Cleaning Up Cowtown

Cleaning Up Cowtown (HM1LUJ)

Location: Washington, DC 20001
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 55.264', W 77° 1.332'

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Lift Every Voice

— Georgia Avenue/Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail —

The area west of this spot once was an Irish and German immigrant neighborhood known as "Cowtown." That's because, before 1871, cows, pigs, and sheep roamed freely here, while those kept in Washington City, south of Boundary Street (today's Florida Avenue), had to be penned. A stream bordering Sheridan Avenue carried away the reeking refuse from Cowtown's slaughter houses.

While the livestock and slaughterhouses eventually left, the low-income multi-ethnic neighborhood's poor reputation remained. Odessa Marie Madre DC's own "Al Capone," grew up here and later ran a Cowtown "jill joint" selling bootleg liquor. By the 1940s juvenile gangs ,known as the "Bonecrushers" and "Fifth Street Tigers" committed not-so-petty crimes. Then local police officer Oliver Cowan created the Junior Police and Citizen Corps, so youth could "solve its own problems." "Kids caught breaking street lights were named Inspectors of Streets and Lights," reported the Washington Post. Unlike the segregated Boys' Clubs and Boy Scouts, the Corps encouraged, interracial friendships and included girls. Juvenile arrests dropped dramatically.

From the 1880s to the 1950s, Garfield Hospital stood just west of here. Garfield Terrace, DC's first public housing designed for e1derly residents replaced the hospital in 1965, bringing innovative wheelchair-accessible foot paths and community kitchens.

Corby Brothers Bakery opened across the street from here in 1911. Brothers Charles and William Corby grew very rich after inventing machines and processes that revolutionized baking and led to mass distribution of bread. 'Eventually Continental Baking bought out the Corbys and the factory turned to making Wonder Bread. Howard University then bought and adapted the old plant for offices and shops.
Marker Number8
Placed ByCultural History DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 10:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324692 N 4309961
Decimal Degrees38.92106667, -77.02220000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 55.264', W 77° 1.332'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 55' 15.84" N, 77° 1' 19.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2400 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC 20001, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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