A Celebration of Pride in the Community

Deanwood Residents Gather for Trail Launch and Music Fest

As the smell of hotdogs entangled with the sound of steel drums that spilled out of the Riverside Center on Foote Street northeast and the smiles of people seeming to outshine the sun, Deanwood oozed with pride on Saturday. The ward 7 community celebrated the launch of the Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail and held a music festival to honor the life of, D.C. native, singer Marvin Gaye.  


The Riverside Center played host to the community day. The center, which used to be the Crystal Lounge, is where Marvin Gaye would perform often and where his wax figure, donated by Madame Toussauds for the day, stood on display.  The community day was complete with free hotdogs and burgers from Ray’s the Steaks, artwork on display by the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative and music from the East of the River Police Boys and Girls Steel Band, Andrew Allen Voices of Praise and residents who took part in a talent show inside Marvin Gaye Park. Councilmembers Kwame Brown and Yvette Alexander were on hand for the unveiling ceremony for the heritage trail as well as a representative from D.C.’s Department of Transportation (DDOT).


With historical heritage walking trails along popular D.C. spots, such as the Capitol Hill and U Street northwest areas, A Self Reliant People: Greater Deanwood Heritage Trail, is the first to be situated “East of the River.”


“Many people have asked why hasn’t there been a trail in someplace like Anacostia. What I have to stress is that they are coming and that it also takes a whole community to bring this together,” says Councilmember Brown.


The trail was brought together by Cultural Tourism DC, the Deanwood Heritage Trail Working Group and a number of other contributors. The trail starts near the entrance of Marvin Gaye Park on Foote Street (now also known as Marvin Gaye Way) and Division Avenue and ends on Grant Street and Minnesota Avenue.  It is a 15 stop tour that includes the historical sites of the Nannie Helen Burroughs School, the amusement park Suburban Gardens (now the former Merritt Educational Center), the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. rallied for D.C. home rule and 49th and Jay Streets northeast, which feature the childhood home of former mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon.


For more information on the heritage trails throughout the District, visit Cultural Tourism DC‘s site www.cuturaltourism.org or call (202) 661-7581.