The History Behind Your City: Mt. Pleasant

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Mt. Pleasant is one of the hippest northwest quadrants in Washington D.C. It is lined with historic buildings and canopied by tall trees.

The haphazard neighborhood surrounded by Rock Creek Park on the North and West was actually named the first streetcar development of the District in 1870.

Rich history surrounds Mt. Pleasant and encourages tourists and residents alike to stroll down into the depths of American art and activism.  

Later we encourage you to light up the night and explore the bustling music scene that shines from the southern Adams Morgan nightlife.

 

The Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail

 

Today we invite you to guide your own way through a historical outlay that defines your nation's capital and lines your neighborhood: Mt. Pleasant!

Look for the Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail signs that will take you on this self-guided history exploration to:

 

  • A pre-Civil War country estate.

  • The original homes of musicians Jimmy Dean, Bo Diddley, and Charlie Waller.

  • Senators pitcher Walter Johnson's elegant apartment house.

  • The church where civil rights activist H. Rap Brown spoke in 1967.

  • Mount Pleasant's first bodega.

  • Graceful mansions.

  • The first African American church on 16th Street.

  • The path President Teddy Roosevelt walked down in Rock Creek Park

 

Let’s Begin on 16th Street

learn about 16th street
 

1. The Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail begins on the corner of 16th street at the Kenesaw Apartment Homes which opened in 1906 and set off a firey luxurious apartment scene which housed members of Congress and even the famous Walter Johnson and his family in 1916.

2. Next head down 16th street and stop between Erving and Lamont streets NW where you will find a story of upheaval and activism that took place at Barney Neighborhood house, transformed the Kenesaw apartment homes, and led to the establishment of the Latin American Youth Center in the mid-1970s.

3. Your Next stop is at the Mt. Pleasant library on 16th and Lamont street NW. The Libray was built in 1925. The Classical Architectural was funded by the Carnegie Corporation and continues to be a local watering hole. Head inside for a look at the Animal Circus murals that were funded by President Franklin Roosevelt’s Public Works of Art Program.

4. The Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters founded the Sacred Heart Academy in 1905. The Elegant school house is tucked back from the street at 1621 Park Road. In this section of the tour, you will also find the historic Park Monroe Apartment and the lovely Mary Foote Henderson Mansion which was built in 1920 by George O. Totten.

 

Continue down a Church Cascade

 

check out church cascade
 

5. From 16th to Newton-street NW you parade down an avenue of churches built throughout the 1900s.

6. Take a walk towards Rock Creek Park park where you'll find the prime skinny-dip location used by former President Teddy Roosevelt among nature paths and history footpaths.

7.  Sign number seven of this historical tour is on 1701 Newton Street, keep up with the beat, and take a view of the original Bancroft School built in 1924. A little further down you’ll find the famous Bo Diddley house at 1724 Newton Street where he was caught signing on the front porch on summer nights.

8. On 1818 Newton Street lies the oldest house in Mt. Pleasant! This mansion was built in the 1800s by Thomas Walker, who also constructed portions of our Nations Capital.

 

Follow where Immigration History was Made

 

learn about immigration history

9. Park and Klingle roads NW are historically known as Czech Row. Following the Czchesoslovikian communist coup of 1948 Mt. Pleasant saw an immigration of Czechs to the rowhomes that line these streets.

10. Check out the secluded House of Mercy on the edge of Rock Creek Park on Rosemont Ave and Klingle Road NW! This home provided refuge for young mothers and girls wrapped up in prostitution in the 1920s. They were more progressive than we thought!

11. In 1950 Dr. Robert Dean a prominent gynecologist was the first African American to purchase a home in Mt. Pleasant which you can find at 1841 Park Road.

12. Explore the previous home of country music artist Jimmy Dean on 3303 18th Street along with the residence of other American Bluegrass musicians who spiraled through the row of changing fashions on 18th street and Park Road NW.
 

End with War and Peace Among the Streets

 

war and peace

13. Marking number thirteen represent war and peace in American. You can view the mansion of Samuel P. Brown at 3351 Mt. Pleasant St along with the historical place of Union grounds and hospitals during the Civil War!

14. In 1903 a streetcar line arrived at the North End of Lamont Park NW and deemed Mt. Pleasant the first streetcar neighborhood in the Nations Capital. Here you will find the first spot of historic bakeries from European immigrants that arrived in the 1930s!

15. Streetcars arrived by the old Ingleside Estate on Newton Street. It began with horsedrawn carriages in the 1800s until the first electric streetcar arrived in 1903!

16. In the 1960s a vast Latino presence arrived in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood! The first bodega and the famous Casa Dilone arrived Kilbourne street NW!

17. Your tour ends on the east side of Mt. Pleasant street where you will find an Italianate Apartment building from 1903 and a rich activist history that rocked this area of the Nations Capital in the 1960s and 1990s.

We hope you take a day to enjoy the rich history that surrounds the streets of Mt. Pleasant. And remember to bring the Mt. Pleasant History Tour pamphlet with you to guide your way!

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