Hub, Home, Heart
— Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —
The Trinidad neighborhood, named for W.W. Corcoran's original estate, got its start in the 1890s after the Washington Brick Machine Company used up the clay here making bricks. With H Street filling in with houses and businesses, the company sold land for housing lots. The sturdy rowhouses that followed originally sold to white families, many of whom walked to work on H Street. Once Washington Brick closed, the American Baseball League built a short-lived ballpark on its site.
The streets to your right predate Trinidad's rowhouses. Around 1900 John Fisher operated a wholesale candy business in his home at 1008 Florida Avenue. Sons John and Edward Fisher continued the family business which lasted until 1941
The Arthur Nock family owned the large house nearby at 1001 K Street. After hardware salesman Arthur died in 1930, his widow Louise took in boarders. During the Great Depression (1929-1941), hungry drifters alerted by a mark on the back door left by an earlier hobo, knew to knock for something to eat.
Between 1945 and 1960, many white Washingtonians left the city. Some wanted newer, suburban-style housing. Others, after 1954, were unwilling to send their children to newly desegregated DC schools. Like many older neighborhoods, Trinidad changed very quickly from white to African American.
Construction foreman Charles "Bob" Martin and family moved to Trinidad Avenue in 1948, and railroad dining car steward Joseph Strowder and his wife Korea arrived on Queen Street in 1950. They joined other newcomers to create community, leading DC's first African American Campfire Girls, a Boy Scout troop, the Trinidad Drum and Bugle Corps, and Mount Olivet Heights Civic Association.
To reach Sign 10, proceed on Florida Avenue, turn right on 13th Street, and then turn left on H Street.
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 commercial decline followed. Just off H Street, though, the strong residential community endured. The 2005 opening of the Atlas Performing Arts Center signaled a revival, building evocatively on H Street's past. Hub, Home, Heart
is a bridge to carry you from that past to the present.
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.