An East of the River View
For thousands of years a people called the Nacotchtanks lived here, trading and harvesting the riches of land and river. Europeans arrived in the early 1600s. At first they traded with the Indians, too, but they soon claimed land and began farming. Before long, the Nacotchtanks were gone, driven from the area by Europeans or killed by their diseases. All that remained was a version of their name: Anacostia.
Two villages founded here in the mid-1800s, white Uniontown and African American Barry Farm, developed separately for a century. Today’s Anacostia embraces both. It is but one of some 30 neighborhoods located east of the Anacostia River.
After 1900 this area grew with defense manufacturing and military installations. But during the 1960s, questionable government policies changed Anacostia drastically, leaving portions poor, overcrowded, and without adequate services. While many people left, those who stayed kept their communities strong, attracting new residents and investment as the 21st century began.
Each painting below represents one of the stops on the Anacostia Heritage Trail. Click to see larger versions and full descriptions of what bit of history inspired each painting.
There are 20 stops on the Anacostia Heritage Trail. Dana Ellyn is working towards creating a painting for every stop. Please check back often to see the newest paintings and learn a new bit of DC history with each visit!
Learn more about the Neighborhood Heritage Trails on the Cultural Tourism DC website.