The National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibit “Block by Block: Naming Washington” pairs likenesses of historical figures with the local sites that bear their monikers. Check out a few of their picks.
The person: 19th-century abolitionist and minister Henry Ward Beecher.
The place: The Glover Park street is familiar to music fans as the mailing address on albums released by DC-scene staple Dischord Records.
Clara Barton Parkway
The person: A Civil War nurse, Barton founded the American Red Cross.
The place: This road follows the Potomac River into Maryland—right past Barton’s Glen Echo home.
The person: The US Navy’s first admiral, David Farragut is also credited with the phrase “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” though that’s not exactly what he said.
The place: It’s DC’s best-known location for office workers munching on food-truck lunches.
The person: Joseph Gales, publisher of the National Intelligencer, was DC’s mayor from 1827 to 1830.
The place: Though Gales owned much of what is now the Eckington neighborhood, Gales Street is in Kingman Park, a couple miles away.
The person: William Seward, the Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln who pushed the purchase of Alaska.
The place: While a US senator, Seward could have walked by the spot near the Capitol that today bears his name.
Photographs courtesy of National Portrait Gallery.
This article appears in the August 2021 issue of Washingtonian.