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A street lined with buildings, including a church on the right with people gathered outside it. There are trolley tracks on the street and telephone, telegraph, and/or power lines overhead.
Click to view image attribution

A view of Nichols Avenue looking north toward Anacostia, 1905 Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-69312) 

Loss of Land

1870s–1900s

Welcome to the early years of Barry Farm–Hillsdale. During this period, the community was growing and thriving. But already, government projects were beginning to displace residents and reshape the neighborhood. 

Explore the map to investigate. 

Map of Barry Farm–Hillsdale, 1919

Railroad

There was a boom in railway construction in the 1870s, connecting communities across the United States. Between 1873 and 1874, a railroad was constructed through the northeast side of Barry Farm–Hillsdale.

Compare before and after images.

A black-and-white map shows numbered land lots. The title reads “Map of the Division of the North Half of a Tract of Land Called ‘St. Elizabeth’ Situated on the East Side of the Anacostia River in the County of Washington, D.C.” The slider below allows user to reveal the image on the left or right.

What changes do you notice?
How do you think these changes impacted the community?

The railroad cut through Howard Road, Stickfoot Branch, Sumner, and Stevens Roads. Many residents lost parts of their land through eminent domain.

Notice that the 1879 map refers to Barry Farm–Hillsdale as “Potomac City.” This name change was at the request of local residents, who were uncomfortable with the name “Barry Farm,” which was associated with the Barry family, who had owned enslaved people.

Sewage Pumping Station

In the early 1900s, the DC government planned to construct a sewage pumping station and outfall at Poplar Point. The project would take land that was occupied by Barry Farm–Hillsdale residents. The government attempted to buy the properties from the owners, but they could not agree on a fair price.

Compare before and after images.

Comparison of 2 images showing how of the construction of the sewage pump station displace many residents of Barry Farm-Hillsdale. The image on the left is a black-and-white map shows numbered land lots. The map is titled “Potomac City” and “Barry Farm.” The image on the right is colorful map showing Barry Farm–Hillsdale. Green indicates grassy areas, purple indicates brick buildings, and yellow indicates frame buildings. A label at the bottom of the map reads “Baist’s Real Estate Atlas Surveys of Washington, District of Columbia.” The slider below allows user to reveal the image on the left or right.

What changes do you notice?
How do you think these changes impacted the community?

In 1903, the DC government sued the residents in the way of the project to have their properties condemned. Their land and houses were seized through eminent domain.

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