Grandpapa's Farm

Grandpapa's Farm (HM25AA)

Location: Washington, DC 20020
Country: United States of America

N 38° 51.478', W 76° 59.737'

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An East-of-the-River View

—Anacostia Heritage Trail —

Vernon Tancil grew up in Northeast D.C., but he so loved summers on his grandfather's small farm in Hillsdale that his parents let him stay on in September 1937 and attend fourth grade at Birney School. Grandpapa Horace Hansborough grew potatoes, string beans, corn, fruit, and cosmos (his favorite flower) on the hillside property along Douglass Road. On less than three-quarters of an acre, he also kept chickens, pigeons, and a few hogs.

Grandpapa Hansborough was born in Culpeper, Virginia, a few years after the end of the Civil War (1861-1865). His father, while a farmer, had owned his mother and many of his older siblings. Widowed in the early 1900s, Grandpapa and his five children moved to Washington. He worked as a gardener at the Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill and as a Navy Yard laborer. About 1918 he and second wife Lula rented a place on Bowen Road. Grandpapa sold produce out of his truck and saved up enough to buy the Douglass Road property that young Vernon visited.

Like their neighbors, the Hansboroughs lived without electricity or running water. A wood-burning kitchen stove heated the house. Even at the end of their lives in 1949, they still hauled water from a pump at the bottom of the hill and used an outhouse.

In the early 1960s, the area still held barns, chickens, and fruit

trees. "Almost every yard had a pear tree," Anacostian Rev. Oliver Johnson remembered. "Even if you were poor, you never went hungry." But Hillsdale's rural character was fading fast as city officials rezoned much of Anacostia for apartments. The 525-unit Stanton Gardens replaced Grandpapa's farm in 1965.

Matthew Memorial Baptist Church, one block north of this sign, was founded in 1921 by former members of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
HM NumberHM25AA
Year Placed2013
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, February 5th, 2018 at 1:03pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 326843 N 4302907
Decimal Degrees38.85796667, -76.99561667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 51.478', W 76° 59.737'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 51' 28.68" N, 76° 59' 44.22" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2632-2634 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington DC 20020, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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