“In Valor There Is Hope”

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

At the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Tavish meets the steady gaze of one of four adult lions, sculpted in bronze by Raymond Kaskey (b. 1943). Beneath is chiseled Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” In the background is the former U.S. Pension Office which is now home to the National Building Museum.

An 80-foot-long reflecting pool. Low, gently curving marble walls. Four statuary groupings of stoic lions protectively watching over cubs. And names: thousands upon thousands of names. This is the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Appropriately sited in Washington, DC’s Judiciary Square—a symbolic center of the U.S. criminal justice system—the Memorial has been a place for remembrance and introspection since 1991. Unlike some memorials which remain static after their initial dedications, this one is annually updated for the simple yet tragic reason that law enforcement officers continue to be killed in the line of duty. This year a total of 362 names joined the approximately 19,000 others already appearing on the marble panels. These entries represent the 163 officers killed in 2011, plus 199 officers who died in previous years and were recently discovered in historical records.

Though we had the grounds to ourselves when we visited on a weekend afternoon a couple months back, this is hardly a forgotten memorial. Two commemorative wreaths, a tiny American flag here, and a single fresh long-stem rose there gave evidence that others had come by recently to pay their respects. This scene is very different come May, when the Memorial figures prominently in the official events of National Police Week (always the calendar week surrounding May 15), first proclaimed by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. Commemorative activities annually draw anywhere from 25,000 to 40,000 attendees. There’s a candelight vigil at the Memorial—at that point completely lined with personal mementos, handwritten notes, and other tributes to fallen officers—and an official wreath-laying ceremony on the heels of the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

But there were no crowds or candles or bagpipes that afternoon, and we were left alone to wander. A brochure supplied onsite provides a self-guided walking tour of some of the Memorial’s points of interest, and you can even use your cell phone to access a free, guided narration. The Memorial encompasses local, state, and federal peace officers, so you’ll see names ranging among the ranks of municipal police, park service rangers, correctional officers, and members of the U.S. Secret Service. Along the way you’ll learn that…

  • the first known U.S. officer killed in the line of duty was Sheriff Cornelius Hogeboom of Hudson, New York, in 1791.
  • more than 245 female officers’ names appear on the memorial.
  • the deadliest day in U.S. law enforcement history was September 11, 2001, when 72 officers died responding to the terrorist attacks.
  • the average age of officers on the Memorial is just 39.

It’s a poignant reminder that in no small measure we owe our public safety to the “thin blue line” of protection by the nation’s law enforcement officers.

Dogging the Details

Click to see what a "1" on the Wag-a-meter means38°53′49.39″N,  77°1′2.32″W
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Washington, DC

If traveling by Metro, the Memorial’s three-acre plaza actually covers the underground Judiciary Square station stop on the Red Line. If arriving by car, metered parking spaces are usually available on weekends on the streets surrounding Judiciary Square.

Tavish at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

This section of the memorial bears a quotation from the early Roman senator and historian Tacitus: “In valor there is hope.”

The memorial grounds are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, making them very accessible to visit and scoring a “1” on the Intrepid Pup Wag-a-meter. Springtime is especially pretty with all the flowering trees and some 14,000 daffodils. Should you wish to locate and make an etching of a name, you can search the finding aid directories and obtain pencils and paper from any of the four information stations at the Memorial.

Construction has begun on the south side of the Memorial for a National Law Enforcement Museum slated to open in 2015. To extend the Memorial experience in the meantime, there is a small Memorial Visitors Center and Store located just a few blocks to the southwest, at 400 7th Street, NW. There you’ll find assorted law enforcement themed merchandise, a timeline of U.S. law enforcement history, plus interactive kiosks with more information about those honored at the Memorial.

 

Thanks, Teddy!

