June 13, 2015 - 11:29 am

WAMU reports on the new heritage trail

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On Thursday the Kojo Nnamdi Show aired a program on the new LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail.

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June 03, 2015 - 9:38 am

Heritage Trail signs finally installed

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This week, after years of work, the LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail is finally being installed. The signs scattered throughout both neighborhoods mark important historical sites and form a linear path history buffs can follow for a full tour of both neighborhoods.

This heritage trail is titled Worthy Ambition, a line from a Paul Laurence Dunbar poem about black achievement in spite of slavery.

Cultural Tourism DC, which researches and sponsors these trails, is partnering with the civic associations in both neighborhoods for an official unveiling. Stay tuned for details.

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October 04, 2013 - 2:49 pm

Reminder: Free history walking tour of LeDroit Park this weekend

U Street in 1908U Street in 2009

Come on out Saturday or Sunday for a free history walking tour of LeDroit Park.  I conduct this tour annually as part of WalkingTown DC.

The tours will be on Saturday, October 5 at 1 pm and again on Sunday, October 6 at 10 am. Meet me at the arch at 6th Street and Florida Avenue NW.  The tours are free and open to the public.  No reservations are required.

We’ll cover

  • The neighborhood’s founding
  • Relationship with the Howard Theatre
  • Architectural history
  • The Park at LeDroit
  • Walter Washington
  • Ernest Everett Just
  • Robert & Mary Church Terrell
  • Anna Julia Cooper
  • William Birney
  • Edward Brooke
  • Octavius Williams
  • Oscar De Priest
  • Griffith Stadium
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April 17, 2012 - 8:50 am

Neighborhood history trail nearly complete

LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale history buffs need to mark their calendars for Thursday night. The LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail Working Group will meet to go over updates to the pending bi-neighborhood heritage trail.

You’ve seen these heritage trails elsewhere in Washington. The signs feature historical photographs and explanations of the areas’ historical significance.

At the last meeting we attended, we heard from residents who lived in the neighborhood that stood where the Gage-Eckington School was later built, neighbors who had to walk several extra blocks to school because Washington ran a segregated school system, and neighbors who remember seeing Eleanor Roosevelt visiting what is now Slowe Hall at 3rd and U Streets.

These are the oral histories that Cultural Tourism, which organizes these trails, documents for the historical record and includes in the signs.  So much of Washington’s history, nay human history, is committed to memory that if we don’t record it, it risks being lost.

The trail, which is put together by Cultural Tourism DC, is close to completion, but the next few meetings are critical in determining final details and extra stories that may be incorporated.  Even if you don’t have stories or original research to contribute, attending the meeting solely to listen will be worthwhile.

Thursday, April 19 at 7 pm
St. George’s Church
(basement)
2nd & U Streets NW

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October 05, 2011 - 4:52 pm

Neighboring heritage trail opening soon

Lift Every VoiceCultural Tourism DC is finishing the installation of the signs for the Georgia Ave./Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail. Here is one we spotted outside the Dunbar Theater (now Wells Fargo bank) at 7th and T Streets NW.

The trail opening event will be on Saturday, October 15 at 11 am at the plaza in front of Howard University Hospital.

Work on the heritage trail for LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale has progressed greatly and we are on our way to having our own trail to honor LeDroit Park’s rich history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 21, 2011 - 9:29 am

Get a free historic tour of LeDroit Park

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If you’re interested in the history of LeDroit Park and would like a free history walking tour, you’re in luck!

As part of the biannual WalkingTown DC, your favorite LeDroit blogger will host four free walking tours of the neighborhood.

  • Saturday, September 24, 9 – 10:30 am
  • Sunday, September 25, 9 – 10:30 am
  • Saturday, October 1, 9 – 10:30 am
  • Sunday, October 2, 9 – 10:30 am
Here’s the formal description of the tour:

Worthy Ambition: LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail Preview (LeDroit Park Only)
Meet and end at the arch at Florida Ave. and T St., NW.

Explore the unique architecture and historical figures of LeDroit Park durning this specail preveiw of the Cultural Tourism DC’s LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail, which is currently in development. The neighborhood was developed in 1873 as an exclusive white suburban enclave just beyond the boundaries of the original city. Learn about the neighborhood’s transition in the early 19th century to home of Washington’s black intelligentsia. Neighborhood notables included Dr. Anna J. Cooper, Mayor Walter Washington, Sen. Edward Brooke, Rep. Oscar De Priest, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Mary Church Terrell, Duke Ellington, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others. See unique 19th-century houses built in the Second Empire, Gothic Revival, and Italianate styles. Many of these original house designs appear nowhere else in Washington.

