The LeDroit Park Community

The LeDroit Park Historic District was originally a planned architecturally unified subdivision of substantial detached and semidetached houses designed by James McGill and constructed mainly between 1873 and 1877. The subdivision was once an affluent area for white residents and was integrated by prominent blacks in the early part of the 1890s. Families, including the Terrells, who moved to T Street in LeDroit Park in 1899 were Paul Laurence Dunbar, renowned poet; Will Marion Cook, accomplished violinist; Dr. Anna Julia Cooper,educator and social activist;Honorable Oscar DePriest, first African American elected to Congress in the 20th century; Dr.Ernest Just, educator and research biologist; Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts who grew up in LeDroit; and Walter Washington,first elected mayor of Washington,DC. These are just a few of the notables who called LeDroit Park home. Due to changing housing markets and urban flight,the community experienced a long period of decline.

The Mary Church Terrell House was singled out as an individual landmark property and was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. This local historic district designation has helped to preserve the eclectic architectural fabric of the neighborhood as well as helped identify and tell the stories related to the rich history of the area.

In partnership with Fannie Mae, Howard University implemented the LeDroit Park Initiative in 1997, resulting in the rehabilitation of over 40 homes in this area and returned them to the residential property inventory. The University-owned homes were sold at below-market prices to University employees, public school teachers, police and firefighters. Home ownership training and financing was provided by Fannie Mae. Having been previously designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1975, the Mary Church Terrell house is a national treasure and jewel of the LeDroit Park community and Washington, DC. With the advent of the LeDroit Park Initiative, the community expressed its desire to Howard University to have the Terrell house adapted for use as a museum and cultural center that would preserve the legacy of Mary Church Terrell and interpret the history of LeDroit Park. The community surrounding the Howard University campus,including LeDroit Park,is currently experiencing a period of revitalization. Within walking distance, the historic Howard Theatre is in the process of having its restoration plans become a reality and RadioOne is soon to locate its headquarters just a stone’s throw away. Major housing projects are planned for the area and the University is about to embark on a new campus plan that includes areas beyond its borders. Church Terrell House after exterior stablilization Fall 2008