UPDATED Walking Tour for D.C.'s Big Read

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The 2009 BIG READ – D.C.

Walking Tour Guide The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts presented in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. For information visit www.neabigread.org. 2009 BIG READ – D.C. COMMUNITY PARTNERS Barnes & Noble Booksellers Busboys and Poets Capitol Hill Chorale Chapters Literary Arts Center Cultural Tourism DC District of Columbia Public Library DC Central Kitchen DC WritersCorps, Inc. District of Columbia Public Schools Gallaudet University Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Levine School of Music Literacy Volunteers and Advocates PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools SpeakeasyDC Washington DC Jewish Community Center

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: The Humanities Council of Washington, DC 925 U Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 Tel. (202) 387-8391 Fax. (202) 387-8149 www.wdchumanities.org www.dcbigread.blogspot.com dcbigread@wdchumanities.org



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For More Info, visit www.wdchumanities.org/bigread

01. DAR Constitution Hall

05. Former home of

311 18th Street NW

Jacob Baker

07. The White House

the U.S. Court of Appeals for

This tour of the Foggy Bottom and Downtown neighborhoods surrounding the White

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

the Federal Circuit)

House gives us the opportunity to see the Federal core of Washington with new eyes, as

08. Lafayette Square

12. Site of the McLean Mansion

Park Central Apartments, 1900 02. Dept. of the Interior

F Street NW, Apt. 903 (Now

1849 C Street NW

the Mabel Nelson Thurston 09. St. John’s Episcopal Church


1525 H Street NW

19th Streets NW

06. Site of the Department

10. Site of the Belasco Theater

04. Site of the

1712 G Street NW (now the U.S.

E Street between 18th and

Walker-Johnson Building

811 Vermont Avenue NW) 13. AFL-CIO Offices 815 16th Street NW

717 Madison Place NW

of Labor

1734 New York Avenue NW

in the novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

(now the Import-Export Bank at

Hall at The George Washington 03. Rawlins Park

we imagine how it looked during the Great Depression. This is the time period explored

(now the U.S. Court of Claims)

Office of Thrift Supervision, at

14. St. Regis Hotel 923 16th Street NW

1700 G Street NW)

11. Dolley Madison House

(Now the United Unions Building)

721 Madison Place NW (now


Take Metro to the Farragut West or Farragut North

and a Registered National Historic Landmark. First

station, then transfer to the 80 bus toward the

Lady Grace Coolidge laid the cornerstone, and

Kennedy Center, and get off at the intersection of

First Lady Lou Hoover was the guest speaker at

19th Street and Virginia Avenue NW. Go east on

the formal dedication. The hall was designed by

C Street.

John Russell Pope in a Neoclassical style, and

1. DAR Constitution Hall, 311 18th Street NW

constructed of Alabama limestone.

At one time this was a segregated performance space that refused permission to Marian Ander13 12 9 11 8

son to perform in 1939. Although the Hall later

2. Dept. of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW

reversed their policy (and Anderson performed

This was the office of Harold L. Ickes, Secretary

there in 1942), the reputation of the institution

of the Interior from 1933 to 1946. When Marian

was permanently affected. Built in 1929, this is

Anderson was refused permission to per form at

D.C.’s largest concert hall (seating 3,702 people),


Retrace your steps, traveling west on C Street.

the DAR, Eleanor Roosevelt helped to arrange a per formance at the Lincoln Memorial instead, with a VIP evening per formance in the auditorium at this location, attended by President Roosevelt

6 7



Robert Scurlock (April 9, 1939) Marian Anderson At Lincoln Memorial. PHOTO CREDIT: Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center. National Museum of American Histor y, Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution. COVER:

Anderson With Eleanor Roosevelt. PHOTO CREDIT: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. RIGHT:


and the First Lady. This is an important location in deaf history as well. From its founding until 1940, Gallaudet University, originally established as the Columbia Institute for the Deaf, was administered by the Department of the Interior, and so in the 1930s the school’s Board of Directors reported directly to Harold Ickes. This handsome building, constructed of Indiana limestone, covers five acres on a two-block site,



and was built in 1936 as the first Public Works Administration project in Washington, designed by architect Waddy B. Wood (with a great deal of design input from Ickes himself). This was the first Federal building to have a central vacuum cleaning system, and one of the earliest to be air-conditioned and to include escalators and

