Freedom Plaza

Freedom Plaza in the Foreground - Looking Southeast Along Pennsylvania Avenue With The United States Capitol Visible In the Distance

Freedom Plaza in the Foreground - Looking Southeast Along Pennsylvania Avenue With The United States Capitol Visible In the Distance

Freedom Plaza, originally known as Western Plaza, was renamed to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the photograph above the United States Capitol is visible at the far end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Also to the right of the Capitol and a good bit closer is the Old Post Office Pavilion with a tower that provides an excellent view of Freedom Plaza and most of Washington DC’s well known sites.

There is a metal inscription and model of Freedom Plaza on the top of the north wall not so far from the pool at the west end (near 14th Street NW). The wall is short, probably only about 18 inches high, so it is easy to see the model. The inscription above the model reads:

Western Plaza Pennsylvania Avenue

Western Plaza consists of a large raised terrace in which part of L’Enfant’s original 1791 plan for Washington, D.C. is rendered in black and white stone. At one end of the raised terrace is a pool. At the other is a shaded sitting area around a statute of General Pulaski.

Inscribed on the upper terrace are historic quotations about Washington. Low walls separate the plaza from the surrounding traffic. Eleven large urns rest on top of these walls and contain seasonal planting. The upper map terrace has a grass lawn where the mall occurs and inlaid bronze plans of the White House and the Capitol located at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The inlays illustrate L’Enfant’s intention to have these two buildings balance each other and symbolize two main branches of government. The siting of the Treasury in the 19th Century blocked the view of the White House and obscured this relationship.

L’Enfant’s plan of Washington combines two orders of scale. The giant order is the diagonal avenues that sometimes terminate in a building or a monument. This order characterizes the federal scale of the city. The minor order is the rectangular grid pattern of the local structure of the city.

Western Plaza acknowledges both orders since it is shaped by the rectangular grid of the local scale and is an element within the giant order of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Model of Freedom Plaza Located On the Low North Wall Near the Pool

Model of Freedom Plaza Located On the Low North Wall Near the Pool

The following references are to the model:
1. Pool
2. White House
3. Mall
4. L’Enfant’s Plan
5. Capitol
6. Pulaski Statute

Freedom Plaza is located between 13th and 14th Streets NW where Pennsylvania Avenue intersects those two streets. In fact Freedom Plaza is right where Pennsylvania Avenue would be if it were not been slightly rerouted in order to make room for the Plaza. Click Here for Google Map showing the location of Freedom Plaza.

Closest Metro Station: The Federal Triangle Metro Station on the Blue and Orange Lines is the nearest Metro Station to Freedom Plaza, although in The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, he does make something of the fact that the Metro Center Metro Station on the Blue, Orange and Red Lines is also nearby.

Lost Symbol by Dan Brown: Freedom Plaza is mentioned in chapters 75, 76, 78 and 79.


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