Tavish at Roosevelt Island If you’re as big a fan of America’s national parks as Tavish the Intrepid Pup, then National Park Week is like having Christmas, a birthday, and the 4th of July all rolled into one. In 2012 National Park Week runs from April 21 through April 29. Jointly promoted by the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Park Foundation—the parks’ official charity—National Park Week collectively celebrates the 84 million acres preserved as “America’s best idea” by offering free admission to all 397 national park sites throughout the country. To be fair, more than 250 of these are free year-round, but in going fee free system-wide for a week, cost simply can’t be an excuse for not visiting a national park. So, in the spirit of Intrepid Pup:  “Come! Adventures Await.”©

Throughout the week, Intrepid Pup will highlight various NPS sites he’s visited recently, so check back often! In the meantime, we’re starting with the Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial because, seriously, where better to step off National Park Week than the place dedicated to the guy who first made the environment and national parks central to domestic policy?

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) became the the youngest man to ascend to the U.S. presidency, taking over when President McKinley’s term ended prematurely with an assassin’s bullet. While Roosevelt can’t lay claim to designating Yellowstone the country’s first national park (President Grant had that honor in 1872) or even to establishing the National Park Service (President Wilson got the credit in 1916), he arguably did more to shape the tenor of American resource conservation than any president before or since. During Roosevelt’s 1901-1909 tenure as the 26th president of the United States, he created five national parks and established the U.S. Forest Service. With the passage of the 1906 Antiquities Act he provided the precedent and legislative vehicle for presidents to protect historically significant sites as National Monuments…of which he then personally authorized 18. All told, among national forests, parks, game preserves, bird reservations and national monuments Roosevelt amassed a legacy of preserving a staggering 230 million acres of public land.

To visit Roosevelt Island today is to step onto a sylvan oasis. Wedged between Virginia and the District of Columbia’s banks of the Potomac River, this 88-acre dollop has had a schizophrenic past:  Inhabited by 16th-century Native Americans. Overtaken by various colonials in the 18th century. Owned by George Mason (author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights) and later by his son in the early 19th century for entertaining high society in a summer house built upon its ridge. Utilized by the 1st U.S. Colored Troops as a Civil War mustering ground in 1863. Cherished as a safe haven for escaped and freed slaves fleeing the South between May 1864 and June 1865.

The Roosevelt connection didn’t come until the 1930s, when the Theodore Roosevelt Association acquired the island and promptly transferred title to the National Park Service. Initial efforts to create the only capital-area memorial to Roosevelt involved the Civilian Conservation Corps removing invasive vegetation and planting nearly 20,000 native trees. Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870-1957) was enlisted to come up with an overall design. Various issues hampered progress, including World War II, and the project wasn’t resumed until the 1960s. Though Olmsted had passed away in the intervening years, many of his original ideas like a Memorial Plaza and foot trails survived the final plan put forth by Eric Gugler (1889-1974). Paul Manship (1885-1966)—perhaps better remembered for his Prometheus Fountain in New York City’s Rockefeller Center—designed the 17-foot bronze statue of Roosevelt ultimately dedicated on the site in 1967.

In Tavish’s visits to the island, we invariably begin at the expansive Memorial Plaza where Roosevelt stands at the far end, backed by a 30-foot granite shaft, right arm raised above his head as if he were in the midst of an animated speech. Four 21-foot granite tablets bear Roosevelt quotations under the headings of Nature,  Manhood, Youth, and The State. Three trails (Swamp, Woods, and Upland) radiate from the plaza; none are longer than 1.3 miles. Except for a traffic helicopter’s shadow raking through the tree canopy or the dull roar of a Dc-9 following the river southward on its final approach to Ronald Reagan-Washington National Airport, you’d never believe you’re so close to the city. Don’t go expecting dazzling waterfront views; for most of the year, heavy foliage occludes shoreline panoramas of the Kennedy Center, the Watergate and Georgetown. The Potomac River is tidal but it’s fresh water that infiltrates the marshland skirting the Swamp Trail’s boardwalk. On our most recent jaunt yesterday, yellow irises were in bloom. Low tide had temporarily marooned minnows in the shallows. We spotted numerous marsh birds and encountered three deer grazing on green tendrils mere feet from the boardwalk. Two salamanders basking in the sun skittered away when we approached.

