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Mahaning Heights in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“What Magic Has Been Wrought Here”

A Self-Reliant People

 

—Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail —

 
“What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
1. “What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker
Inscription.
Front: On, May 18,1966, Crowds Gathered here to witness Lady Bird Johnson (1912-2007) rededicate eight acres of Watts Branch Park.

“No one more than the residents of this area knows what magic has been wrought here at Watts Branch,” observed the First Lady. Hundreds of volunteers had cleared tons of garbage, replacing it with flower beds, trees, and well-manicured grass. But Lady Bird Johnson's Capital Beautification initiative didn't stop with surface beauty. She raised America's awareness of the threats from pollution, urban decay, and lack of recreational opportunities.

Despite the attention to Watts Branch, city officials ignored the blight of Kenilworth Dump, formerly located across the railroad tracks to your right. Back in 1942, when they selected the dump's location, officials simply saw it as remote from downtown. They ignored how close it was to River Terrace, Deanwood, and surrounding communities. For decades, smoke from burning garbage polluted the air and land, and toxic run-off contaminated the landscape, Watts Branch, and the Anacostia.

Still people found ways to benefit from the dump. Some adults tracked the arrival of department store trucks filled with useable goods and recycled them, often repairing them for their use
“What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
2. “What Magic Has Been Wrought Here” Marker
or for sale. Longtime resident Thomas Childs recalled childhood adventures in the dump. “We would take our wagons and … go shopping” for parts to make go-carts. Despite continuous complaints, Kenilworth Dump was not closed until 1968, after seven-year-old Kelvin Mock died tragically in a pile of burning trash. Although illegal dumping continued into the 1990s, the reclaimed grounds now offer public recreation.

Back:
Long an Country Town at the edge of Washington DC's urban center, Deanwood was forged out of former slave plantations during decades following the Civil War. It became one of Washington's earliest predominantly African American Communities.

Greater Deanwood today emcompasses the historic neighborhoods of Deanwood, Burrville, Lincoln Heights, and Whittingham.

In the 1800s, much of Washington's development followed decisions made by city leaders and investors, who favored areas northwest of Anacostia. Land here remained relatively untouched, and many streets were unpaved into the 1960s. Because builders chose not to apply racial restrictions on who could buy here, African American migrants found Deanwood welcoming, affordable, and convenient. The pioneering National Training School for Women and Girls, founded by Nannie Helen Burroughs (whose portrait appears on each Deanwood Heritage Trail sign), attracted
Beautification image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
3. Beautification
Residents of Lincoln Heights prepare flower beds as part of the beautification drive, 1966.
Close-up of photo on marker
educators to the neighborhood. New residents often built their own homes and created communities where for years no one locked their doors, adults treated all children as their own, and children behaved accordingly. On this trail you will see rich parkland, handcrafted dwellings, and religious and social gathering places that have made Deanwood an oasis of dignity and self-determination for generations.
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 13 of 15.)
 
Location. 38° 54.108′ N, 76° 56.551′ W. Marker is in Mahaning Heights, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, Northeast and Minnesota Avenue, Northeast when traveling east on Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, Northeast. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20019, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 100 Years of Afro-American History (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Designed to Compete (about 800 feet away); From Gambling to Garden Apartments (approx. 0.2 miles away); Shopping on Sheriff (approx. 0.3 miles away); With These Hands (approx. half
Rededication image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
4. Rededication
Lady Bird Johnson rededicates Watts Branch Park, May 18, 1966
Close-up of photo on marker
a mile away); Fort Mahan (approx. 0.6 miles away); From Gardens to Garden Apartments (approx. 0.6 miles away); A Whirl on the Ferris Wheel (was approx. 0.6 miles away but has been reported missing. ). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mahaning Heights.
 
Categories. Environment
 
The Politics of Trash image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
5. The Politics of Trash
A Washington Post editorial of 1968 placed the tragedy of Kelvin Mock's death in the context of the larger trash disposal issue.
Close-up of photo on marker
Burning Garbage image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
6. Burning Garbage
Smoke billowed from burning garbage at the dump, while men unloaded their cargo of discards in 1967.
Close-up of photo on marker
Former Dump image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
7. Former Dump
A city official surveys the former Kenilworth Dump after its reclamation for parkland, 1970. The PEPCO plant is in the background.
Marvin Gaye Park<br>Lady Bird Johnson Meadow image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
8. Marvin Gaye Park
Lady Bird Johnson Meadow
Marvin Gaye<br>“The Prince of Soul” image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 6, 2017
9. Marvin Gaye
“The Prince of Soul”
2010 Portrait of Marvin Gaye by G. Byron Peck
Dedication plaque on the grounds of Marvin Gaye Park image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 3, 2017
10. Dedication plaque on the grounds of Marvin Gaye Park

The planting of this Yoshino cherry tree is symbolic of the love, strength, and caring nature Conrad Nathaniel Wilson, "JR" offered his family and those who knew him well.

December 5, 1950 - May 7, 2013

The Fenton Group


Granite Marker Donation
Stewart Funeral Home, Inc.
4001 Benning Road, NE
Washington, DC
April 27, 2014
Yoshino cherry tree dedicated in the memory of Conrad Nathaniel "JR" Wilson image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 3, 2017
11. Yoshino cherry tree dedicated in the memory of Conrad Nathaniel "JR" Wilson
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 8, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 103 times since then. Last updated on November 23, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 8, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7, 8, 9. submitted on May 11, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   10, 11. submitted on December 3, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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