I have led historic walking tours of LeDroit Park for five years as part of the annual WalkingTown DC event. You can download the guide I wrote and related images and walk the tour yourself. The tour starts and ends at the arch at 6th and T Streets.
The tour, when spoken to a crowd, takes about 90 minutes. If you read it silently, you can finish it faster.
If you want to learn about the architectural details of LeDroit Park, e.g. what makes a house Second Empire, check out the excellent LeDroit Park Conserved, a preservation book about LeDroit Park produced for the District government in the 1970s.
Did you know a house in Bloomingdale was the center of a landmark Supreme Court ruling on fair housing in 1948? Explore civil rights history in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale on a walking tour next month. The tour, Mapping Segregation, will explore the history and eventual Supreme Court dismantling of de jure housing segregation.
Discover these topics on foot with historian Sarah Shoenfeld, who has extensively documented the history of racially restrictive covenants in DC.
In honor of the September 3 birthday of groundbreaking civil rights attorney Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950), historian Sarah Shoenfeld will lead a walking tour of DC’s adjacent LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale neighborhoods. Shoenfeld co-directs the online public history project Mapping Segregation in Washington DC, which shows how racially restrictive housing covenants kept much of Bloomingdale off-limits to African Americans until the 1940s. Houston, former Dean of Howard University’s law school and a NAACP attorney, waged numerous legal battles over housing in this neighborhood. One of them, Hurd v. Hodge, contributed to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that racial covenants were unenforceable. This tour will feature some of the houses and blocks subject to battles over covenants, and the shifting geographic lines that divided African Americans from whites in this area over the first half of the 20th century.
Sunday, September 11 at 10 am
Meet at the arch at 6th and T Streets NW
Price: $15 – buy tickets online from the Hill Center
The Washington Post published a profile of our neighborhood in the real estate section. Here’s the lede:
It’s one of Washington’s most distinctive neighborhoods. Dotted with quirky freestanding homes in a variety of styles, originally designed as a gated suburb and later the place to be for the District’s African American intelligentsia, LeDroit Park has always been unusual.
Read the full story in the Post.
Pope Francis is in Washington visiting President Obama, addressing Congress, canonizing Junípero Serra, addressing the public, and leading masses. He’s also reuniting with a former student, Yayo Grassi, a LeDroit Park resident.
Mr. Grassi grew up in Argentina, where Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was one of his teachers. Mr. Grassi moved to LeDroit Park in the 1990s and runs a catering company whose food I get to devour at a local Christmas party every year.
Today Mr. Grassi (in the blue jacket), reunited with his former teacher at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican’s Embassy in Washington.
The LeDroit Park Civic Association has organized some social events for everyone to attend.
The next neighborhood happy hour will be on Tuesday, September 8 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at BKK Cookshop (1700 New Jersey Ave NW). BKK, named for Bangkok’s airport code, is located in the former Beau Thai space, which recently decamped for 7th Street in Shaw.
The Civic Association will also host a neighborhood block party on Saturday, September 12th from noon to 6 pm. The party will be held on the 300 block of U Street. Everyone is welcome to attend and bring additional food.
How do you convert a rundown carriage house into a compact apartment? One LeDroit Park resident did it with $50,000 and some elbow grease. The converted unit, which the owner rents on airbnb, is nestled in the quiet alley that connects Fourth and Fifth Streets just south of T Street.
I’m friends with the owner and he gave me a tour as he was starting the renovation two years ago. It’s great to see such a drastic transformation. Read the full story in the Washington Post.
Meet your neighbors over free ice cream sundaes, ice cream floats, banana splits, brownies, and cookies. The LeDroit Park Civic Association is hosting an ice cream social on Thursday, July 30 from 6 to 8pm in Ms. Norman’s backyard (1853 3rd St NW).
Brianne Nadeau, who represents Ward 1 on the DC Council, will be in attendance.
Attendance is free, but please R.S.V.P. so we know how much ice cream to buy
There are two interesting events going on tomorrow:
Masjid Muhammad Community Open House
Masjid Muhammad is the mosque at 1519 Fourth Street NW in Shaw. The mosque is hosting an open house tomorrow from 11 am to 4 pm.
Eight Annual D.C. Truck Touch
The D.C. Government is hosting its annual “truck touch”, an event where residents (especially kids!) get to sit in firetrucks, touch the police helicopter, watch DC Water’s sewer robot in action, gaze at snow plows, peer under street sweepers, and much more.
The Truck Touch is tomorrow from 8 am to 1 pm at Lot 7 at RFK Stadium. View some photos I took of the 2010 Truck Touch.
Meet your neighbors and explore a new local business at next week’s LeDroit Park happy hour. This month we are going to Calabash (1847 7th St NW) on Tuesday, June 9 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Calabash is the new tea shop that opened by the Shaw Metro.
In other news, the Washington Business Journal has a good summary of the retail transformation of Shaw, which is attracting high-end and boutique retailers who used to set up shop in Georgetown instead.
Over a year ago someone launched a drone from the roof of the Progression Place apartments on 7th Street by the Shaw Metro. The drone recorded high-definition video footage of the LeDroit Park, Shaw, and U Street neighborhoods.
Before you go launching your own drone, remember that they’re illegal in DC’s airspace!