Antiques & The Arts
The History Hat – Missing Dupont Historical Markers

The History Hat – Missing Dupont Historical Markers

Hello History Hatters. Over the last few episodes, we explored the historic homes of famous African-Americans who once lived in the Dupont Circle area We began by retracing the steps of the famous poet Langston Hughes. As you might recall, we visited 1749 S Street northwest, where Hughes and his mother and brother spent the winter of 1925. In the then unheated apartments upstairs. We then stopped by 1615 S Street
northwest, the home of legendary women’s suffrage and civil rights champion, Mary
Church Terrell. Despite the fact that Mrs. Terrell’s residence was listed on the 1984 application for the Dupont Circle neighborhood to gain its status as a
historical district, neither this house or the former home of Langston Hughes
bear any markers identifying them to the public as historical sites. In contrast, in our last episode, an exterior plaque honors the historical residence of an
emancipated slave turned publisher, scholar, and lawyer, John Wesley Cromwell. During our tour inside, I asked the home’s owner, Ken Patterson, about his
experience in erecting Cromwell’s Historical Marker. “My name is Ken
Patterson. I have lived here on the 1400 block of Swann Street since 1995 and been
in the District of Columbia since 1988 I first learned about John Wesley
Cromwell in a book called “A History of Black Washington.” I decided to look at the index to see if there was anything about Swan Street in it, and indeed there was a
listing in the index for 1439 Swann Street and I thought, well, I’ve struck
I’ve struck paydirt here. I got a call from the DC Department of cultural
tourism they asked me if I would feature the plaque. I cross-examined them a
little bit. I didn’t want the plaque on the side of my house I did not want
people walking up the steps and reading it there go looking in the windows and I
didn’t want my tenants in the basement bothered by them walking
down the steps to read it down there so I told them I would do it as long as
they would put it in the flowerbed and they were happy to do that I have had
many and interesting conversation with people who were passing by and read the
plaque and ask me questions. I’ve met lovely people through it. This is not the only house by far in this neighborhood where a person of historical
significance lived and worked, but I know that there are other houses the Langston
Hughes house and the Mary Church Terrell house that are not currently featured on the walking tours. I don’t know the history of that. I do not know if if the owners were requested to participate and did not. I don’t see a
downside to touting the historical or cultural significance of properties. I
think it only inures to the benefit of the house and the benefit of the
neighborhood.” If you believe the Dupont homes of Langston Hughes and Mary Church Terrell deserve historic markers, sign our change.org petition by visiting TheHistoryHat.com And, remember to click the History Hat logo to subscribe to catch the latest as we continue exploring the mysteries of history.

1 comment on “The History Hat – Missing Dupont Historical Markers

  1. I AM ADDICTED TO THESE VIDEOS. PLEASE STOP UPLOADING I’M NOT GETTING ANY SLEEP!!! 😔😔 too good mann and everyone in this vid is smokin

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