The 2009 Big Read – D.C. Walking Tour Guide

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an underground parking garage. The building

Continue west on C Street to the corner, where C,

includes a Museum, Indian Craft Shop, audito-

Virginia, and 19th Street intersect. Turn right on

rium, librar y, post office and gym. It originally

19th Street and walk around the Interior Building

included a broadcasting station and ice cream

to E Street.

shop as well. The Museum and Indian Craft Shop are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and the third Saturday of the month from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Admission is free. The museum’s dioramas and many of the paintings date from the 1930s. The collection features displays on gems and minerals, mapping, conservation, wildlife refuges, land reclamation and more. Also on the first floor, just past the Craft Shop, don’t miss two terrific bas-relief New Deal sculptures of a bison family and moose family sculpted in Missouri marble by Boris Gilbertson. Plan to spend at least an hour inside the building. Visitors can take self-guided tours of select areas of the building and the museum during public hours without appointment. Please note that the cafeteria, normally open to the public, is currently closed for renovation. For guided tours of the building, including New Deal art works that are not in public areas, reservations must be made at least one week in advance, by calling (202) 208-4743.

3. Rawlins Park, E Street between 18th and 19th Streets NW

This lovely little oasis, built in 1938, includes a reflecting pool and walkways. The statue (sculpted by Joseph A. Bailey in 1874 out of metal from a Civil War cannon), commemorates Major General John A. Rawlins of the Union Army. This park is typical of the Work Progress Administration projects that rehabilitated parks throughout the U.S. The WPA ran a large number of works programs in Washington. Workers were hired to create or make improvements not only to parks, but also schools, roads, sewers, libraries, streetlights, bridges, sports and recreation facilities, and hospitals. White-collar workers were hired to reorganize the holdings of the D.C. Recorder of Deeds, and compile inventories of other unpublished government documents. Teachers were hired to provide free adult education classes (in literacy skills, job skills, health and home economics, Spanish language, and music), run nursery schools, and provide home visits for disabled students. The Washington Daily News reported

Cross the park, and turn right onto E Street, then

became a taunt; WPA, said its critics, stood for

that in January 1936, 35,530 people (7.3% of

bear left onto New York Avenue

‘We Piddle Around.’”

D.C.’s total population) worked

4. Site of the Walker-Johnson Building, 1734 New York

for the WPA, three-fourths of

Avenue NW (Now the United Unions Building)

whom were of African descent. Workers were hired at four skill levels, with unskilled workers receiving pay of $45 per month, semi-skilled or intermediate workers getting $58, skilled getting $72, and professional/ technical workers at the highest rate of $79 per month.

Henry Salem Hubbell (c. 1934) Official Portrait Of Secretary Harold L. Ickes. Oil on masonite. PHOTO CREDIT: Interior Museum, U.S. Department of the Interior, INTR 1636. OPPOSITE ABOVE:

In addition, D.C. was the site of a Civilian Conser vation


Rawlins Park. of Congress.


Corps (CCC) camp at Fort Dupont in the Anacostia neighborhood. Two hundred men

Walker-Johnson Building. PHOTO CREDIT: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. ABOVE:

A former building on this site held the 10th floor

tion of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron

offices of the Federal Emergency Relief Adminis-

Workers; the International Association of Fire

tration. The first direct-relief operation under the

Fighters; the International Brotherhood of Paint-

New Deal, FERA was headed by Harry L. Hopkins,

ers and Allied Trades of the United States and

one of Roosevelt’s most influential advisors. FERA

Canada; the Sheet Metal Workers’ International

provided work for over 20 million people, making

Association; and the United Union of Roofers,

it the largest employer in the country. Hopkins

Waterproofers, and Allied Workers.

