Bloomingdale in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Court Nulliﬁes Racial Covenants
—LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail —
The District Court sided with Hodge and his neighbors. But Howard University Law School Professor Charles Hamilton Houston appealed -- all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1948 Hurd v. Hodge was among a group of cases that outlawed the enforcement of racial covenants everywhere. The Hurds remained on Bryant Street.
McMillan Reservoir is just up the hill along First Street. Alberta Addison, who grew up at 225 V Street in the 1910s and 20s, remembers strolling beside its waters and rolling Easter eggs in its park. Neighbors
In 1987 the DC government purchased the sand filtration plant and parkland east of First Street from the federal government and planned to have it developed. In 2013 the reservoir and filtration site were listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
LeDroit Park and its younger sibling Bloomingdale share a rich history here. Boundary Street (today's Florida Avenue) was the City of Washington's northern border until 1871. Beyond lay farms, a few sprawling country estates, and undeveloped land where suburban communities would rise. Nearby Civil War hospitals and temporary housing for the formerly enslaved brought African Americans to this area in the 1860s. Howard University opened just north of here in 1867. Boundary Street (today's Florida Avenue) was the City of Washington's northern edge until 1871.
Around this time, a Howard University professor and trustee and his brother-in-law, a real estate speculator, began purchasing land from Howard University to create LeDroit Park, a suburban retreat close to streetcar lines and downtown. It took its name from the first name of both Barber's son and father-in-law.
For its first two decades, wealthy whites set up housekeeping in LeDroit Park. By 1893, African Americans began moving in. Soon LeDroit Park became the city's premier black neighborhood. Bloomingdale remained a middle- and upper-class white neighborhood until the 1920s, when affluent African Americans began buying houses in the area south of Rhode Island Avenue.
Among the intellectual elites drawn here was poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. The trail's title, Worthy Ambition, comes from his poem, "Emancipation": Toward noble deeds every effort be straining./Worthy ambition is food for the soul!
Although this area declined in the mid-20th century as affluent homeowners sought newer housing elsewhere, revitalization began in the 1970s. The stories you find on Worthy Ambition: LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail reflect the neighborhood's -- and Washington's -- complicated racial history and the aspirations on its citizens.
Worthy Ambition: LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided, 2.5-mile tour of 16 signs offers about 90 minutes of gentle exercise. For more DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
Erected 2015 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 8.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 55.272′ N, 77° 0.781′ W. Marker is in Bloomingdale, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Bryant Street Northwest west of 1st Street Northwest, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 116 Bryant Street Northwest, Washington DC 20001, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water for the City (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bloomingdale (approx. ¼ mile away); Separate Schools (approx. ¼ mile away); Kelly Miller Residence Site (approx. 0.3 miles away); Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (approx. 0.3 miles away); Government Girls (approx. 0.3 miles away); Medical Care for All (approx. 0.3 miles away); Christian Fleetwood and Sara Fleetwood Residence Site (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bloomingdale.
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 21, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 23, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 94 times since then and 12 times this year. Last updated on March 8, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 23, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.