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SHAW_090322_007.JPG: Kennedy Recreation Center.
Stop #10 on the Shaw Heritage tour: Community Anchors:
Seventh and O Streets, NW
At Seventh and O Streets stands the tower of the O Street Market.When the market opened in 1881, and refrigerators had not yet been invented, people shopped here daily for everything from live chickens to fresh tomatoes. At first the vendors were German immigrants. By the 1960s, most were African American. Damaged in the riots of 1968, the market was restored in 1980 but lost its roof in a 2003 snowstorm.
On the east side of Seventh, landscaper John Saul began planting fruit trees in 1852. His son, B. Francis Saul, later opened a real estate business that became the B.F. Saul Company and Chevy Chase Bank. During the Civil War, the Union Army camped here at Wisewell Barracks and Hospital.
Rowhouses facing Sixth Street eventually replaced Wisewell Barracks, sharing the square with the Henry, Polk, and Central High schools for white students. Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, class of 1913, is Central's best-known graduate. Central High School moved in 1916 to a grand new facility astride the 13th Street hill (now Cardozo High School).
In the 1950s, the entire block was leveled for a playground. Completed in 1964, the playground was dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy. Kids eager for play space clambered on its 1888 steam locomotive, a tugboat, and two surplus Air Force jets. But after the riots of 1968 burned neighboring buildings, much of the playground's equipment was removed, and the facility became crime-ridden. Friends of Kennedy Playground led clean-up efforts in the 1990s, and a new recreation center opened here in 2003.
SHAW_090322_127.JPG: Seventh Street Savings Bank.
Stop #11 on the Shaw Heritage Trail: Seventh Street Develops:
Seventh and N Streets, NW
In 1864, St. Patrick's Parish opened a new mission church -- Immaculate Conception Church -- for Catholics living far from St. Patrick's downtown F Street home. The current imposing, Gothic style building opened a decade later. Renowned actress Helen Hayes was baptized here in 1900. Immaculate Conception's community work included its Washington Catholic Hour radio show on WOL (1921-1962). For 99 years, until 1964, the church operated Immaculate Conception School for boys at 711 N Street. It is now an elementary school. Girls attended Immaculate Conception Academy nearby at Eighth and Q streets until 1954. After much of this area was destroyed in the 1968 riots, Monsignor Joshua Mundell of Immaculate Conception worked to stabilize the neighborhood, encouraging church and federal government collaborations to build modern apartments.
The Seventh Street Savings Bank building is a remnant of the block's business era. The combination bank/residential building opened in 1912. After many mergers, it closed for good in 1983.
Seventh Street developed as a business street because of good transportation. Back in 1810, Congress chartered the Seventh Street Turnpike from Pennsylvania Avenue to Rockville,Maryland. At first omnibuses (horse-drawn wagons) carried passengers along Seventh. Then in 1862 Congress chartered street railways, with a Seventh Street line. Leading abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner made sure that the charter prohibited segregation on the streetcars. The first electric streetcars (1888) ran along New York Avenue to Seventh, but in 1962 were replaced by buses. The latest innovation, Metro's Green and Yellow lines, opened in 1991 after seven disruptive years of construction.
SHAW_090322_202.JPG: The Alley at Naylor Court.
Stop #4 on the Shaw Heritage Trail: Alley Life:
O Street and Naylor Court, NW
The lanes of Naylor Court , laid out in the 1860s, were among hundreds of intersecting alleys that were hidden behind DC houses, especially in Shaw. Stables, workshops, sheds, and cheaply built two-story houses filled these alleys. While many of Naylor Court's original dwellings are gone, a few remain. Naylor Court's alleys form half of today's Blagden Alley-Naylor Court Historic District.
Starting with the Civil War housing crisis, builders crammed scores of dwellings into tight spaces such as these. Most dwellings lacked running water, plumbing, or electricity, and they quickly became dilapidated. Yet the need for shelter was desperate. In 1908 more than 300 people filled 50 Blagden Alley dwellings, averaging seven per household and paying $6 a month in rent.
In 1900 Nochen Kafitz, a Lithuanian immigrant, opened a grocery in his house a few blocks away on Glick Alley. (The alley, now gone, once lay between Sixth, Seventh, and S streets and Rhode Island Avenue.) His son, Morris (1887-1964), changed his name to Cafritz and became a key DC real estate developer and philanthropist.
