Day 119

Shepherd Park (December 13, 2020)

After spending the last few weeks walking around downtown we returned to the suburbs and started exploring Sherpherd Park. Tucked into the northernmost corner of the District it is a quiet neighborhood of single family homes. It takes its name from Alexander Robey Shepherd, the governor of the then territory of the District from 1873 to 1874 who lived in the neighborhood.

Shepherd Park used to be covered by restrictive covenants put in place by developers that prohibited sales to blacks and Jews. The covenants stood until after World War II when the Supreme Court struck them down as unconstitutional. At that point, speculators, in a practice called blockbusting, would move a black family into a block that otherwise had white residents. The speculators would then tell the white residents that property values would imminently fall and pressure the white families to the sell their houses to the speculators. The speculators would then sell the homes to other black families at large profits. Starting in 1958, the Shepherd Park Citizens Association led efforts to fight blockbusting and the neighborhood has remained integrated.

The vast majority of houses in the neighborhood are brick colonials or tudors.

However, there are a variety other styles as well.

Including these two side-by-side modern homes.

In most neighborhoods we have found at least one or two residents who are willing to show their individualism either by selecting unusual color choices.

Or by displaying unusual yard art.

At the heart of the neighborhood is Shepherd Elementary School. Like virtually every other school we have passed it also has undergone a recent renovation.

The neighborhood also has an attractive local library, opened in 1990, and named for Juanita Thornton, a local teacher and community activist.

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