Federal Triangle Attractions

U.S. Navy Memorial

Across Pennsylvania Avenue from the FTC, between 7th and 9th streets, stands the U.S. Navy Memorial. When Pierre L'Enfant laid out the city of Washington, he planned such a memorial to celebrate the Navy, however, this plan was not realized until the 20th century. Dedicated in 1987, the memorial plaza honors personnel of the American Navy and all the navies of the world. It's most famous feature is the statue of the Lone Sailor created by sculptor Stanley Bleifield. Its bronze casting is mixed with artifacts from eight U.S. Navy ships from the post-revolutionary USS Constitution to the nuclear-powered submarine USS Seawolf. Adjacent to the plaza is the Naval Heritage Center which features rotating exhibits and daily film screenings about sea service. It is open to the public free of charge.

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Mathew Brady's Studio

Opposite the north side of the FTC at 633 Pennsylvania Avenue is the former site of the studio of famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady. Considered a pioneer of photojournalism for his battlefield documentation and stark presentations of the realities of war, he also photographed almost every president from John Quincy Adams to William McKinley. His photographs of Abraham Lincoln have been used for the $5 bill and the Lincoln penny.

In the early 1800s, portrait painter Gilbert Stuart also had a studio in the same block of Pennsylvania Avenue. Among his best known works are portraits of the nation's founding fathers including Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison. Perhaps his most famous painting is that of George Washington which still hangs in the East Room of the White House. It survives today thanks to First Lady Dolly Madison who saved it from burning when the British invaded the city in 1814.

615 Pennsylvania Avenue

Less than four months after the British invaded and burned Washington in 1814 a dinner was held at a hotel in the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue to honor the retiring Secretary of the Navy. According to press reports, it ended with the singing of drinking songs and the offering of some 25 toasts. The melody of one of the songs would have been familiar, having long been a popular drinking tune in both England and America. On the night of December 14, 1814, new lyrics, composed by Frances Scott Key during the Battle of Fort McHenry, were sung. Today a plaque at 615 Pennsylvania Avenue NW marks the site where The Star Spangled Banner was sung in the nation's capital for the first time.

National Gallery of Art

Across Constitution Avenue stands the National Gallery of Art, established by Congress in 1937 for the people of the U.S. The collection traces the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present. The core collection and funds for construction were donated by Andrew W. Mellon. Serving as Secretary of the Treasury, Mellon was the driving force behind creation of the Federal Triangle in the 1920s and 30s. The original West Building was designed by John Russell Pope who also designed the Jefferson Memorial and the National Archives Building. Opened in 1941, it is connected underground to the East Building, designed by I.M. Pei and completed in 1978. The National Gallery is open to the public free of charge.

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Last Reviewed 2016-09-02