flight, continued after the 1968 riots. Affluent professionals began returning to the neighborhood in the early 1980s. According to the Washingtonian magazine, housing prices rose nearly as fast as any area of metropolitan Washington. Many homes were renovated, and some projects were featured in local and national magazines. A one million dollar "green" renovation was featured in a National Public Radio story.
Spanish speaking immigrants began settling in Mount Pleasant in the 1960s, many from El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Businesses catering to Hispanics and Latinos developed along Mount Pleasant Street. In 1991, an incident between a police officer and a Latino led to rioting along Mt. Pleasant Street. As a result, the Metropolitan Police Department began to engage in an outreach effort to the Latino population. Since then, many Latino immigrants have moved to more affordable D.C. neighborhoods east of Mount Pleasant, and in the suburbs.
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