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Cultural Tourism DC Hosts Unveiling and Neighborhood (Columbia Heights) Celebration October 24

Arcade Market ca 1920 credit Library of Congress 31821u

Above’s photo is from the Library of Congress, and shows the Arcade Market, which used to stand on the site that is now DCUSA. Press release from an email:

A neighborhood that began as an elite suburb on the high ground above Washington has since hosted every group of people that ever influenced Washington’s cultural life. This story and many more are told on Cultural Tourism DC’s Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Heritage Trail. On this self-guided walking tour, 19 poster-sized street signs combine storytelling, photography, and maps to lead residents and visitors through old and new Columbia Heights, introducing the people who changed the world with technology, ideas, literature, laws, and leadership.

The Columbia Heights Heritage Trail’s official unveiling and neighborhood celebration will take place Saturday, October 24. Councilmembers Jim Graham and Mary Cheh will join Cultural Tourism DC and the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail Working Group for the 1 pm ceremony on Civic Plaza (14th Street and Park Road, NW). WAMU’S Kojo Nnamdi will emcee and celebrated DC author Marita Golden will speak about how the Columbia Heights neighborhood influenced her writing. Continues after the jump

Before the trail unveiling, Councilmembers Cheh and Graham will present a Council of the District of Columbia Resolution naming the Neighborhood Heritage Trails the District’s Official Walking Trails. The Resolution recognizes the Heritage Trails, created in partnership with the District Department of Transpiration, for “combining the elements of health and history. The Heritage Trails will enhance the quality of life for DC citizens,” providing “trail walkers with approximately two hours of gentle, outdoor exercise at the walker’s own pace and schedule.”

Councilmember Mary Cheh who introduced the Resolution states, “The Heritage Trails connect our neighborhoods and provide healthy recreation opportunities for residents and visitors.”

After the presentation and trail sign unveiling, activities will take place on Civic Plaza from 2 – 4 pm. Scheduled activities include:

Visitors are invited to join officials, neighbors, working group members and Cultural Tourism DC staff in walking the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail, where several activities are available:

“As Cultural Tourism DC marks its tenth anniversary in 2009 we are thrilled to celebrate the completion of our tenth Neighborhood Heritage Trail,” says Linda Harper, Cultural Tourism DC executive director. “This is a vibrant, exciting neighborhood, and we happy to have worked with its residents to tell some amazing stories.”

Along the way, walkers will discover a neighborhood that has welcomed every group to make its mark on the city. Trail highlights include:

  • The place where Marriott got its start
  • The city’s “Latino Intelligence Center”
  • The places where DC’s power brokers built their mansions overlooking the old city
  • The venues where some of DC influential punk bands first performed for the public
  • The streets that inspired some of the world’s most important writers

Cultural Tourism DC began collaborating in 2007 with the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail Working Group to create the trail. Community residents led the effort to collect neighborhood stories and photographs, shaping the trail every step of the way.

Free guides will be available on Civic Plaza on October 24 as well as from merchants and institutions along the route. Instructions for downloading a free guidebook, or ordering one for $5 shipping and handling per guide, are available at A complete list of distribution points is found online as well.

The Columbia Heights Heritage Trail is easily accessed by taking Metro’s Green or Yellow lines to the Columbia Heights Metrorail station. Then it’s a one block walk to Civic Plaza. Total walking distance is 2.9 miles.

Cultural Convergence: Columbia Heights Heritage Trail is a project of Cultural Tourism DC, in collaboration with the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail Working Group. Design is by side view/Hannah Smotrich.

The Washington, DC Neighborhood Heritage Trails are funded by the District Department of Transportation, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Columbia Heights Heritage Trails is the tenth in the District Columbia Neighborhood Heritage Trails series: Civil War to Civil Rights: Downtown Heritage Trail; City Within a City: Greater U Street Heritage Trail; Tour of Duty: Barracks Row Heritage Trail; River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail; Midcity at the Crossroads: Shaw Heritage Trail; Roads to Diversity: Adams Morgan Heritage Trail; Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail; Battleground to Community: Brightwood Heritage Trail; A Self-Reliant People: Deanwood Heritage Trail. For more information about Washington, DC Neighborhood Heritage Trails, check or call 202-661-7581.”

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