Roosevelt Island is one of five NPS sites—if you don’t count his visage on Mount Rushmore—specifically honoring our 26th President. (Intrepid Pup bonus points if you can name the others! Answers are below.*) In hiking the island,  Roosevelt’s foresight for preserving parkland is readily appreciated. As one of his quotations chiseled in the nearby stone states:

“The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets
which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”

Thanks, Teddy!

Dogging the Details

38°53′50.70″N, 77°3′50.22″W
 Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial, Virginia

Click to see what a "1" on the Wag-a-meter means By car, one can only reach the parking lot for Roosevelt Island from the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The  lot serves as a trailhead for runners and cyclists on more far-flung journeys along the Mount Vernon and Potomac Heritage Trails. Though most who park here likely never cross the pedestrian bridge onto the island, the grounds nonetheless attract a fair share of walkers and joggers. Dogs are permitted on the island but must be on a 6-foot leash at all times. As always, pick up after your dog. Trash receptacles are understandably sparse along the island’s trails but are abundant in the parking area.

Be aware that low-lying areas of the island flood easily, and sections of trail are seasonally boggy or otherwise closed. Consult the bulletin board on the island side of the pedestrian bridge for current trail info.  Bear right and make the first left uphill to view the Memorial Plaza; otherwise stay right to embark on the Swamp Trail that encircles the island. The Island scores a “1” on the Intrepid Pup Wag-a-Meter for its easy hiking.

*The other four Roosevelt-related NPS sites are Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota), the Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site (New York City), Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Oyster Bay, NY), and the Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site (Buffalo, NY).

The Road to Freedom

Tavish at the Freedmen's Memorial

It’s April 16th. In the District of Columbia, kids have the day off from the school, and DC government offices are closed. A parade has concluded, but the street festival will continue, culminating in a fireworks display just a few hours from now. What’s the occasion? DC Emancipation Day: widely celebrated for years but only officially made a DC public holiday by Mayor Anthony Williams in 2005.

While Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, is what always makes the cut to be on virtually any timeline of the American Civil War, the fact of the matter is that the emancipation of slaves really began 8 1/2 months earlier. Presented with the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act—first introduced by Massachusetts senator Henry Wilson in December 1861—President Lincoln signed it into law on April 16, 1862. The stroke of his pen granted instant freedom to 3,100 slaves in the nation’s capital and ended the abhorrent anomaly that slaves could be bought and sold within sight of the very bastions of a federal government simultaneously struggling to save a divided nation at war. The “compensated” portion of the Act entailed the government remunerating slave owners loyal to the Union with up to $300 for each slave; the government ultimately paid out nearly $1 million through a process managed by a three-person Emancipation Commission. In addition, former slaves were offered a $100 incentive should they opt to emigrate from the country, namely to Liberia or Haiti.

Lincoln must have had some satisfaction in enacting the legislation, since he had long believed gradual, compensated emancipation to be viable option in trying to run the gauntlet between outright abolition and the all-important preservation of the Union. Yet, interestingly, the compensation factor so prevalent in the DC act did not carry over to the more sweeping Emancipation Proclamation.

While the Freedmen’s Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln (pictured here during the Intrepid Pup’s recent visit) was actually erected in response to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, it’s equally relevant to remember it on today’s 150th anniversary of the DC Emancipation. Blocks from the Capitol Building in a park that was once the site of a Civil War hospital, the monument rises, a pedestal topped with a sculpture grouping designed by Thomas Ball (1819-1911). It depicts a newly-emancipated male slave kneeling before Abraham Lincoln. At the base, in capital letters, is the single word: EMANCIPATION. The memorial has been roundly criticized as reinforcing notions of paternalism, supplication and subservience. Indeed, the monument presents an image jarring to 21st-century sensibilities. As a run-up to this year’s 150th anniversary DC Emancipation festivities, the Washington Post just ran an article that included the Freedmen’s Memorial; one reader who’d grown up a stone’s throw from the park responded online, “I never liked that statue. Even as a child, I always thought they should be shaking hands.” But it’s also important to place the memorial within its historical context. As the plaque affixed to the rear of the monument reads:

Freedom’s Memorial
In grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln

This monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission of Saint Louis MO:
with funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States declared free by his proclamation January 1st A.D. 1863.
The first contribution of five dollars was made by Charlotte Scott a freed woman of Virginia being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her suggestion and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln’s death to build a monument to his memory.

