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


An East of the River View


— Anacostia Heritage Trail —

Hillsdale Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2016
1. Hillsdale Marker
You are standing in the middle of what once was a large estate owned by James Barry. The Washington City merchant, land speculator, and councilman purchased part of the "St. Elizabeths" tract hoping to profit as the city expanded eastward.

By the end of the Civil War (1861-1865) some 40,000 refugees from slavery had arrived in Washington. They settled where they could, often in terrible conditions. To provide them with housing and education, the U.S. government established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. In 1867 the Freedmen's Bureau bought 375 acres from Barry's heirs to establish a model community. The Bureau sold one-acre lots here, including building materials, and required buyers to construct a 14 X 24-foot two-room house with a peaked roof.

Within two years, more than 500 African American families, both refugees and established Washingtonians, had bought lots. Together they cleared trees and built houses, a church, and a school. After working all day, many families trudged out to Anacostia in the evenings to dig, saw, and hammer by candlelight.

Most Barry Farm men worked
Hillsdale Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2016
2. Hillsdale Marker
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blue collar Jobs, often at St Elizabeths Hospital or across the river at the Navy Yard or the Washington Gas Light plant. But some made livings as government clerks, teachers or professionals. Prominent among these were Frederick Douglass's sons Charles, Lewis, ,and Frederick Jr., and attorney and justice of the peace John Moss, the first African American judicial officer in DC. Smithsonian Institution employee Solomon Brown may have been the most respected. In 1811 voters black and white alike elected him to represent Anacostia in the DC House of Delegates for the first of three terms. Brown introduced the measure changing Barry Farm's name to Hillsdale.
Erected 2013 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 4.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansGovernment & PoliticsNotable PlacesSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Anacostia Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1811.
Location. 38° 51.509′ N, 76° 59.739′ W. Marker is in Southeast Washington in Washington, District of Columbia. It is in Barry Farm. Marker is on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue Southeast north of Eaton Road Southeast, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map.
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Marker is at or near this postal address: 2627 Martin Luther King Jr Avenue Southeast, Washington DC 20020, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Grandpapa's Farm (within shouting distance of this marker); Campbell African Methodist Episcopal Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Barry Farm Dwellings (about 500 feet away); The Curative Powers of Nature (about 600 feet away); Roads That Divide (about 600 feet away); Faith and Action (approx. 0.2 miles away); St. Elizabeths Hospital (approx. Ό mile away); A Navy Town (approx. Ό mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Southeast Washington.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 30, 2023. It was originally submitted on March 4, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 328 times since then and 8 times this year. Last updated on July 5, 2020, by Bruce Guthrie of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 4, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A photo of the reverse side of the marker. • Can you help?

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Feb. 3, 2023