A Second National Mall: The East Capitol Street That Might Have Been


As D.C. United eyes a new location at Buzzard Point, city leaders have proposed competing visions for RFK stadium and the surrounding neighborhood. It’s not the first time East Capitol Street has been the subject of architectural aspirations — planning documents show it was once slated to become a second National Mall.

A plan developed by the National Capital Planning Commission (then the National Capital Park and Planning Commission) from the 1920s into the 1930s would have extended the existing corridor between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol all the way east to the Anacostia River.

In “Worthy Of The Nation: Washington DC, from L’Enfant to the National Capital Planning Commission” by Frederick Gutheim and Antoinette J. Lee, the extension is described:

As a result of continuing concern for balance and sight lines, the Planning Commission envisioned a lineal development of public and semipublic buildings along East Capitol Street, terminating in a sports center facing the Anacostia River. Also called the ‘Avenue of the States’ because of plans for new structures to house exhibits and information centers for each sovereign state or groups of states, the East Capitol Street corridor was to relieve traffic congestion west of the Capitol.

Read the full article at WAMU.org.

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