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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Northeast in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Enterprising Families

Hub, Home, Heart

 

—Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —

 
Enterprising Families Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
1. Enterprising Families Marker
Inscription. The small scale and low rents of H Street's oldest buildings have lured waves of immigrant entrepreneurs since the buildings were new in the 1880s. By 1930, alongside Greek, Italian, Irish, and other immigrant-owned shops, at least 75 Jewish-owned businesses operated on H Street.

Abe and Anna Shulman ran a dry goods store and lived at 1237 H, with a kitchen in back and living quarters upstairs. Two of their five children remained on H Street as adults: Israel, a dentist, and Fred, who sold baby furniture and toys. Known as the "Queen of H Street," Anna founded the Hebrew Sheltering Society to house recent imigrants, and led the Sisterhood, a women's aid society, for Ezras Israel Synagogue at Eighth and I Streets. The Shulmans and most of their Jewish neighbors had emigrated from Russia around 1900.

In the 1950s former boxer Eddie Leonard brought sandwiches to H Street. A decade later Chuck Brown, the future "Godfather of Go-Go," bought his first guitar at Chuck and Marge Levin's music store at 1237 H Street. In 1968, after looters destroyed their store, the Levins moved to Wheaton, Maryland, opening Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center.

At 1238 H is the former office of Granville Moore, M.D., a native Washingtonian, World War II veteran (Buffalo Soldier), Howard University faculty member, and civil rights activist
Shops and the "Queen of H Street" image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
2. Shops and the "Queen of H Street"
Upper Left: Esther Love, Edith Abraham, Tom (the shoemaker) and owner Joseph Love at Reliable Footware, around 1921.

Upper Right: Jacob and Sadie Fischer ran Fischer Grocery at 1379 H St. in the 1920s.

Lower Center: "Queen of H Street" Anna Shulman, second from right, with her husband Abraham and children, from left, Lorraine, Ethel, Israel (Sonny), Fred, and May, around 1937.
who practiced medicine here for more than 50 years. Former patients also recollect how Dr. Moore (1916-2003) made house calls and treated the ill free of charge two days a week.

(Back):
Trains and streetcars created the Near Northeast neighborhood around H Street. The B&O Railroad's arrival in 1835 made this a center of energetic, working-class life. Workmen living north of the Capitol staffed the Government Printing Office, ran the trains, stocked the warehouses, and built Union Station. When a streetcar arrived linking H Street to downtown, new construction quickly followed.

H Street bustled with shops and offices run by Jewish, Italian, Lebanese, Greek, Irish, and African American families. During the segregation era, which lasted into the 1950s, African Americans came to H Street for its department stores and sit-down restaurants. Most businesses welcomed all customers.

Then came the civil disturbances in the wake of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968. Decades of commercial decline followed. Just off H Street, though, the strong residential community endured. The 2005 opening of the Atlas Performing Arts Center signaled a revival, building evocatively on H Street's past. Hub, Home, Heart is a bridge to carry you from that past to the present.

Hub, Home, Heart: Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
Dr. Granville Moore image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
3. Dr. Granville Moore
Dr. Granville Moore treating a patient at Freedmen's Hospital, left, and with his children Judith and Granville, Jr., 1952.
is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided, 3.2-mile tour of 18 signs offers about two hours of gentle exercise. Free keepsake guidebooks in English or Spanish are available at businesses and institutions along the way. For more on DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 13.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Buffalo Soldiers marker series.
 
Location. 38° 54.018′ N, 76° 59.331′ W. Marker is in Near Northeast, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of H Street, NE and 13th Street, NE, on the right when traveling east on H Street, NE. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1237 H Street, NE, Washington DC 20002, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Culture and Commerce (within shouting distance of this marker); Mediterranean Imports (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Changing Faces of H Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Hub (approx. ¼ mile away); Brickyards to Buildings (approx. 0.3 miles away); At the Crossroads
Sandwich Shop and Music Store image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
4. Sandwich Shop and Music Store
Left: Gallaudet students enjoy a meal at Eddie Leonard's Sandwich Shops at 1251 H St., 1950s.

Right: Chuck and Marge Levin with a customer in their music store, 1960s.
(approx. 0.3 miles away); The Fires of 1968 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Get Behind the Wheel (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Near Northeast.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
 
Categories. Notable Places
 
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
5. Back of Marker
Gilbert's Bike Shop image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
6. Gilbert's Bike Shop
Among the small Jewish-owned H Street businesses of the 1920s was Gilbert's Bike Shop.
Map of the H Street Heritage Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
7. Map of the H Street Heritage Trail
Enterprising Families Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
8. Enterprising Families Marker
H Street Neighborhood Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 29, 2012
9. H Street Neighborhood Today
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 258 times since then and 8 times this year. Last updated on , by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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