What do you know about Anacostia, DC?


What do you know about Anacostia DC?


The Anacostia Historic District was listed on the Naiontal Registry of Historic Places in 1978. Downtown is located at the intersection of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr Avenue in Southeast. Named after the Anacostia River, which flows from Prince George's County MD to Washington DC, joining with the Washington Channel and emptying into the Potomac River at Buzzard Point.


Anacostia takes its name from Nacotchtank, which was a settlement of Necostan or Anacostan Native Americans on the banks of the Anacostia River.  The area was explored by Captain John Smith in 1608.

Frederick Douglass and Cedar Hill


In 1855, architect John Van Hook designed and began building in what is now the historic district, a home which was later named Cedar Hill. Van Hook partnered with two other men, John Fox and John Dobler, to form the Union Land Association. Their offices were located in Van Hook's home. The partners purchased 100 acres of farmland to form a subdivision that was incorporated as "Uniontown". It was one of the first suburbs in the District.  Designed as a working class area with affordable real estate, though the 1854 subdivision rules prohibited the sale, lease or rental of property to those of African or Irish descent.

The company eventually failed and in 1877, abolitionist Frederick Douglass purchased Cedar Hill, the estate of John Van Hook. Douglass was the first African American to purchase a home in the Anacostia area, opening the door for other freed slaves to own property.

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, a slave at birth, rose above his circumstances to become self-educated, an international advocate for equality for all , an author and American statesman.

Douglass moved to Washington, DC in 1872, where he served as the publisher of the New National Era, President of the Freedmen's National Bank, US Marshal for the District of Columbia and became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States on the Equal Rights Party ticket with the first female presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull. Nominated without his knowledge or consent, he did not acknowledge the nomination. Douglass also held diplomatic positions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass also became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in a major party's roll call vote. Douglass died at his Washington D.C. home on February 20, 1895 of heart failure. He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.

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