Presented by Left for LeDroit and led by LeDroit resident, blogger, and Cultural Tourism DC’s LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail working group member Eric Fidler.

WalkingTown DC will have free tours citywide.

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May 11, 2011 - 8:54 am

Heritage Trail meeting tonight

The fourth meeting of the LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail working group is this evening. Attend if you’re interested in the history of our neighborhoods and would like to help bring the heritage trail to fruition.

The meeting tonight is at 7 pm at St. George’s Episcopal Church at 2nd and U Streets NW.

In the coming months, Cultural Tourism DC, which sponsors the heritage trails, will collect all the interview transcripts and photographs and draft a series of trail markers like the one pictured right.

After neighborhood review, Cultural Tourism DC will install these markers throughout the neighborhoods marking locations of notable events, buildings, and residents.

Read the flyer for tonight’s meeting.

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April 30, 2011 - 1:56 pm

“Worthy Ambition”

“Look to the heights that are worth your attaining
Keep your feet firm in the path to the goal.
Toward noble deeds every effort be straining.
Worthy ambition is food for the soul!” 

— Paul Laurence Dunbar

The LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail Working Group is devising a tagline for our trail. The trail, as we reported, is currently in the planning stages and should be completed in the coming months.

LeDroit Park was established in 1873 as an exclusive suburb of Washington City. When the demographics changed from exclusively white to majority black a century ago, the neighborhood gained the reputation as the home of Washington’s black intelligentsia.

The word ‘intelligentsia’ is a tad too elitist for a tagline, so we need other suggestions that politely, yet honestly, honor the neighborhood’s history.

One resident suggested a tagline we really like: “Worthy ambition”.

The phrase is aptly pulled from “Emancipation“, an 1890 poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, who resided for several years in LeDroit Park.

Fling out your banners, your honors be bringing,
Raise to the ether your paeans of praise.
Strike every chord and let music be ringing!
Celebrate freely this day of all days.

Few are the years since that notable blessing,
Raised you from slaves to the powers of men.
Each year has seen you my brothers progressing,
Never to sink to that level again.

Perched on your shoulders sits Liberty smiling,
Perched where the eyes of the nations can see.
Keep from her pinions all contact defiling;
Show by your deeds what you’re destined to be.

Press boldly forward nor waver, nor falter.
Blood has been freely poured out in your cause,
Lives sacrificed upon Liberty’s altar.
Press to the front, it were craven to pause.

Look to the heights that are worth your attaining
Keep your feet firm in the path to the goal.
Toward noble deeds every effort be straining.
Worthy ambition is food for the soul!

Up! Men and brothers, be noble, be earnest!
Ripe is the time and success is assured;
Know that your fate was the hardest and sternest
When through those lash-ringing days you endured.

Never again shall the manacles gall you
Never again shall the whip stroke defame!
Nobles and Freemen, your destinies call you
Onward to honor, to glory and fame.

It’s a fine work and an excellent way to capture the neighborhood’s ambitious history.

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April 12, 2011 - 9:14 am

Help write history this Saturday

The third meeting of the LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail working group is Saturday.  Attend if you’re interested in the history of our neighborhoods and would like to help bring the heritage trail to fruition.

The next meeting is Saturday, April 16 at 10 am at the office of the Howard University Community Association, 2731 Georgia Avenue.

In the coming months, Cultural Tourism DC, which sponsors the heritage trails, will collect all the interview transcripts and photographs and draft a series of trail markers like the one pictured right.

After neighborhood review, Cultural Tourism DC will install these markers throughout the neighborhoods marking locations of notable events, buildings, and residents.

Read the flyer for Saturday’s meeting.

 

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May 10, 2010 - 7:37 pm

Heritage Trail for LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale

You’ve seen them around DC.  Those tall signs with historic photos and narratives explaining what happened in that neighborhood 70 or 200 years ago.  Several neighborhoods in DC have heritage trails, courtesy of Cultural Tourism DC.

We in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale are on our way to getting our very own heritage trail, but the LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail Working Group needs your help.

The Working Group will meet on Wednesday, May 12 at 7 pm at St. George’s Episcopal Church (Second & U Streets) to collect stories, old photos, and to plan how to interview our neighborhoods’ long-time residents.

Do you have an old photo or an old story to tell or are you interested in local history?  LeDroit Park has hosted many notable residents from Civil War generals, to Duke Ellington, to Walter Washington, and even Jesse Jackson!

Come join us Wednesday night and learn how you can help.

Wednesday, May 12
7 pm
St. George’s Episcopal Church
Second & U Streets NW

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