'Home Rule and Democracy Day' Proclaimed By Mayor and Council
Bronze plqaue to dedicate Rhodes Tavern to be erected
For more information contact: James Jones, Communications Director
202.462.6000 x12 office / 202.557.4864 mobile / email@example.com
June 6, 2002
A bronze plaque commemorating the historic Rhodes Tavern will be dedicated on Friday June 7, at 12:00 noon on the NE corner of 15th & F Streets, NW (Metropolitan Square). The Rhodes Tavern, Washington's first Town Hall and the birthplace of democracy in the District, was demolished in 1984.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the District of Columbia Council have declared June 7 "Home Rule and Democracy Day" in the District in recognition of Rhodes Tavern's role as a polling place in the election of a Council for the City of Washington on June 7, 1802. The plaque depicts the Tavern as a polling place in that first historic election. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Council Chairwoman Linda Cropp, Councilmember Jack Evans and other Councilmembers are scheduled to attend. Mayor Anthony Williams has been invited.
The importance of Rhodes Tavern to District residents is that its unique history demonstrates that the issues of democracy, home rule and representation in Congress have been around for more than 200 years. District residents have always wanted the blessings of liberty granted to the citizens of the 50 States. They continue to seek those blessings, including representation in Congress.
This year has three important bicentennial dates for the District. May 3 was the 200th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson signing an Act of Congress authorizing an elected Council for the old City of Washington. June 7th is the 200th anniversary of the first election of that Council. Finally, June 14th will be the 200th anniversary of the first meeting of that Council, which held its meetings in the U. S. Capitol.
Next Friday, June 14, the present Council will hold a ceremonial meeting in the U. S. Capitol to commemorate the first Council (call Councilmember Jack Evans for more information: 202-724-8058).
Also, next Friday, a petition for D. C. voting rights in Congress will be submitted to Congress. A press conference will be held on June 14 at 12:00 noon in the Upper Senate Park. It was from a citizens' meeting at Rhodes Tavern that one of the first petitions for voting rights and self-government for the District of Columbia emanated in 1801.
After a six-year effort to save it and have it incorporated into the Metropolitan Square development, the Rhodes Tavern was demolished in 1984. The Oliver T. Carr Company turned down all requests to save the Tavern on its historic site. In 1983, a ballot initiative to preserve it was overwhelmingly approved by District voters. Unfortunately, the D.C. Courts nullified the initiative to save Rhodes Tavern. The building was torn down on September 10, 1984, and Metropolitan Square was built. Subsequently, Metropolitan Square was sold to Boston Properties, the present owner. Mortimer Zuckerman, Chairman of Boston Properties, approved the placing of the first plaque in 1999, the 200th anniversary of the construction of Rhodes Tavern. That plaque outlines the history of the Tavern. The second plaque, also approved by Boston Properties, depicts how the building appeared in 1802 and shows the original Treasury building in the background. It is based on a watercolor by renowned local artist, Ken Frye. This painting will be present at the dedication.