Best Literary Landmarks in Washington, D.C.

January 18, 2014 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Frederick Douglass Museum

The D.C. area is a treasure trove of history that touches nearly every craft and discipline. With its historic architecture, it’s no surprise that the area is home to major landmarks that are significant to the literary world. Here are a few.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Josiah Henson Park
11420 Old Georgetown Road
North Bethesda, MD 20852
(301) 650-4373

Author Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” imprinted this location upon the hearts and minds of readers and solidified it as a literary landmark. Located in North Bethesda, the home is situated on the historic Isaac Riley Farm (within Josiah Henson Park) where the Reverend Josiah Henson, upon whom the novel is based, lived and worked as a slave from 1795 to 1830. Henson escaped to freedom in Canada in 1830 and later published his autobiography “The Life of Josiah Henson” in 1849. Stowe’s novel was inspired by Henson’s writings.

Related: Best Book Clubs To Join In DC

The Homes of Langston Hughes
Row Home
Dupont Circle
1749 S St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009

Thurgood Marshall Center For Service And Heritage, Shaw
1816 12th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 462-8314

Langston Hughes was a legendary poet, novelist and playwright known as the leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Although his residence in Washington, DC was brief—a little over a year—he published his first book of poems while living there and left an indelible impact upon the city. In 1925, Hughes once shared a row home with his mother and brother in the Dupont Circle neighborhood on S Street. The family occupied two rooms on the second floor of the house. Hughes also lived briefly at the local YMCA on 12th Street which has now become the Thurgood Marshall Center. The center has recreated a single-occupancy room much like the one once rented by the famous poet which is open to the public during its normal business hours.

Related: Best Literary Landmarks In DC

Frederick Douglass Museum And Caring Hall Of Fame
Capitol Hill
320 A St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 547-4273

Situated in the heart of Capitol Hill, the museum was the very first home of abolitionist, author and statesman Frederick Douglass. The restored property contains Douglass memorabilia, art and photos, as well as exhibits in his honor. It also serves as a tribute to caring Americans, both past and present, who embody Douglass’ humanitarian spirit. Such individuals receive the Caring Award, a yearly award bestowed upon the world’s most caring individuals who act on behalf of justice, equality and human rights.

The Cleveland Abbe House – Arts Club Of Washington
2017 I St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 331-7282

Since 1916, the Cleveland Abbe House has been home to the Arts Club of Washington, which acts as host to influential writers, artists, musicians and performers who visit DC. The home’s original owner, Cleveland Abbe, was known as the father of the United States Weather Bureau. With about 300 published papers, Abbe made significant contributions to meteorology. He purchased the house shortly after moving to DC to oversee the establishment and growth of the weather bureau.

Kevin Don Porter is the author of OVER THE EDGE and MISSING—two mysteries available on Visit his website at

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