The monument was dedicated on April 14, 1876, the 11th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination. Frederick Douglass gave the keynote address before a reported crowd of 25,000. It’s clear from his remarks that he thought of the statue much more as a memorial to Lincoln than as a monument to the act of emancipation, and privately he, too, apparently expressed disappointment at how the figures were portrayed. Then, as now, public art encourages exploration and invites discussion.

Dogging the Details

38°53′23.26″N,  76°59′24.76″W
Freedmen’s Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Park, Washington, DC

wag-a-meter set at 2As noted in an earlier Intrepid Pup posting related to Lincoln Park, the site of this statue is exceptionally dog-friendly (earning it a “2” on the Intrepid Pup Wag-a-Meter), with many people using it as a de facto dog park. It’s important to mention, however, that this is not an officially-designated city dog park. Rather, it’s maintained by the National Park Service, and the expected rules of conduct apply (e.g. keep your dog under your personal control and clean up).

The park is located at 12th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NE and an easy walk due east from the U.S. Capitol. If arriving by car on a weekday, it’s not difficult to find free 2-hour parking nearby along the residential side streets.

A Titanic Fascination

Titanic Memorial

99 years and 364 days ago, the approximately 2200 people aboard the RMS Titanic were four days into their trans-Atlantic voyage from Southampton to New York City and having a grand old time. That all changed the night of April 14, 1912, when an iceberg tore open her starboard side, and the unthinkable happened. Within just two and a half hours, in the early morning hours of April 15, the “unsinkable” ship had cataclysmically broken apart and plummeted to a watery grave 12,540 feet below. And the rest, as they say, is history.

*  *  *

Fast forward to a few weeks ago on the Washington, DC waterfront. An early twenty-somethings couple was sitting on the wall of the Titanic Memorial when we approached. Intrigued by the fact that Tavish the Intrepid Pup was being photographed, the young woman in the duo struck up a conversation and inquired about Tavish. Upon explaining to her that this was the latest monument in a growing list of ones he’s visited, she seemed thoughtful. “Hmm,” she said, “the Titanic. Yeah. I saw the movie.”  And then, a few moments later:  “So, what’s up with this memorial, anyway? Did the Titanic sink here?”

Aside from the egregious incongruity of her remark, she had actually made a good point:  why is there a Titanic Memorial in Washington, DC?  The Titanic most assuredly did not strike an iceberg in the nation’s capital, and DC’s Southwest Waterfront couldn’t look any less like the cold expanse of the North Atlantic. Indeed, there are other places with far more direct connections to the Titanic, like Belfast, where the ocean liner was built, or Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, where 121 of the victims are interred.

The reason, quite simply, is that a group of wealthy women, the Women’s Titanic Memorial Association, raised the funds in response to congressional authorization of a national monument. The winning design selected by the Fine Arts Commission consisted of a robed male figure designed by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942, of Whitney Museum of Art fame) standing amidst a granite exedra designed by architect Henry Bacon (1866-1924, of Lincoln Memorial fame). The memorial was completed in 1918, but it wasn’t until 1931 that it was installed and dedicated at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue, NW and Rock Creek Parkway, on the riverbank. The base of the sculpture bears the inscription:

TO THE BRAVE MEN
WHO PERISHED
IN THE WRECK
OF THE TITANIC
APRIL15, 1912
THEY GAVE THEIR
LIVES THAT WOMEN
AND CHILDREN
MIGHT BE SAVED

Erected by the Women of America

Kirk Savage’s compelling book Monument Wars (University of California Press, 2009) includes a 1936 photograph of the memorial at this location, partially and disturbingly submerged during Potomac River flooding. In 1968 the memorial was relocated to its present location on the southwest waterfront near Fort McNair, as it had been removed two years before to make way for construction of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

In departing the Titanic Memorial and continuing our walk along the waterfront that afternoon, we encountered an older woman and her dog. We exchanged pleasantries and learned that she lived in the nearby Riverside Condominium complex. She’d observed that we’d come from the memorial and offhandedly remarked, “You know about the men in tuxedos, don’t you?” With a sly smile, she then launched into a seemingly apocryphal eyewitness account of a group of men who, since 1979, appear every year on April 15th at 12:30 a.m., dressed in formal wear, to place flowers at the memorial and offer up a champagne toast to the men who’d sacrificed their lives.  Haunting, but—as it turns out—absolutely true. The tuxedoed group is none other than the Men’s Titanic Society, which started out as a group of friends who wanted to honor the spirit and intent of what they saw as a forgotten memorial.

