Roads to Diversity
—Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —
The lively scene around you began with an arts movement in the 1950s. Musicians, dancers, and artists found centrally located 18th Street attractive as declining rents made it affordable.
Early on, jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd brought fame to the Show Boad Lounge at 2477 18th Street. Byrd, Keter Betts, and Stan Getz introduced Americans to Brazilian jazz with their best-selling album Jazz Samba
(1962). The album was recorded at nearby All Souls Unitarian Church. Byrd headlined at the Show Boat until it closed in 1967.
The arts got a boost from Colin "Topper" Carew, a young architect who created the New Thing Art and Architecture Center. The New Thing (1966-1972) was innovative and free-form, offering arts programs for all ages. one of its five buildings was 2127 18th Street. Carew later became a film maker, contributing to the 1983 film D.C. Cab
As the New Thing was doing its thing, the Ambassador Theater produced rock concerts with psychedelic sound and light shows. Among the performers in 1967 was an obscure new group, the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
GALA Hispanic Theatre opened in 1976 at 2319 18th Street, the home of founders Hugo and Rebeccca Medrano. Dance Place began at 2424 18th Street in 1890, and the city named the alley behind you in its honor.
in this area was the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the health service for the gay and lesbian community. It operated its second facility at 2335 18th Street from 1980 until 1987. Here it developed its pioneering responses to the AIDS crisis.
The Adams Morgan story begins with its breezy hilltop location, prized by Native Americans, colonial settlers, freedom seekers, powerful Washingtonians, working people, and immigrants alike. Unlike most close-in neighborhoods, Adams Morgan has never been dominated by any of these groups. Today's rich diversity is the legacy of each group that has passed through.
Follow the 18 signs of Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail
to discover the personalities and foces that shaped a community once known simply as "18th and Columbia." Along the way, you'll learn how school desegregation led to the name Adams Morgan, and you'll meet presidents and paupers, natives and immigrants, artists, activists and authors.
Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail
, a booklet capturing the trail's highlights is available at local businesses. To learn about other DC neighborhoods, check out City Within a City: Greater U Street Heritage Trail
, beginning at 16th and U streets, and visit: www.CulturalTourismDC.org