New alley dwelling construction was outlawed in 1934, and many alleys were cleared of housing. But some hidden alleys lingered, attracting prostitutes, gamblers, drug dealers, and speakeasies. Others, though, were tightly knit communities, where people who just happened to be poor looked out for one another.
Since the 1980s, the alley's small dwellings, former carriage barns, and horse stalls have housed artists' studios and residences as well as working garages. In 1990 the city moved its archives to the former Tally Ho Stables, built in 1883.
SHAW_090322_351.JPG: Midcity at the Crossroads
Shaw Heritage Trail #3
Ninth and M Streets, NW
A post-Civil War building boom brought grand new houses and important people to Midcity.
By 1881 Blanche Kelso Bruce, the first African American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate, lived on this block. Born enslaved in Virginia, Bruce (1841-1898) escaped from slavery, attended Oberlin College, and then became rich buying abandoned plantations in Mississippi after the Civil War. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1875, Bruce worked to aid destitute African Americans and improve government treatment of Native Americans. Later he served as register of the U.S. Treasury and recorder of deeds for Washington, DC.
Bruce and his wife, Josephine Willson Bruce (1852-1923), a founder of the National Association of Colored Women (1896), lived in the Second Empire French style house at 909 M Street.
Major John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) and his family moved to 910 M Street (since demolished) in 1881 after he took over the U.S. Geological Survey. Powell had lost his right arm during a Civil War battle. Nonetheless he led the first official survey of the Grand Canyon in 1869, and promoted Native American rights.
After 1910, small houses, commercial buildings, apartments, and immigrant churches developed here. The affluent gradually moved on, and their mansions were divided into apartments or rooming houses. So long as racially restrictive housing covenants limited opportunities, Shaw was a mixed-income, black neighborhood. Then in the 1960s, with new "open housing" laws, many people of means left, bringing a temporary decline to the area.
In the 1960s many buildings on the east side of Ninth Street were cleared for urban renewal, but the resulting lot remained empty. In 2003 the Washington Convention Center opened on the site.
SHAW_090322_363.JPG: McCullough Haven
SHAW_090905_010.JPG: Gonzaga College High School
Wikipedia Description: Shaw, Washington, D.C.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Shaw is a neighborhood in Northwest, Washington, D.C. It is roughly bounded by M Street NW to the south; New Jersey Avenue NW to the east; Florida Avenue NW to the north; and 11th Street NW to the west--although there is a westward panhandle that extends to 16th Street between S Street and Florida Avenue. Shaw once included the areas of smaller neighborhoods, such as Logan Circle and Truxton Circle, but in recent years those neighborhoods have grown into their own and become separate from Shaw.
Shaw grew out of freed slave encampments in the rural outskirts of Washington City. It was named after Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
Shaw thrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the pre-Harlem center of African-American intellectual and cultural life. Howard Theological Seminary received its first matriculates in 1866; by 1925, Professor Alain Locke was advancing the idea of "The New Negro," and Langston Hughes was descending from Le Droit Park to hear the "sad songs" of 7th Street. The most famous Shaw native to emerge from this period—sometimes called the Black Renaissance of DC—was Duke Ellington.
Following the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, riots erupted in many D.C. neighborhoods, including Shaw, Columbia Heights, and the H Street NE Corridor. The 1968 Washington, D.C. riots marked the beginning of a decline in population and development that would condemn much of the inner city to a generation of economic decay.
Shaw, like Logan Circle, is a mostly residential neighborhood of 19th century Victorian row houses. The allure of these houses, Shaw's central location, and the booming D.C. housing market have begun to transform Shaw through gentrification. According to Census records from 1970, 92% of Shaw's residents were black; in 2000, 56% were black . Shaw's notable place in African American history has made the recent influx of affluent professionals particularly controversial.
Infrastructure and landmarks:
Shaw is served by the Mt. Vernon Square Metro, Shaw/Howard Univ and U St/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Green Line Metro stations.
Shaw's landmarks include Ben's Chili Bowl, the Lincoln Theatre, and the north portion of the Washington Convention Center.
"Little Ethiopia" controversy:
Since around 2001, a number of Ethiopian restaurants and retail businesses have either opened or moved from nearby Adams Morgan into Shaw, settling in particular on the once desolate block of 9th Street NW between U and T Streets. This influx of Ethiopians has revitalized the corridor, prompting members of that enterprising community to lobby the city to officially designate the block as "Little Ethiopia." Shaw residents, however, have loudly expressed opposition to the proposal, feeling that such a designation would unfairly isolate that area from the historically African American Shaw. As of 2006, there has been no resolution to the conflict.
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