Banneker Circle: Vista to the Past

Banneker Circle: Vista to the Past (HMGPQ)

Location: Washington, DC 20007
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 52.916', W 77° 1.563'

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River Farms to Urban Towers

— Southwest Heritage Trail —

This high ground serves as a monument to Benjamin Banneker, a free African American who charted the stars for the first survey of Washington, DC. Banneker was 60 years old when he hired on to assist surveyor Andrew Ellicott. A tobacco planter from Baltimore County, Maryland, Banneker had taught himself mathematics and astronomy. With these skills, he observed the stars' movements each night. Ellicott used Banneker's calculations to determine the District's boundaries. In addition, Banneker published a series of almanacs predicting the movements of the sun, moon, and stars to guide farmers in the best timing for planting and harvesting.

This vista once belonged to Notley Young. The Maryland planter owned nearly all of today's Southwest when President George Washington chose the spot, then part of Maryland, for the new nation's capital in 1791. Young's brick mansion stood close to where you are now. Young owned many farms in the new city and nearby Maryland, and reported owning 265 slaves to 1790 Census takers. Before the Revolution, Maryland's Catholics were prohibited from worshiping in public churches, so Young and his Catholic neighbors gathered for Mass in his house. In 1857 Young's grandson, Father Nicholas Young, Jr. helped establish St. Dominic Church.

The L'Enfant Promenade to your right, designed by I. M. Pei and others for New York developer William Zeckendorf, now covers the site of Young's house. Zeckendorf envisioned a dramatic expanse lined sith office and cultural buildings as a link between the National Mall and Southwest's waterfront. Today's Forrestal Building blocks what was to be a view to the Smithsonian castle.
Marker Number8 of 17
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 6:54pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324261 N 4305625
Decimal Degrees38.88193333, -77.02605000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 52.916', W 77° 1.563'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 52' 54.96" N, 77° 1' 33.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 521-599 L'Enfant Plaza, Washington DC 20007, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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