Franklin Square - "Going into the country"

Franklin Square - "Going into the country" (HMJQ9)

Location: Washington, DC 20005
Country: United States of America

N 38° 54.139', W 77° 1.769'

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Inscription

Civil War to Civil Rights

— Downtown Heritage Trail —

This urban oasis exists because President Andrew Jackson needed water. The site of excellent springs (a rare commodity in the early city when everyone was dependent on private wells), this square was purchased by the federal government in 1832 so that it could pipe fresh water to the White House. It was an arrangement that lasted until 1898, well after the city had a piped water supply from above Great Falls on the Potomac River.

In July of 1861, as the nation prepared for war, soldiers of the 12th New York Regiment moved in on the square, still a somewhat lightly settled place on the northern edge of the city. Their flimsy barracks were typical of the temporary quarters thrown up all around the city as northern troops poured into the capital.

President Lincoln frequently passed this way going or returning from Anderson Cottage, his summer house on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home. His Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton lived on the northern side of the square at 1323 K Street, and the president was sometimes seen in his open carriage parked in the street conversing with Stanton. Now and then, the president's eye was drawn to Union troops playing baseball in the square across the street.

With the rapid growth of the population after the war, Franklin Square continued to attract the city's elite. Mrs. John Sherman, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury in the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), described her move to a new house in the area as "going into the country." Future president James A. Garfield lived in a house on the northeast corner of 13th and I Streets while serving in the House of Representatives.

Franklin School, completed in 1869, stands as the only remaining vestige of this fashionable community. Designed by prominent architect Adolph Cluss, its elegant combination of Gothic, Romanesque Revival, and Second Empire styles is testimony to the pride the city took in its public school system. Its design and the city's educational programs won prizes in Vienna in 1873, in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Paris in 1878. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone who lived in Washington, transmitted the first wireless message from Franklin School to his nearby laboratory on L Street in 1880. It was an experiment whose potential went unrealized until today's telecommunications revolution.
Details
HM NumberHMJQ9
Series This marker is part of the Civil War to Civil Rights series
Tags
Marker NumberW.2
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 11:23pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324014 N 4307894
Decimal Degrees38.90231667, -77.02948333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 54.139', W 77° 1.769'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 54' 8.34" N, 77° 1' 46.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1300 K St NW, Washington DC 20005, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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