The First Bodega

The First Bodega (HM2453)

Location: Washington, DC 20010
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 55.824', W 77° 2.278'

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Inscription

Village in the City

—Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail —

Front of Marker:
The 1960s saw this neighborhood develop a Latino presence, and this became its Main Street. The storefront at 3161 Mt. Pleasant Street once housed Casa Diloné , the first bodega (grocery) here. From 1962 until 1998, Casa Diloné sold products familiar to immigrants and embassy staffers from Latin America and the Caribbean who lived in the area. It was a social center for Washington's Spanish-speakers and attracted other Latino-oriented businesses.

Francisca Marrero Diloné and Félix Diloné lived above the store with their six children, who also worked there. Customers eventually moved on, but many returned for holiday lechón asado (roast suckling pig) and Puerto Rican pasteles (ground root vegetables steamed in banana leaves), hand-made by Francisca and daughter Carmen.

Washington's Latino community was still small in the 1940s when Francisca immigrated from Puerto Rico and Félix from the Dominican Republic. The late 1950s brought Cubans, followed by Central and South Americans in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of the recent arrivals fled war, economic disruptions, or other political turmoil, By the 1980s, Mount Pleasant was known for its Salvadoran community. In fact, campaigning for Salvadoran elections became a regular event here.

In 1990 Salvadoran
émigrés Haydee and Mario Alas operated Trolley's Restaurant where, 20 years earlier, customers had lined up out the door for the Loop Restaurant.

In 1974 the activist, ecumenical Community of Christ church moved to 3166 Mt. Pleasant Street from Dupont Circle. Many congregants, dedicated to a simpler and more communal existence, moved here as well. The group's La Casa provided space for community activities and the Life Skills Center, founded by a church member.

Back of marker:
Tucked into a bend in Rock Creek Park on the breezy heights above central Washington, Mount Pleasant was one of the city's earliest suburban developments. It began as a village of government clerks mainly from New England, and stretched from 17th Street east to Seventh Street. Later it attracted prominent citizens to its site along fashionable 16th Street, and eventually yielded the area east of 16th Street to Columbia Heights. But that's only on the map. Mount Pleasant's boundaries depend on who you are and where you came from.

The arrival of the streetcar transformed the village into an urban enclave. Working people and newcomers to Washington began to call Mount Pleasant home in the mid-1900s. Its varied citizenry earned it the nickname "little U.N." By the 1970s Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan were recognized as the heart of the Latino immigrant community.

Mount
Pleasant activists have often been on the cutting edge of important civic issues, and artists and musicians have been part of its daily life. While the neighborhood has changed with the city, some things remain constant. Children consider the National Zoo and Rock Creek Park their personal playgrounds, and residents shop and greet each other on Mt. Pleasant Street. Colonial Revival mansions, early apartment buildings, and rowhouses remain remarkably intact. A stroll along the 17 signs of Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail will introduce you to it all. Welcome!

Special thanks to the Mount Pleasang Heritage Trail Working Group: Neil Richardson, chair; Mara Cherkasky, Working Group historian; Jim Barnett, David Bosserman, Jeff Brechbul, Malvina Brown, Olivia Cadaval, Robert Frazier, Elinor Hart, Mary Hathaway, Dora Johnson, Edwin Hill Langrall, Jeff Logan, Carmen Marrero, Dennis Marvich, Ric Mendoza-Gleason, Louis Meyer, Galey Modan, Mary Mill Rojas, Michael Rosa, David Sitomer, and Terry Thielen. And also to Tanya Edwards Beauchamp, Mary Belcher, Joana Brown, Ginger Carter, Rodney Case, Ronald Chacon, Carmen Chapin, Shirley Cherkasky, Carole Clarke, Alan Darby, Sharon Deane, Malini Dominey, Larry Fredette, Will Grant, Joan Graumamn, Mary Gregory, Martha Grigg, Tony Grillo, Richard Hardy, Faye Haskins, Fred Haya III, Gregory Heller, Michael Heller, Luis Hernandez, Eddie Hicks, Jane Holt, Toni Johnson, Eliza A.B. Jones, Wayne Kahn, Ellen Kardy, Bill Katopothis, Brian Kraft, Ken Laden, Myrtle Lawson, Mary Leckle, Marshall Logan, Louise Legsdon, Linda Low, Rob Low, Jeanie Majeed, Gladys Mitchell, Gloria Mitchell, Mount Pleasant Business Association, Mount Pleasant Main Street Inc., Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance, Michael Najarian, Mark Opsasnick, Ruby Priecanos, Ann Piesen, Rosanne Burch Piesen, Wes Ponder, Rick Reinhard, Vilma Rosario, Donald Schwarzz, Wosley Semple, Chris Shaheen, Ryan Shepard, Harold Silver, Kathryn S. Smith, Louise Townsend Smith, David Songer, Grace Tamborrelle, Fay Thompson, Honora Thompson, Leu Vondas, Tasso Vondas, Randy Waller, Dagmar Hasalova White, and Arthur Wong.

Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail is produced by Brendan Meyer, Jane Freundel Levey, Brett Weary, Mara Cherkasky, and Anne W. Rollins of Cultural Tourism DC in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail Working Group. The trail was supported by Historic Mount Pleasant.

2006, All rights reserved. Designed by Side View/Hanna Smotrich, Map by Larry Bowring.
Details
HM NumberHM2453
Tags
Year Placed2006
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, December 28th, 2017 at 7:02am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 323348 N 4311027
Decimal Degrees38.93040000, -77.03796667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 55.824', W 77° 2.278'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 55' 49.4400" N, 77° 2' 16.6800" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3159 Mt Pleasant St NW, Washington DC 20010, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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