Near Northeast in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Get Behind the Wheel
Hub, Home, Heart
—Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —
Across from Ourisman's, at 619 H Street, Pietro Borghese ran Pete's Barbershop for nearly 50 years. Borghese emigrated from Italy in 1920 and opened his business near the homes of many Italian workers and craftsmen. The family got along well with its African American neighbors, recalled his son Carmelo. During the riots of 1968, when Pete's was one of only two white-owned businesses on the block, rioters left the barbershop untouched.
Sanitary Grocery, the forerunner of Safeway, first appeared on H Street in 1909. In the early 1960s, Safeway opened at 600 H, but moved in 1983 to the
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
Hub, Home, Heart: Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail 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 17.)
Location. 38° 54.007′ N, 76° 59.81′ W. Marker is in Near Northeast, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of H Street, NE and 7th Street, NE, on the right when traveling east on H Street, NE. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 640 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. The Fires of 1968 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sanctuaries (about 400 feet away); At the Crossroads (about 500 feet away); Cathy Hughes (approx. 0.2 miles Community Caretakers (approx. ¼ mile away); The Changing Faces of H Street (approx. ¼ mile away); Brickyards to Buildings (approx. 0.3 miles away); Education for All (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map 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. • Industry & Commerce • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 7, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 310 times since then and 12 times this year. Last updated on February 11, 2014, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on October 7, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.