Hub, Home, Heart
— Greater H Street NE Heritage Trail —
Calvary Episcopal Church, half a block north at 820 Sixth Street, has been a community anchor since 1901. For most of its early years, the congregation, led by founding rector Reverend Franklin I.A. Bennett, met at 11th and G. In 1941 it welcomed the Reverend Dr. James O. West as rector. The dynamic Rev. West drew so many new members that soon the parish needed a larer sanctuary. Eight years later Calvary moved to its current home, the former Church of the Good Shepherd. West is remembered for co-founding the family social services center Hospitality House, sheltering and feeding the homeless in his rectory, and counseling troubled Vietnam veterans. "The city looked to him as a community leader," Judge Kaye K. Christian recalled.
Mount Olive Baptist Church at 1140 Sixth Street, three blocks north of this sign, was founded in 1873 as a branch of Second Baptist Church of Northwest DC. The current church rests on the site of its first meeting place, the home of Robert and Martha Terrell. Mount Olive has focused on serving needy members of the community with free food and clothing, holding outdoor evangelistic services, and mentoring teenaged boys, among other programs.
Radio station WOL operated from Fourth and H Streets during the 1980s and '90s. Neighbors remember the station's studio overlooking the street, where large windows revealed on-air guests and dynamic host Cathy Hughes.
To return to Union Station Metro station, continue on H Street, turn left on Third Street, then right on F Street. To reach Gallery Place Metro station, take the X2 Metrobus (Lafayette Square).
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.