Though the DC memorial may have fallen off the public’s radar, the Titanic itself never did. In this 100th anniversary year, towns and museums far and wide are leveraging any Titanic connection they have, whether it’s a hometown family lost in the tragedy or a single artifact. And while this list is not exhaustive, there are currently substantive Titanic-related exhibits at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Mystic Aquarium, National Geographic Museum, Titanic Belfast, Widener University Art Gallery, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ocean Science Exhibit Center. RMS Titanic, Inc., the company that controversially conducted salvage operations on the wreck site, has Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition on view at 8 distinct venues throughout the country, including a semi-permanent installation at the Luxor in Las Vegas. Separately, there are permanent Titanic Museum Attractions in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Alas, you’re too late to join the “Titanic Memorial Cruise” of the MS Balmoral that’s already underway, but you can catch the re-release of James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic” in 3D. Or you can read National Geographic’s newly-published e-book single about the Titanic. Prefer television? You have your choice this week of a History Channel documentary, two National Geographic specials, or an ABC mini-series. It all adds up to a somewhat macabre fascination of, well, titanic proportions. Why does the Titanic story still resonate after 100 years? For one, the Titanic was a cruise ship, and we still have those. It’s not an abstraction in the way that, say, a sunken 17th-century galleon might be. Secondly, in the grand scheme of things, 100 years isn’t really that long ago. The last survivor from the Titanic only died in 2009. There are people alive today who can tell of grandparents and great-grandparents aboard the ill-fated ship. One can relate, and the stories are all the more palpable. Third, positively identifying the wreck site in 1985 reignited interest and gave tantalizing hope to those seeking answers to Titanic’s multitude of unanswered questions. Your author (and one half of Team Tavish) grew up in the community that’s home to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the entity that backed the fabled 1985 exploratory expedition of Bob Ballard and crew. The frisson of excitement that rippled ’round the world upon the discovery of the Titanic was amplified locally; not only was the news historic, but also chances were you that your neighbor, your dad, or your friend’s parent had somehow been involved with the effort. Finally, when the Titanic sank, it violently intruded upon a cold and inhospitable world, introducing humanity—people, lifetimes, names, memories—where none had previously existed. This alone will be what perpetuates the Titanic’s legacy another 100 years.

Dogging the Details 38°52′18.90″N,  77° 1′9.68″W


Titanic Memorial, Washington, DC

Click to see what a "1" on the Wag-a-meter meansThe Titanic Memorial is located where P Street, SW dead-ends into the channel; once you’re in the vicinity, blue way-finding signs point you in the right direction. On a weekday, it’s pretty easy to find nearby parking either at meters by Arena Stage or in 2-hour spaces along 4th Street, SW. If traveling by Metrorail, the nearest stop is the Waterfront-SEU station at the intersection of M and 4th Streets, SW.

Visiting the memorial scores a “1” on the Intrepid Pup wag-a-meter for the easy, flat walk. The memorial is usually fairly deserted, although the  Titanic 100th anniversary fanfare is bound to raise its profile. The Southwest DC Heritage Project is holding an elaborate TITANIC 100 commemorative event at the memorial on April 14, 2012. The program will feature 50-foot archival images projected onto a nearby building, luminaries lit in memory of the 1,500 people who died, and a live performance of “Nearer My God to Thee,” the last song that the Titanic’s onboard musicians played before the ship sank.

One final note on the subject of the Titanic: research into nearly every conceivable angle of the voyage continues to turn up the occasional new tidbit. Among the latest is that there were apparently 12 dogs aboard the Titanic; only 3 survived.