also ran the Civil Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration, and started the National Youth Administration and Federal One programs for artists and writers. According to American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, When FDR Put the Nation to

between the ages of 18 and 25

Work, by Nick Taylor (Bantam Books, 2008): “The

were hired for six-month peri-

WPA lasted for eight years. Its accomplishments

ods, living in tents and wooden

were enormous, yet during its lifetime it was the

barracks, and working to clean

most excoriated program of the entire New Deal.

debris, do forestr y work, and

Its workers were mocked as shiftless shovel

build trails on parklands and at

leaners. Its projects gave rise to a mocking new

the National Arboretum.

word: ‘boondoggles.’ Red-baiting congressmen called it a hotbed of Communists. Its very initials

The 2009 Big Read – D.C. Walking Tour Guide

The United Unions building is home to several trade unions, including: the International Associa-

Note the historic Octagon House, built between 1799 and 1801, across the street. In the 1930s, the scale of this neighborhood began to change from smaller residential buildings such as this to the large government buildings you see dominating the area today. In the 30s, the Octagon House ser ved as the Office of Public Works’ Model Shop, where a group of workers, led by Bertrand L. Keyes, made scale models of public housing projects throughout the U.S. (including our own Langston Terrace in the Kingman Park neighborhood of northeast D.C.). The Octagon House, the oldest museum in the countr y

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devoted to architecture and design, is admin-

Perkins helped write national minimum-wage laws,

At the end of the block, turn left onto 17th Street,

istered by the American Institute of Architects,

created the Division of Labor Standards, and pro-

and right onto Pennsylvania Avenue.

whose offices are in the soaring modern building

moted the Wagner Act, which sanctioned the right

behind the museum.

of workers to organize and bargain collectively. Her greatest accomplishment was the development

Backtrack to Rawlins Park and turn right onto 19th Street. Head north for one block. 5. Former home of Jacob Baker, Park Central Apartments, 1900 F Street NW, Apt. 903 (Now the Mabel Nelson Thurston Hall at The George Washington University)

7. The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW This mansion was home to Franklin Delano

of the Social Security Act of 1935. Perkins firmly

Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945, while serving as

believed that a pension system was a humanitar-

the thirty-second U.S. President. When Roosevelt

ian imperative that would help prevent future eco-

was elected, there was an unemployment rate of

nomic depressions. She worked in a Department

twenty-five percent. Speaking at the Democratic

of Labor Building on this site until 1935, when

Convention, he stated: “What do the people of

she moved to new offices in the Federal Triangle.

America want more than anything else? To my

Working under Harr y Hopkins, Baker headed the

(The current Department of Labor Building, at 200

mind, they want two things: work, with all the

Division of Professional and Ser vice Projects,

Constitution Avenue NW, was named for Perkins in

moral and spiritual values that go with it, and with

which designed work programs for white-collar

1980, to honor the one hundredth anniversary of

work, a reasonable measure of security--security

her birth.)

for themselves and for their wives and children.

workers. His most famous program was Federal One, the WPA arts projects. These included

According to Daily Life in the United States, 1920-

Work and security--these are more than words. They are more than facts. They are the...true goal

programs in the visual and graphic arts, music

1940: How Americans Lived Through the Roaring

programs, the Writer’s Project (which produced

Twenties and the Great Depression, by David Kyvig

the extremely popular American Guides to each

(Ivan R. Dee, 2004): “By 1932 an estimated 28

lead...I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal

to which our efforts at reconstruction should

state), and the Theater Program, which operated

percent of the nation’s households, containing

for the American people....This is more than a po-

in 31 states (with African American companies

34 million people, did not have a single employed

litical campaign. It is a call to arms. Give me your

in eleven cities, Yiddish companies in two

wage earner...even when jobs did not disappear

help, not to win votes alone, but to win in this

states, and a Spanish-language company in

altogether, working hours and wages were often re-

crusade to restore America to its own people.”

