Carnegie Library and Mount Vernon Square

In 1903, steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie made a gift of a public library to the citizens of the District of Columbia.  The building was erected on Mount Vernon Square, a crossroads for major city thoroughfares and a meeting point between what were then downtown’s federal offices and largely white-owned businesses and the African American-dominated U Street commercial corridor and Howard University.  The Washington Public Library served black and white patrons for over 60 years.  Most recently, Apple renovated and restored the building to be a showcase retail space.  But did you know that the world’s first billion-dollar company shares digs with the new D.C. History Center?  It’s home to the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., collector, interpreter, and sharer of District of Columbia history since 1894—shortly before the “Carnegie Library” made its debut.  Join this walk through the Mount Vernon Square Historic District and see it as well as

  • Where riots occurred 100 years ago when heroic black veterans returning home from World War I demanded equal rights;
  • The Pentecostal Holiness church that helped the neighborhood survive the urban renewal era;
  • The arched-ceiling basement space within the 1903 library originally designated as bicycle parking;
  • Breathtaking panoramic photographs that relay D.C. history in captivating detail.

The walk will include a guided tour of the Carnegie Library building.

Led by Carolyn, Washington Walks founder and board member of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.


People who liked this D.C. walking tour also liked: Renewing Urban Renewal and Van Ness and the International Chancery Center



Out of an abundance of caution in regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Washington Walks will not be offering walking tours in 2020. 

Approximately 2 hours
By reservation only

Contact us for a quote for private and group tour bookings.

Book Now
Walk departs from outside the Mount Vernon Square-Convention Center Metro station.
Questions? Answers here.

Our Tours