Ode to a Duke

Duke Ellington Memorial

Word had it there was a new statue in town. It was no April Fool’s Day joke, so Tavish the Intrepid Pup was on the case. Our trek on Sunday, April 1, 2012, took us to the intersection of Florida Avenue and T Street, N.W. in Washington, DC, where we found the recently-installed memorial to DC native son and jazz legend Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899 – 1974). Entitled Encore, the 20-foot stainless steel sculpture on a granite base is the work of artist Zachary Oxman, whom DC’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities selected in a design competition. A work crew had gingerly craned the sculpture into place on Ellington Plaza just a few days earlier on March 29th. It depicts Duke Ellington at a piano, the keyboard of which soars upward like a melody itself. Ellington is perched on an oversized treble clef adapted from Ellington’s own handwritten musical scores.

Ellington’s childhood was spent in several different family homes all in the vicinity of Howard University. He began taking piano lessons at about age 8. As a teenager he worked as a soda jerk, and at age 14, he composed his first original score, Soda Fountain Rag. Because Team Tavish can’t resist a good canine reference, we have to add that this song became more commonly known as Poodle Dog Rag, taking its name for the Poodle Dog Cafe, a Georgia Avenue establishment where Ellington often played. Ellington left DC for New York in 1923 but frequently returned for performances, contributing to a vibrant African American music and theater scene in DC that also featured the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Pearl Bailey, and Cab Calloway. In his lifetime Ellington composed more than 3,000 songs (think Take the “A” Train, It Don’t Mean a Thing, and Mood Indigo) and gave some 20,000 concerts in the United States and abroad. For a city that proudly claims Ellington’s roots and has several things Ellington—among them: the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, a robust Ellington collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and many references along Cultural Tourism DC’s Georgia Avenue/Pleasant Plains and Greater U Street Heritage Trails—it’s high time there’s a statue for him, too.

Dogging the Details

38°54′55.96″N,  77°1′14.37″W
Duke Ellington Plaza, Washington, DC

Click to see what a "1" on the Wag-a-meter meansAfter viewing Encore, we continued on our walk eastward down the block into the LeDroit Park Historic District, an architecturally and historically significant subdivision dating to the mid 1870s. The excursion earns a “1” on the Wag-A-Meter as it’s pleasant and easy to take everything in within a short distance. An unexpected bonus on the return was that we discovered Bistro Bohem at the corner of 6th Street and Florida Avenue, N.W. Drawn by the Czech flag flying above the entrance (a member of Team Tavish has Czech heritage), we stopped to take a look at the menu posted outside. Much to our surprise, a man burst through the door moments later and enthusiastically rushed to pet Tavish, who loved every minute of it. Turns out that this vizsla-phile is a former vizsla owner and none other than Bistro Bohem founder Jarek Mika. We happened to catch Mika in the gap between the lunch and dinner shifts on just his 10th day in business offering a modern twist on classic Eastern European cuisine. We plan to return to the restaurant sans the Intrepid Pup, but in the meantime, it was refreshing to see that Mika had completely renovated a rundown, vacant building. When we said we’d just been to see the Ellington statue, Mika agreed that it’s already proven to be a nice addition to the streetscape. As sculptor Oxman noted in his original concept for the Ellington Encore piece “[The treble clef] is used as the entry to a musical score, just as this sculpture represents the gateway to this community.” Truly this is neighborhood experiencing a rebirth. Nearby Shaw’s Tavern has recently re-opened under new ownership. A block of condominiums is being developed incorporating the brickwork facades of the original storefronts. And, finally there’s the historic 1910 Howard Theatre. Once the “largest colored theatre in the world” drawing to its stage such icons as Booker T. Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, the Duke himself, and later, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Chuck Brown, Aretha Franklin and others, this arts landmark had languished in neglect upon shuttering in the early 1980s. In the wake of a $29 million restoration begun in 2010, the Howard Theatre will be celebrating its grand re-opening on April 12, 2012. Indeed, as Ellington might say, it’s enough to get you “in a sentimental mood.”