Tampa, Florida).

duced. By 1933 Americans overall had 54 percent

In Roosevelt’s first hundred days in office, he

as much income as in 1929. Furthermore, almost

signed emergency banking legislation, regulated

Note the fine Art Deco details over the front entrance of this building, constructed in 1930.

everyone knew of someone who had been ren-

new securities issued on Wall Street, provided

Art Deco and Art Moderne styles became popular

dered completely destitute. The immensity of the

mortgage protection for small homeowners,

motifs on new, sophisticated, urban architecture

Great Depression caused virtually every American

separated commercial from investment banking,

to feel personally vulnerable.”

insured private savings accounts, and took the

beginning in the 1920s. The building, purchased

de Lafayette, the French general who fought in the American Revolution. Note the sculpture in the southwest corner of the park of Major General Comte Jean de Rochambeau. Rochambeau was sculpted by J.J. Fernand Hamar, a French artist, deaf from birth, who stud-

country off the gold standard. This was a time

dormitory, with 1,116 residents. The university

of unprecedented activism and experimentation

changed the name to honor its first female

in government that resulted in fifteen major new

undergraduate, who enrolled in 1888 at Colum-

pieces of legislation, including the establishment

bian University, which later became The George

of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the National

Washington University.

Industrial Recovery Act.

Frances Perkins. Social Security Online.

Go east on F Street one block to 18th Street and

made a number of changes to the complex,

has worshipped at this 193-year-old church,

turn left. Go north on 18th Street one block and

building the east wing and adding to the west,

occupying pew 54, the “president’s pew,” in

The White House. Library of Congress.

turn right onto G Street. Continue to the end of

where he had the now iconic Oval Office built.

the middle of the congregation. It was here,

the block.

FDR conducted his radio broadcasts, known as

in 1933, that President Roosevelt star ted the


four Revolutionar y War heroes of foreign birth, in the 1930s. It was named to honor the Marquis

in 1963 by the university, is now the freshman

Roosevelt, the mansion’s longest resident, ABOVE:

laid out in its current configuration, with large statues commemorating Andrew Jackson and


St. John’s Episcopal Church. Robert Lautman.


6. Site of the Department of Labor, 1712 G Street NW (now the U.S. Office of Thrift Super vision, at 1700 G Street NW)

“Fireside Chats” from the mansion’s Diplomatic Reception Room. Ever y U.S. President since Abraham Lincoln has ser ved as Patron of Gallaudet. All diplo-

ied at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris. Hamar traveled to D.C. for the unveiling in 1902. Cross the park to H Street at 16th Street. 9. St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1525 H Street NW Since James Madison, ever y U.S. President

tradition of attending worship ser vices prior to taking the oath of office at Inauguration festivities at the Capitol, a tradition followed most recently by President Barack Obama. (Not

Frances Perkins served as Secretary of Labor

mas of Gallaudet graduates are signed by the

from 1933 to 1945, the first woman appointed to

ever y president since Roosevelt has held his

ser ving President.

Inaugural morning ser vice in this par ticular

8. Lafayette Square

The church was designed by Benjamin Henr y

This famous seven-acre park has been used

Latrobe (who was also responsible for the

the U.S. Cabinet. Of that milestone, Perkins wrote, “The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats.”

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church, but many have chosen St. John’s.)

as a slave market, a racetrack, a graveyard, an

rebuilding of the White House and Capitol after

encampment for soldiers during the War of 1812,

they were burned during the War of 1812), and

a zoo (established by President Grant), and the

is a national historic landmark.

site of innumerable political protests. It was

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Turn right on H Street. Walk one block and turn right on Madison Place. 10. Site of the Belasco Theater, 717 Madison Place NW (now the U.S. Court of Claims)

The Belasco Theater was originally constructed as The Lafayette Square Opera House, but by the early years of the Depression, it was converted into a movie house by owner David Belasco. Lavish gilded plasterwork and other architectural details were retained. African-American patrons were admitted throughout the 1930s, but only into segregated balcony seating. The Belasco was the site of a magic show benefit in 1937 to fund the Citizens’ Emergency Committee for Feeding of Hungr y School Children after federal funds for the hot lunch program ran out. The program, administered by the WPA, was par t of a national effor t to address child malnutrition. When it was taken over by the local Citizens’ Emergency Committee, fundraising drives were conducted by local newspapers, police, firemen and others. The group raised $100,000 to feed over 5,000 children for a year, mostly in small donations. At that time, 7 cents provided one hot lunch, and $13 would feed a schoolchild for a year.

