Near Northeast in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Provisions for the City
Hub, Home, Heart
—Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —
Before the market arrived, this land was part of the Brentwood estate, and then the World War I-era Camp Meigs, an army training post. In the 1920s the Hechinger lumber yard replaced the camp. With the railroad so convenient, traveling circuses occasionally set up here.
Jewish, Greek, Italian, and African American vendors dominated the original market, including Fred Kolker and his Kolker Poultry. In the late 1950s, more businesses arrived as urban renewal closed the Southwest wholesale market. Among them was Washington Beef Company, belonging to Fred Kolker's uncle Sam. Every week Washington Beef employees unloaded and butchered five rail cars of beef carcasses for distribution to such customers as the Hot Shoppes and DC Public Schools. And each night a crew cleaned equipment to prepare for the federal inspector's regular morning visit. Sam's six sons and grandsons continued the business into the late 1980s.
Civil rights activist Nadine Winter, concerned about homeless people at the market, created Hospitality House to assist them. In 1962 Hospitality House opened a family shelter at 507 Florida Avenue. Winter later helped establish a community credit union on H Street, worked for federally supported urban homesteading, and, in 1974, was elected to the first of four terms on the DC City Council, representing Ward 6.
Trains and streetcars created the Near Northeast neighborhood around H Street. The B&O Railroad's arrival in 1835 made this a center of energetic, working-class life. Workmen living north of the Capitol staffed the Government Printing Office, ran the trains, stocked the warehouses, and built Union Station. When a streetcar arrived linking H Street to downtown, new construction quickly followed.
H Street bustled with shops and offices run by Jewish, Italian, Lebanese, Greek, Irish, and African American families. During the segregation era, which lasted into the 1950s, African Americans came to H Street for its department stores and sit-down restaurants. Most businesses welcomed all customers.
Then came the civil disturbances in the wake of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968. Decades of
Hub, Home, Heart: Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided, 3.2-mile tour of 18 signs offers about two hours of gentle exercise. Free keepsake guidebooks in English or Spanish are available at businesses and institutions along the way. For more on DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 7.)
Location. 38° 54.415′ N, 76° 59.979′ W. Marker is in Near Northeast, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Florida Avenue, NE and 5th Street NE, on the right when traveling west on Florida Avenue, NE. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20002, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Iceman's Arena (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ballard House (about 800 feet away); The Edward Miner Gallaudet Residence Helen Fay House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Denison House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Yoko Ono (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Ole Jim" (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of the Rose Cottage (approx. ¼ mile away).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
Also see . . . Union Terminal Market. (Submitted on October 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • Civil Rights • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 462 times since then and 24 times this year. Last updated on February 11, 2014, by A. Taylor of Laurel, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on October 4, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.