A Neighborhood in Transition

Location: Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast D.C.

Jurisdiction: Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 8A

Anacostia has served as home to many notable people such as former Mayor Marion Barry, the late recording artist Marvin Gaye, noted abolitionist and government official Fredrick Douglas, and recording artists Peaches and Herb.

HistoryIts name comes from the area’s early history as Nacochtank, a settlement of Necostian or Anacostian Native Americans on the banks of the Anacostia River.

It is the most famous neighborhood in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, which is east of the Anacostia River. The core of what is now the Anacostia historic district was incorporated in 1854.

Within Anacostia are a number of historic landmarks, one of which is the world’s largest chair. “The big chair,” as it is known, was built in 1959 to promote Curtis Brothers Furniture Company at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and V Street S.E. It was constructed by Bassett Furniture Industries in Virginia and then transported to the community.

In the summer of 2005, the big chair was removed for repairs and then returned in April 2006.

Other landmarks include Bolling Air Force Base, Anacostia Naval Air Station, Saint Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital, the Anacostia Community Museum and Greater Southeast Community Hospital, which is now closed.

Business and EconomicsThe Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) has built retail facilities, office developments and residential properties. It has also encouraged entrepreneurship, which has led to an increased number of jobs, first-time home buyers and an overall improved quality of life for the Anacostia community.

A number of redevelopment projects are underway. According to the District of Columbia Office of Planning, $8 million in construction has been planned for the improvements of streets, sidewalks, lighting and public spaces in Anacostia.

Then there is the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, which is the largest such project in the country, according to David Howard, Outreach Coordinator. Its five main goals have are to clean the river, break down barriers to get there, build parks by the river, create new destinations and create a strong waterfront neighborhood.

GovernanceAnacostia is part of Ward 8, which has a population of 70,914 and a median household income of $25,017. The contact person for the Anacostia community is W. Diane Glover, chair of ANC 8A. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. every third Thursday in the community room at the Anacostia Professional Building, 2041 Martin Luther King Ave., S.E. For more information, contact (202) 693-1116.

Monthly meetings are also held to allow residents and key players to discuss an array of issues. These meetings are held at 7 p.m. every first Tuesday at the UPO Anacostia Community Service Center, 1649 Good Hope Road, S.E.

Getting ThereThe neighborhood is served by the Anacostia Metro Station. It is about a 10-minute ride on Metro’s Green Line from downtown Washington. Metro stations on the Green and Orange lines serve other parts of Greater Anacostia.