The Barry Farm community started as a significant post-Civil-War settlement of free Blacks and freed slaves established by the Freedmen’s Bureau. The streets were named to commemorate the Union generals and Radical Republicans who advanced the rights of Blacks during the Civil War and Reconstruction. During World War II the U.S. Government constructed the “Barry Farm” housing project on the site for veterans and other modest income families to relieve overcrowded conditions across the Anacostia River.
The DC Government is seeking to completely demolish and redevelop Barry Farm through the city’s New Communities Initiative and the Federal Choice program into a mixed-use, higher density community with 1,600 units including homes for sale. Approximately half of the buildings on the site have already been demolished.
The Committee of 100 believes that what still remains of Barry Farm represents a significant period of socio-economic history of the African American population in DC and should be added the DC Inventory of Historic Sites. As demonstrated in the nomination, Barry Farm was home to persons involved in landmark court decisions and the formation of local and national groups in the fight for social justice and equality. A compromise has been reached to landmark, preserve and rehabilitate a critical section of remaining buildings to afford an understanding of the design and intent of the original complex, with signage to explain the important history of the site.
- C100 Testimony before the DC Historic Preservation Review Board on Barry Farm (HPA 19-07)
- July 25, 2019, Stephen A. Hansen, Chair