A Self-Reliant People
— Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail —
Up the Hill to your left
are several signature handcrafted houses, Beginning in the late 1800s, Deanwood attracted skilled black migrants, who freely passed on their know-how.
In the 1920s Jacob and Randolph Dodd built about 50 structures in Deanwood, including numbers 906, 910, 920, 925, 928, and 929 48th Street. They bought lots or built on those owned by white developers, often to designs of Lewis W. Giles, Sr. Randolph Dodd regularly trained, hired, and aided Deanwood's craftsmen. To save money, the Dodds installed windows only in the front and back of the houses. Owners sometimes cut side windows later.
Louis Jasper Logan worked as a brick mason and general contractor in DC, building homes for his family at 4905 Meade Street and 1000 48th Place. According to the family, Logan arrived from North Carolina in the 1920s with training from North Carolina A&T, "a peanut crop, and $100 in this pocket." Logan parlayed these into success, " led a humble life, yet died a millionare" known for his generosity.
Edward L. Wright of 47th Place, another self-sufficient craftsman, built Deanwood's first television set, trained other to make TVs and broadcast and citizen band radios. Andrew Turner's mechanical aptitude led him to become a Tuskegee Airman during World War II. Neighbors still remember the day he made a detour to fly over the neighborhood.
Long an Country Town at the edge
of Washington DC's urban center, Deanwood was forged out of former slave plantations during decades following the Civil War. It became one of Washington's earliest predominantly African American Communities.
Greater Deanwood today emcompasses the historic neighborhoods of Deanwood, Burrville, Lincoln Heights, and Whittingham.
In the 1800s, much of Washington's development followed decisions made by city leaders and investors, who favored areas northwest of Anacostia. Land here remained relatively untouched, and many streets were unpaved into the 1960s. Because builders chose not to apply racial restrictions on who could buy here, African American migrants found Deanwood welcoming, affordable, and convenient. The pioneering National Training School for Women and Girls, founded by Nannie Helen Burroughs (whose portrait appears on each Deanwood Heritage Trail sign), attracted educators to the neighborhood. New residents often built their own homes and created communities where for years no one locked their doors, adults treated all children as their own, and children behaved accordingly. On this trail you will see rich parkland, handcrafted dwellings, and religious and social gathering places that have made Deanwood an oasis of dignity and self-determination for generations.