Hub, Home, Heart
— Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —
Stuart-Hobson Middle School, one block to the east of this sign, was built in 1927 on the site of an old brewery, one of nearly two dozen that operated in DC after the Civil War. Almost all of the breweries were run by German immigrants who specialized in lager, a light alternative to the English-style ales widely produced by American brewers.
George Juenemann opened his brewery and beer garden here in 1857, ten years after he came to the United States. For nearly 30 years Juenemann's Mount Vernon lager, dance pavilion, bowling alley, and dining hall entertained Washingtonians. German American families gathered here for food, drink, and fellowship that offered all ages a reminder of home. The Juenemann family lived nearby, and some employees lived on the site.
Cincinnati brewer Albert Carry bought the complex after Juenemann's 1884 death, but sold it a few years later. The Washington Brewery Company, as its new owners renamed it, operated until Congress, with exclusive jurisdiction over DC, closed all city breweries in 1917, two years before Prohibition took hold nationwide.
In 1830, when this area was still "country," Concordia (Lutheran Evangelical) Church, of the Foggy Bottom section of Northwest DC, established its cemetery here. Nearly 30 years later, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting burials within its limits (then Boundary Street, today's Florida Avenue, on the north). So Concordia dug up its burial ground and relocated the remains to Prospect Hill, about two miles away on North Capital Street.
Trains and streetcars created the Near Northeast neighborhood around H Street. The B&O Railroad's arrival in 1835 made this a center of energetic, working-class life. Workmen living north of the Capitol staffed the Government Printing Office, ran the trains, stocked the warehouses, and built Union Station. When a streetcar arrived linking H Street to downtown, new construction quickly followed.
H Street bustled with shops and offices run by Jewish, Italian, Lebanese, Greek, Irish, and African American families. During the segregation era, which lasted into the 1950s, African Americans came to H Street for its department stores and sit-down restaurants. Most businesses welcomed all customers.
Then came the civil disturbances in the wake of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination in 1968. Decades of commercial decline followed. Just off H Street, though, the strong residential community endured. The 2005 opening of the Atlas Performing Arts Center signaled a revival, building evocatively on H Street's past. Hub, Home, Heart
is a bridge to carry you from that past to the present.
Hub, Home, Heart: Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail
is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided, 3.2-mile tour of 18 signs offers about two hours of gentle exercise. Free keepsake guidebooks in English or Spanish are available at businesses and institutions along the way. For more on DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.