Architecture of Historic Anacostia Tour

  • Date

    Friday, May 31 2024

  • Time

    3:00pm - 5:00pm

  • Location

    Anacostia - address to be provided upon registration

The rolling hills east of the Anacostia River, with a commanding view of the Washington skyline, have been settled for centuries. Anacostia, as the neighborhood in Southeast DC is known today, has seen dramatic change and stark contrasts—from the trading grounds of the indigenous Nacotchtank to a Whites-only planned suburb called “Uniontown” to a predominantly Black enclave. Famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, known as the “Sage of Anacostia,” spent the last 18 years of his life on his Anacostia estate, Cedar Hill. Douglass died in the home in 1895, and the house is now a free museum operated by the National Park Service (where our tour concludes). Anacostia gained infamy as the escape route of John Wilkes Booth, who fled down Good Hope Road after murdering President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in 1865. The waterfront served as protest grounds for WWI veterans during the Great Depression, who demanded the government pay they had been promised, and were then violently expelled by fellow U.S. troops led by General Douglas MacArthur. Today, the neighborhood endures as a modern testament to the resilience of the city’s Black community.

This walking tour is packed with historical buildings and fascinating anecdotes. From the Anacostia Arts Center’s former life as a 1937 Woolworth store to the 19-foot-tall chair on V Street SE, Anacostia’s fascinating and diverse architecture encapsulates the many identities this area has held. Today, new planned development and local investment in historic preservation are rapidly changing the character of this ever-shifting neighborhood.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the indigenous group that lived on the banks of the Anacostia prior to colonization
  • Discuss Frederick Douglass's life and home in Anacostia
  • Understand the history and previous life of the Anacostia Arts Center
  • Discuss the dramatic changes and stark contrasts that have contributed to the complex history of this area

What to Bring
Sturdy walking shoes, bottled water and comfortable clothes are recommended!

In partnership with DC Design Tours