Metrobus Route 70 travels through some of DC’s oldest neighborhoods and passes by many buildings associated with Black history in the city. Sites highlighted along the route range from monumental federal buildings to local historic fire stations and theaters. As you move along the route, notice the varying architectural styles which date the expanding DC boundaries over time. For example, firehouses became a welcome addition to existing communities as distinctive landmarks, or even predicted future neighborhood development near the boundaries of the District.
Buses on Route 70 also travel through the campus of Howard University, one of the most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. One of the four earliest campus buildings is visible from Georgia Avenue, as is Minor Hall (formerly Minor Normal School), which trained generations of Black educators for eighty years. Some of the oldest Black life insurance companies and other offices, apartments, and stores are also found along this stretch of the route. As Route 70 moves south towards the downtown area, historic buildings such as the O Street Market serve as reminders of the diverse community of Black and European immigrants who lived in neighborhoods along Georgia Avenue and Seventh Street.
Larger federal buildings and monuments dot the landscape as Route 70 traverses the part of the city closest to the National Mall. Namely, the Old Patent Office and the National Bank of Washington demonstrate the nation’s commitment to scientific and economic development throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Additionally landmarked features such as the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial and the idiosyncratic Temperance Fountain reflect some of the civic priorities of the Progressive Era, from Civil War veterans’ affairs to temperance.
This tour hopes to draw your attention to the hidden gems along this route. Start at the historic site that’s closest to you! If you're traveling south on Route 70, click “Next” to follow along. If you’re traveling north, click “Previous.”