11. Dolley Madison House, 721 Madison Place NW (now

little woman who believed and publicly stated her

the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit)

conviction that ‘the theatre is more than a private

club for white men. One of the Club founders was Edward Miner Gallaudet (who also served as the Club’s fifth president). Gallaudet was the first

Dolley Madison House. PHOTO CREDIT: Library of Congress. RIGHT:

principal of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf, which would later be renamed Gallaudet College to honor him. He served as principal for 46 years, from 1864 to 1910. While a student at Howard University in the 1920s, Zora Neale Hurston briefly worked here at the Cosmos Club as a waitress. Continue northeast onto Vermont Avenue. 12. Site of the McLean Mansion, (now the Import-Export Bank at 811 Vermont Avenue NW)

The 2009 Big Read – D.C. Walking Tour Guide

Hallie Flanagan headed the theater program. She was described by John Houseman as “a wild

Cosmos Club, in the 1930s an exclusive private

Interior (President’s Box) Of The Belasco Theater. PHOTO CREDIT: Library of Congress.

I Street.)

Retrace your steps north on Madison Place.

This historic house was the former location of the


that time, the entrance would have been at 1500

enterprise; it is also a public interest which, properly fostered, might come to be a social and educative force.’” Holger Cahill, an immigrant from Iceland, led the Art Project, which placed paintings, murals, sculpture, and graphic arts in public buildings throughout the country. In D.C., visual artists created murals for three high schools (McKinley, Eastern, and Roosevelt), frescos at the Red Cross headquarters, and paintings for the National Zoo’s reptile and lion houses, among other locations. Cahill was quoted in The Washington Post in 1935, saying, “Our program is based on the assumption that the people are entitled to America’s best in art.” Another immigrant, Russian-born Nikolai Sokoloff, led the Music Project, which offered concerts

Federal One offices, the government-sponsored

and classes. Although he did include some

arts initiatives, were located in the mansion on

programs of folk music, he was known for his firm

this site in the mid-1930s, and administrators

conviction that classical music, above all other

described working at government-issue desks

forms, would enlighten audiences. Henry Alsberg

underneath elaborate cr ystal chandeliers. (At

led the Writers’ Project, and was deeply respected,

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despite his perennially rumpled appearance. WPA

Haiti, Iran, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands,

Writers produced guidebooks, brochures, pam-

Peru, Spain, Turkey, the Union of Soviet Socialist

phlets, articles, and ran oral history projects.

Republics, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia.

The huge mansion that was once here was built

In the mid-30s, Hull, ordinarily known as a

by John R. McLean, the publisher of the Wash-

quiet, dignified man, got in a fistfight in the

ington Post, and his wife, Evalyn Walsh McLean,

lobby with Massachusetts Congressman George

owner of the Hope Diamond. Throughout the

Holden Tinkham, a strong critic of the Roosevelt

1920s, the McLeans gave lavish parties in the

administration, and the two had to be separated

elaborate ballroom, until their profligate ways and

by hotel security.

the stock market crash forced them to declare bankruptcy in 1933. The mansion was razed in 1939 to create the Import-Export Bank.

In addition to his role in the formation of the U.N., Hull is noted for his work to lower trade barriers, successfully negotiating reciprocal trade agreements with twenty-two nations; develop-

At the end of the block turn left on I Street and go

ing friendly relations with Latin America through

one block.

