Located in Northeast Washington DC, Eastland Gardens may not be as large as some of the other nearby neighborhoods, but it’s packed with nearly 100 years of history. Originally developed in the late 1920s, it’s said some of the earliest residents of Eastland Gardens had ties to Howard University.
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Eastland Gardens History
Many students and professors at Howard University once called the Eastland Gardens neighborhood home, and today, dozens of the neighborhood’s original homes still stand. The middle-class neighborhood first began when some developers purchased around 150 acres of land that used to belong to the old Benning Race Track.
At that time, many of the newly built homes and apartments of Eastland Gardens were originally designed by renowned African American architects, such as Lewis Giles and John Lankford. The houses varied in style, from Cape Cods to Colonials, split-levels to ranch-style homes and bungalows.
In some cases, family members living in the homes of Eastland Gardens today can still trace their ancestors back to the same neighborhood, and even at times, the same home. The flowers and manicured lawns you see today in the neighborhood are thanks, in part, to the efforts of a woman named Rhuedine Davis.
She founded the neighborhood’s first flower club in the 1950s and was married to the first African American commander of DC’s police department. It seems appropriate with a flower club and “gardens” in its name, that the neighborhood also happens to be close to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, which is a national park with pathways and greenery to admire and enjoy.
Eastland Gardens Location
Found just to the east of the Anacostia River, Eastland Gardens also borders the Watts Branch Tributary, Eastern Avenue NE, and the CSX Transportation tracks. It’s considered part of DC’s Ward Seven and near the popular Deanwood neighborhood. On the other side of the river from Eastland Gardens is the US National Arboretum.