Pennsylvania Avenue

Pennsylvania Avenue is among the world's most famous streets, containing several of the must-see Washington DC tourist attractions. The avenue runs for seven miles inside Washington, but the stretch from the White House to the United States Capitol building is considered the most important - effectively the heart of the city. Throughout history, Americans have gathered to rally, protest and parade on the Avenue, and can always be found opinionating in Lafayette Park, also known as "Presidents Park," across from the White House. Every four years the nation celebrates inauguration with a grand promenade down the Avenue, while other national heroes and foreign leaders have been honored with parades and motorcades there as well. It is no wonder that Pennsylvania Avenue is called the "Avenue of Presidents" and "America's Main Street," becoming one of the most popular Washington DC tourist attractions. Whether celebrating or mourning, the Avenue of Presidents is the place where the people of the nation gather to commemorate their wins and losses.

Pennsylvania Avenue
Pennsylvania Avenue

Pennsylvania Avenue has gone through a remarkable physical evolution over its two centuries of history. The Avenue of Presidents, like many other Washington DC tourist attractions, was the brainchild of Pierre L'Enfant, who was presidentially appointed in 1791 by George Washington to plan the new Nation's capital city. Connecting Jenkins Hill and a ridge north of Tiber Creek, L'Enfant linked the houses of Congress and the President with a bold diagonal avenue, not unlike the Champs Elysees.

Pennsylvania Avenue
Pennsylvania Avenue

Today, the Treasury Building, designed by Robert Mills, is one of Pennsylvania Avenue's historic structures. Considered by many to be the most spectacular Greek revival building in the United States, it is surpassed in age only by the White House and the Capitol among the federal buildings that are Washington DC tourist attractions. Another historic treasure is the Post Office Pavilion. Designer Willoughby J. Edbrooke completed the building in the Romanesque Revival style by 1899. Its skyrocketing tower clock remains a current Avenue of Presidents landmark. This building was followed in 1909 by the completion of the District Building. Designed in the Beaux Arts style, the building was constructed to house the District of Columbia government. Still in use by the District's government today, it too remains an Avenue landmark.

Not just the scene of official functions, Pennsylvania Avenue is the traditional parade and protest route of ordinary citizens. For instance, in the depression era, 500 protesting supporters of Jacob Coxey rallied down Pennsylvania Avenue to insist on federal provision of unemployment benefits. The night before Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated in 1913, Alice Paul brilliantly led a march empowering the suffragette movement for women. Citizens today still come here from all over the world, to let their voices be heard in Lafayette Park, a seven-acre park across from the White House also known as the "Presidents Park." The noble statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback commands the Square, while in each corner a hero of The Revolutionary War is honored. This public forum for opinionating is a resounding reminder of the democratic revolution that gave rise to the splendor of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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