the Good Neighbor Policy; and convening peace

13. AFL-CIO Offices, 815 16th Street NW The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the U.S., representing more than 10 million workers. The American Federation of Labor was founded in 1886, and the Congress of Industrial Organizations was formed in 1935; both federations grew rapidly during the Great Depression. When the two merged in 1955, the headquarters moved to this location. Turn right onto 16th Street and go one block. 14. St. Regis Hotel, 923 16th Street NW This stylish hotel, recently restored, opened in 1926. Designed by architect Mihran Mesrobian in an Italianate style, this was formerly known as the Carlton Hotel, and home to Cordell Hull throughout the 1930s. Hull was the longest-serving Secretary of State (serving eleven years under Franklin Delano Roosevelt), and a winner of the 1945 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in establishing the United Nations. The New York Times reported on a large diplomatic dinner Hull and his wife held in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom (now known as the Astor Ballroom) in February 1936. Guests included Ambassadors, Ministers, and Charges d’Affairs of Belgium, Bulgaria, Columbia,

negotiations (ultimately unsuccessful) between Japan and China. He dedicated his life to politics, marrying late (at age 46) and having no children. The hotel lobby, with its ornate ceilings and Louis XVI chandeliers, is original, as are the Astor Ballroom and the restaurant. The hotel has 175 rooms and suites, and was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge. Since that time, every U.S. President has stayed at the hotel or attended an event there. The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. Hull wrote in his memoirs, “I am firmly convinced that in the world of today all nations will be forced to the conclusion that cooperation for law, justice, and peace is the only alternative to a constant race in armaments--including atomic armaments...I am convinced that the horizons of achievement still stretch before us like the unending Plains. And no achievement can be higher than that of working in harmony with other nations so that the lash of war may be lifted from our backs and a peace of lasting friendship descend upon us.” Go two blocks west on K Street to the Farragut West Metro and Farragut North Metro stations, on either side of Farragut Square.

Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, St. Regis Hotel Lobby. PHOTO CREDIT: Library of Congress.

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employed women to make garments distributed by the Public Assistance Division. In 1935,

Human Ser vices Department of the Interior

2,230 women in D.C. were

Department of Justice

employed, knitting, sewing, and

Federal Trade Commission

making alterations for a salary of $46.80 per month.

Government Printing Office National Zoo

Major Buildings Constructed

Recorder of Deeds Building

During the Great Depression in

State Department Building

Washington, DC:

Many individual pieces are in the

Folger Shakespeare Library

collections of the National Portrait


Gallery and Museum of American

Commerce Dept. Building

Art, Smithsonian Institution

(1932) New Deal Architecture in the

U.S. Botanic Garden (1933)

Greater DC Region:

Longwor th House Office Building (1933)

Chapel at Arlington National

Ariel Rios Building, Federal


Triangle (1934)

Town of Greenbelt, MD

Justice Dept. Building (1934)

Ronald Reagan National Airport

U.S. Supreme Court (1935) Franklin Roosevelt Wth Ruthie Bie in 1941. PHOTO CREDIT: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library.

Gallaudet Univerity, Showing College Hall, Chapel Hall, And Fowler Hall. PHOTO CREDIT: Gallaudet University Archives.

U.S. Customs Building (1935)

According to the 1935

Internal Revenue Ser vice Build-

Washington, DC City Directory:

ing (1935)

Population: 486,869

National Archives and Records Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memo-

The leading institution in the

response to the 19th Amend-

great place to explore the First

premiere African American

when the first public hospital,

rial, West Potomac Park

world for liberal education

ment granting women the right

Lady’s legacy. Highlights include

photography studio in the U.S.,

the Washington Asylum, was

Built in 1997, this National

and career development for

to vote, has been at this loca-

a comprehensive electronic

including many from the 1930s.

located here in 1846. Later,

Park Service site was designed by Lawrence Halpern and incorporates sculptural works by prominent American artists Leonard Baskin, Neil Estern, Robert Graham, Thomas Hardy, and George Segal. Arranged in a series of open-air rooms, each corresponding to a term in office, this is an excellent way to learn more about one of our most influential presidents. Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE, Trinidad Neighborhood

Hotels: 120, with a total of

15, 2009.

of Congress in 1864. Guided

public by appointment, their col-

correspondence, and speeches.

tours can be arranged on

lections include a terrific exhibit

A section is also devoted to les-

D.C. General Hospital, 1900

building was erected in 1922,

weekdays by emailing visitors.

of photos of Eleanor Roosevelt,

son plans for educators. http://

Massachusetts Avenue SE,

and closed to the public amidst

center@gallaudet.edu (hear-

a charter member, in a room off


Stadium-Armory Neighborhood

ing visitors must request a

the library. Call (202) 232-7363,

translator). Self-guided tours

ext. 3003 to request a tour.

