Bloomingdale in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
—LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail —
Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., who was named the U.S. Army's first African American general in 1940, attended Mott in the 1880s. As a young boy growing up at 381 W Street, Davis cared for two family cows kept on open land between his house and Howard University. He and friends hunted rabbits and squirrels on the Soldier's Home grounds north of the university.
The Mott School closed in 1977 and was replaced with a parking
St. George's Episcopal Church, now at Second and U Street, was organized in 1930 to serve longtime residents as well as refugees from the gentrification and urban renewal of Georgetown and Tenleytown. Father Adolphus A. Birch, who led the church until 1966, is remembered for his warmth and easy manner. "He made me want to come to church," recalled Carolyn Giles Smith, who grew up nearby. The current church building opened in 1969.
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
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 7.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 55.062′ N, 77° 0.87′ W. Marker is in Bloomingdale, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on 2nd Street Northwest near Elm Street Northwest, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 150 V 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. Government Girls (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Anna Julia Hayward Cooper Residence (about 600 feet away); Christian Fleetwood and Sara Fleetwood Residence Site (about 700 feet away); A Voice from the South (about 800 feet away); Bloomingdale (about 800 feet away); Best in the Country (approx. 0.2 miles away); Robert and Mary Church Terrell House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Water for the City (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bloomingdale.
Categories. • African Americans • Churches & Religion • Education •
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 123 times since then and 40 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.