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

A Neighborhood Oasis

An East-of-the-River View

 

—Anacostia Heritage Trail —

 
A Neighborhood Oasis Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 15, 2018
1. A Neighborhood Oasis Marker
Inscription. Follow Good Hope Road under the highway to your left to reach Anacostia Park, a longtime neighborhood oasis.

In 1914, after years of citizen requests, Congress directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to "improve" the Anacostia River by scraping soil from the river bed and depositing it into the "flats," the marshes lining the banks. The improvement would eliminate mosquito-breeding ground and provide new land for parks. Construction on Anacostia Park started in 1923. Later Anacostia Citizens Association President George C. Havenner marveled: "Where is there another such town with a $4,000,000 park in its front yard with its homes sitting on hills like box seats in an amphitheater!"

The dramas that played out on that stage were not always pretty. In the hot summer of 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, some 15,000 ragged World War I veterans and their families known as the Bonus Army, set up camp in the park. They were part of a group of 45,000 that had come to Washington to try to collect — 13 years ahead of schedule — a bonus payment due in 1945. When Congress tabled their request, President Hoover feared their anger and directed the U.S. Army to clear out the camp. The troops chased people out and burned their shelters. Many were injured, and a child died.

Violence erupted
A Neighborhood Oasis Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 15, 2018
2. A Neighborhood Oasis Marker
again in 1949 when the Department of the Interior desegregated the Anacostia Park swimming pool. Since opening in 1937, the pool had been restricted to white patrons. Some of them reacted violently to the arrival of African American swimmers, so officials closed the pool for the summer.

In the mid-1960s, the neighborhood lost a favorite vista when the Anacostia Freeway was constructed along the park's edge.
 
Erected 2013 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 13 of 20.)
 
Location. 38° 51.97′ N, 76° 59.349′ W. Marker is in Anacostia, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue, SE south of U Street SE. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2027 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave SE, Washington DC 20020, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Big Chair (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named The Big Chair (about 300 feet away); The World’s Largest Chair (about 300 feet away); Transit and Trade (about 500 feet away); Rose's Row (about 500 feet away); Booth's Escape
A Neighborhood Oasis Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 15, 2018
3. A Neighborhood Oasis Marker
(about 600 feet away); Mother Churches and Their Daughters (about 600 feet away); Crossing Lines (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Anacostia.
 
Categories. African AmericansCharity & Public WorkCivil RightsPolitics
 
A Neighborhood Oasis Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 15, 2018
4. A Neighborhood Oasis Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 25, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 15, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 86 times since then. Last updated on January 18, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 15, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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