pointment necessar y. Eleanor Roosevelt Exhibit, Women’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Dupont Circle Neighborhood The Club, founded in 1922 in

The 2009 Big Read – D.C. Walking Tour Guide

Washington: Picturing the PromEleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at

ise,” exhibition, National Museum

The George Washington University

of American History, 14th Street

Preserving Eleanor Roosevelt’s writings, radio, and TV ap-

and Constitution Avenue NW, on the National Mall

and crematory. The current

Hospital. The WPA hired workers at this site to do landscaping, painting, and janitorial work. In addition, this was the site of several training programs in

Newspapers: 6 dailies and 15

Federal Reserve Board (1937)

On display through November

umns, as well as other articles,

are also available with no ap-


Interior Department (1936)

hospital, quarantine station,

edition of her “My Day” col-

House since 1927. Open to the

known as Gallinger Municipal

Churches: 483, representing 34

this was the site of a smallpox

tion in the historic Whittemore

dents was founded by an Act

“The Scurlock Studio and Black

Administration (1935)

Uptown Theater (1936)

deaf and hard-of-hearing stu-

During the 1930s, this was

Camp David Retreat


Kennedy-Warren Apartments

10,000 rooms


Hospitals: 19, with a total of

strong controversy in 2001,

Federal Trade Commission

approximately 5,000 beds

after serving D.C. residents for


Street mileage: 1,040 (677

nearly 200 years.

Library of Congress, Adams

miles paved)

Site of WPA Sewing Project, then at Brightwood Elementary School (now Emory United Methodist Church), Quackenbos Street and Georgia Avenue, NW, Brightwood

pearances on democracy and

This exhibition features over

health and social services. A

human rights, this web site is a

100 images created by the

hospital has been on this site


since the city’s early history,

The WPA Sewing Project

Building (1939)

Fire Department: 40 stations,

Old Greyhound Terminal (1939)

884 men, 218 pieces of motor equipment

New Deal Public Art Can Be Found

Police: 12 station, 1,306

in the Following Buildings:

members, 173 pieces of motor

Ariel Rios Building, Federal Triangle


Department of Health and

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Readings from

THE On employment: In the Georgia town where the novel takes place, “...the largest buildings in the town were the factories, which employed a large percentage of the population. These cotton mills were big and flourishing and most of the workers in the town were poor. Often in the faces along the streets there was the desperate look of hunger and of loneliness.”

IS a know, like all these other letter things in the government....Every

letter back saying that if she ever came out to Hollywood she could

Saturday he would collect...Somebody begun to find out about this

come by and swim in her swimming pool. And ever since that swim-

Mr. B.F. Mason and he were arrested. They find out he were from

ming pool had been preying on Etta’s mind. All she thought about

just plain Atlanta and hadn’t never smelled no Washington, D.C. or

was going to Hollywood when she could scrape up the bus fare

no President.”

and getting a job as a secretary and being buddies with Jeanette MacDonald and getting in the movies herself.”

On African American voting rights: Dr. Benedict Mady Copeland says: “We have no representatives in

On WPA art classes:

There’s plenty and to spare for no man, woman, or child to be in

government. We have no vote. In all of this great country we are

Mick Kelly enrolled briefly in a WPA art program: “...she stopped

Jake Blount says, “We live in the richest country in the world. want...At least one third of all Southerners live and die no better off

the most oppressed of all people. We cannot lift up our voices. Our

before the picture she had painted at the free government art class

than the lowest peasant in any European Fascist state. The average

tongues rot in our mouths from lack of use. Our hearts grow empty

for school kids last winter...The teacher had described the ocean

wage of a worker on a tenant farm is only seventy-three dollars a

and lose strength for our purpose...We bring with us all the riches

during the first two or three lessons, and that was what nearly

year. And mind you, that’s the average! The wages of sharecrop-

of the human mind and soul. We offer the most precious of all gifts.

everybody started with. Most of the kids were like her, though, and

pers run from thirty-five to ninety dollars per person. And thirty-five

And our offerings are held in scorn and contempt. Our gifts are

they had never really seen the ocean with their own eyes.”

dollars a year means just about ten cents for a full day’s work.

trampled in the mud and made useless. We are put to labor more

Everywhere there’s pellagra and hookworm and anaemia. And just

useless than the work of beasts. Negroes! We must arise and be

plain, pure starvation.”

whole again! We must be free!”

