Ledroit Park

Learn more about Ledroit Park

The Neighborhood:

LeDroit Park is a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. located immediately southeast of Howard University. As one of the first suburbs of Washington, LeDroit Park was developed and marketed as a “romantic” neighborhood with narrow tree-lined streets that bore the same names as the trees that shaded them, differing from the street names used in the rest of the city. Extensive focus was placed on the landscaping of this neighborhood, as developers spent a large sum of money to plant flower beds and trees to attract high profile professionals from the city. One of LeDroit’s most recognizable features is its Victorian mansions, houses and row-houses, designed by architect James McGill.

When the Gage-Eckington School Elementary School closed, residents successfully lobbied the city to tear it down and convert it into a park, which opened in 2011 as the Park at LeDroit. The park houses a large playground, a dog park and the Common Good City Farm, an urban agriculture education center and community garden with 40 plots. In May 2011, His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales visited the Common Good City Farm.

Murals are painted on many walls throughout the neighborhood. In the Park at LeDroit, “This is How We Live” was commissioned by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities to be painted by artist Garin Baker. The mural shows the African-American heritage of the neighborhood, the changing community and landscape and historical and architectural scenes from the past and present. At the dedication on December 13, 2008, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is quoted as describing the mural as serving to

“…visually engage residents through a beautiful neighborhood mural that depicts the unique landscapes, people and images of the historic LeDroit Park community. The mural will become a prominent landmark in the neighborhood for years to come.“

The neighborhood’s historic value is officially recognized as the LeDroit Park Historic District. The historic district includes the Mary Church Terrell House, a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The neighborhood was awarded a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Location:

Its borders include W Street to the north, Rhode Island Avenue and Florida Avenueto the south, Second Street NW to the east, and Howard University to the west.

Transportation:

  • Shaw-Howard Univ. Metro Station (Green/Yellow Line)
  • WMATA Metrobuses
  • Rhode Island Metro Station (Red Line). Note: This is a bit of a walking distance.

A Little History:

The neighborhood was founded in 1873 by Amzi Barber, a businessman who served on the board of trustees of neighboring Howard University. Barber named the neighborhood after his father-in-law, LeDroict Langdon, but dropped the ‘c’. Originally a whites-only neighborhood, LeDroit Park was even gated with guards to promote security for its residents. Efforts by many, especially multiple actions by students from Howard University, led to the integration of the area. In July 1888 students tore down the fences that separated the neighborhood in protest of its discriminating policies.

By the 1940s LeDroit Park became a major focal point for the African-American elite as many prominent figures resided there. Griffith Stadium was also located here until 1965, when the Howard University Hospital was built where it used to stand. Le Droit Park includes Anna J. Cooper Circle, named for the education pioneer. None of the original 64 homes Architect James McGill designed in LeDroit Park were identical  and most were built between 1873 and 1877. Today, 50 of the original homes remain. McGill was also a member of the LeDroit Park Property Owners Association, a precursor to the LeDroit Park Civic Association, which is active today.

Today, LeDroit Park residents represent a wide variety of ethnic groups. The diversity entices new residents to the community, as well as its close proximity to the Shaw–Howard UniversityMetro station  and many dining options.