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H Street
800 block of H Street, N.E..JPG
800 block of H Street, N.E., in the Near Northeast neighborhood
Location Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°54′0.7″N 77°0′32.4″W / 38.900194°N 77.009000°W / 38.900194; -77.009000

H Street is a set of east-west streets in several of the quadrants of Washington, D.C. It is also used as an alternate name for the Near Northeast neighborhood, as H Street NW/NE is the neighborhood's main commercial strip.

History[edit]

In the 19th century, H Street around North Capitol was the center of a small settlement called Swampoodle which became an entire neighborhood by the 1850s. It played an important role in the construction of Washington, D.C. by providing the workforce needed to build projects such as Union Station.[1].

H Street was separated in two with the railway track where it intersected with Delaware Avenue when Union Station started to be built in 1907. This split created distinct neighborhoods east and west of the railway which have grown independently.[2] In 1902, it was originally planned that H street NE would be cut for 600 ft at Delaware Avenue. Thanks to involvement of the Northeast Washington Citizens' Association, the plan was changed to having a 750 ft tunnel built to retain the connection between the two sides of the track.[3][4][5]

The H Street NE/NW neighborhood was one of Washington's earliest and busiest commercial districts, and was the location of the first Sears Roebuck store in Washington.[6] H Street NE went into decline after World War II and businesses in the corridor were severely damaged during the 1968 riots. This part of the street did not start to recover until the 21st century.[7]

A Giant supermarket along the H St. corridor

In 2002, the District of Columbia Office of Planning initiated a community-based planning effort to help revitalize the H Street NE corridor. Because it is nearly 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long, the resulting H Street NE Strategic Strategic Development Plan divided H Street into three districts: the Urban Living district (between 2nd and 7th Streets NE), the Central Retail District (between 7th and 12th Streets NE), and the Arts and Entertainment District (between 12th and 15th Streets NE).

In the mid-2000s, the Arts and Entertainment District began to revitalize as a nightlife district. The Atlas Theater, a Moderne-style 1930s movie theater that had languished since the 1968 riots—was refurbished as a dance studio and performance space, and is now the anchor of what is now being called the Atlas District. H Street NE became home to the H Street Playhouse, a black box theater where Theater Alliance and Forum Theatre are in residence; live music venues, such as the Red and the Black and the Rock & Roll Hotel; and restaurants and bars such as the Argonaut, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Showbar Presents the Palace of Wonders, the Pug, and Sticky Rice.

H Street NE rapidly re-developped after 2007. The median sales price of houses on or near H Street NW from July to September 2009 was $417,000.[7] H Street NE was voted the sixth-most hipster place in America by Forbes magazine in September 2012.[8] This process of gentrification led to tensions with some previous residents, who felt that they were becoming less welcome as the neighborhood changed and worried about being priced out.[9][10]

Route[edit]

H Street NE[edit]

The Apollo Theater in 1920
The Atlas Theater

In Northeast Washington, H Street continues uninterrupted from North Capitol Street (crossing over train tracks just north of Union Station on the "Hopscotch Bridge") to 15th Street NE, where it terminates in what is known as the "starburst intersection", where it meets Bladensburg Road, 15th Street, Benning Road, Maryland Avenue, and Florida Avenue.[11]

After this intersection, there is a gap of two blocks where the street is interrupted by Hechinger Mall.[a][12][13] H Street continues for a short segment between 17th and 24th Streets NE as part of the Carver Langston neighborhood. The road does not continue east of the Anacostia River.

The H Street Corridor is the part running from 2nd Street NE to Starburst Plaza and is also known as the Atlas District and Near Northeast. It includes the part north of H Street NE to Florida Ave NE and south to F Street NE. The second portion of H Street (after Starburst Plaza) is not considered part of the H Street Corridor.[14]

Some of the significant buildings included:

  • 1897: The Northeast Temple and Market at 1119-1123 H Street NE, an indoor marketplace and a Masonic Temple. The first buildings electrified on H Street NE. It was demolished and replaced by another smaller building.
  • 1913: the Apollo Theater at 624-634 H Street NE.[15] It was replaced by the Ourisman Chevrolet Service Center. Today, the "Apollo" building stands there.
  • 1938: the Atlas Theater at 1313-33 H Street NE. A former movie theater repurposed as a Performing Art Center. This building was an important part in the revitalization of the neighborhood.

H Street NW[edit]

In Northwest Washington, H Street is the main street in Chinatown and one of the major east-west streets downtown. When Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was closed to vehicular traffic in the 1990s, crosstown traffic that had formerly used Pennsylvania Avenue was rerouted to H and I streets. The street also passes Lafayette Park and through the George Washington University campus and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood before terminating at Rock Creek.

H Streets SW and SE[edit]

The city plan on which D.C. was laid out provides for a parallel H Street in the southwest and southeast quadrants of the city. Subsequent government actions, most notably the construction of I-395/I-295, disconnected the southern H Street in several places. In its current form, it does not run consecutively for more than two blocks at any point except for its easternmost extremity, near Fort Dupont Park.

Notable residents[edit]

Notable residents who lived on H Street include:

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ This is the site of the old Graceland Cemetery, which was closed on August 3, 1894, and finally emptied of graves in November 1897. The site was owned by Pepco for many years before being sold to the Hechinger Company in 1978. The mall was built in 1979.
Citations
  1. ^ Pictures of the city of Washington in the past, Samuel C. Busey, MD, LL.D., 1898
  2. ^ Department of Transportation Headquarters: Environmental Impact Statement, GSA June 2000
  3. ^ Plans for Union Depot - January 10, 1902 - The Washington Post - page 12
  4. ^ Against Union Depot: Northeast Citizens' Association Condemns Project - January 14, 1902 - The Washington Post - page 2
  5. ^ Talked of Railroad Matters: Northeast Citizens' Association Discussed Proposed New Union Depot - The Washington Post - page 2
  6. ^ Flock, Elizabeth (July 23, 2011). "H Street Corridor: A Work in Progress". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Wellborn, Mark (October 24, 2009). "A Place to Party – and to Settle Down". The Washington Post. p. 1F. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ Brennan, Morgan (September 20, 2012). "America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods". Forbes. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (April 4, 2006). "Whose H Street Is It, Anyway?". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ Kearny, Ryan; Binckes, Jeremy (July 25, 2011). "H Street Gentrification and Revitalization Is An Old Story". WJLA-TV. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  11. ^ Neibauer, Michael (September 29, 2014). "New Gateway to H Street NE? Mixed-Use Building Proposed for Site Next to Starburst Intersection". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  12. ^ United States Congress 1895, p. 220.
  13. ^ "Removed to Other Graveyards". The Washington Post. November 11, 1897. p. 9 ; Brown, Merrill (September 30, 1979). "Mall Seen As Stimulus For H Street". The Washington Post. p. K3 ; Simpson, Anna (February 20, 1986). "Cemeteries Give History Lessons: Ex-Policeman Slowly Rebuilds D.C.'s Past". The Washington Post. p. MD5. 
  14. ^ Edleson, Harriet (July 4, 2014). "The H Street NE corridor is reborn". Retrieved January 10, 2018 – via www.WashingtonPost.com. 
  15. ^ "Building Permits", The Evening Star, April 2, 1913

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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