Dr. Copeland tells him, “I have a program. It is a very simple,

tinted gentle eyes were grave as a sorcerer’s. Mick Kelly and Jake

On deafness: John Singer is the confidant of all the other major characters in the novel. “Singer recalled that, although he had been deaf since an

concentrated plan. I mean to focus on only one objective. In August

On music:

infant, he had not always been a real mute. He was left an orphan

of this year I plan to lead more than one thousand Negroes in this

Mick Kelly responds passionately to classical music, but she has

very young and placed in an institution for the deaf. He had learned

country on a march. A march to Washington. All of us together in

only limited access to it. “There was one special fellow’s music

to talk with his hands and to read. Before he was nine years old

one solid body.”

that made her heart shrink up every time she heard it. Sometimes

he could talk with one hand in the American way--and also could

this fellow’s music was like little colored pieces of crystal candy,

employ both of his hands after the methods of Europeans. He had

Blount and Doctor Copeland would come and talk in the silent room-for they felt that the mute would always understand whatever they wanted to say to him. And maybe even more than that.” Copyright 1940 by Carson McCullers Copyright renewed © 1967 by Carson McCullers

On Social Security:

and other times it was the softest, saddest thing she had ever

learned to follow the movements of people’s lips and to understand

Portia Copeland describes a Social Security scam she fell victim

imagined about.”

what they said. Then finally he had been taught to speak...But he

Written by Kim Roberts

to, when a man “... come down from the President in Washington, D.C., to join everybody up for the Government Pinchers. He went

Although her family can’t afford a radio, Mick finds ways to listen. “When she walked out in the rich parts of town every house had

could never become used to speaking with his lips. It was not natu-

Kim Roberts is a literary historian and poet, whose most recent

ral to him, and his tongue felt like a whale in his mouth. From the

book is The Kimnama (Vrzhu Press, 2007). She is the author of

around from one door to the next explaining how you pay one dollar

a radio. All the windows were open and she could hear the music

blank expressions on people’s faces to whom he talked in this way

the acclaimed online journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly. For the Big

down to join and after that twenty-five cents a week--and how when

very marvelous...There was one special house that got all the good

he felt that his voice must be like the sound of some animal or that

Read – D.C. 2007, she wrote the “Zora Neale Hurston’s Washing-

you were forty-five year old the government would pay you fifty

orchestras. And at night she would go to this house and sneak

there was something disgusting in his speech. It was painful for him

ton” walking tour, and “Jazz Stories of the Rich and Scandalous!”

dollars ever month of your life. All the peoples I know were very

into the yard and listen. There was beautiful shrubbery around this

to try to talk with his mouth, but his hands were always ready to

walking tour for the 2008 Big Read – D.C.’s city read of F. Scott

excited about this. He give everbody that joined a free picture of the

house, and she would sit under a bush near the window.”

shape the words he wished to say. When he was twenty-two he had

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

come south to this town from Chicago and...he had never spoke

President with his name signed under it. He told how at the end of six months there were going to be free uniforms for ever member.

On movies:

The club was called the Grand League of Pincheners for Colored

Mick Kelly describes her sister Etta’s obsession with movies. “All

Peoples--and at the end of two months everbody was going to get

she thought about was movie stars and getting in the movies. Once

a orange ribbon with a G.L.P.C.P. on it to stand for the name. You

The 2009 Big Read – D.C. Walking Tour Guide

she had written to Jeanette MacDonald and had got a typewritten

with his mouth again...” All the major characters seek understanding above all else. “One by one they would come to Singer’s room to spend the evening with him. The mute was always thoughtful and composed. His many-

For More Info, visit www.wdchumanities.org/bigread

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